Stephen Marks


Following the release of the latest IMF 'regional economic outlook' report for sub-Saharan Africa, Stephen Marks argues that predictions around Africa's ability to bounce back from the global economic crisis rest on a number of 'good-news' assumptions.

In this week's emerging powers news, focus shifts to China's dealings with various African countries, notably Guinea, which has been under the spotlight for the brutal suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations. Elsewhere, a GreenPeace report accuses Chinese and under multinationals of breaching environmental regulations.

In this week's emerging powers news, Stephen Marks looks at claims by Robert Fisk that Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading, a new report from the IMF suggesting that emerging and developing countries are leading the recovery from the global financial crisis, and demands by Africa's poorest nations for representation in the G20

This week, Stephen Marks reviews Jamie Monson's book, . The book tells the story of the TAZARA Railway - a symbol of the first heroic stage of China’s involvement in Africa and an ideologically inspired symbol of anti-imperialist solidarity, in contrast with today’s more pragmatic and market-driven Chinese engagement with the continent.

Stephen Marks reflects on the recent detention of four Shanghai-based executives of the Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto on spying charges earlier this month. Whereas Western governments and business leaders feared the possible implications of the incident for Western firms doing business in China, Marks argues that the incident may well signal a shift of gear in China’s economic strategy.

The nature of China's investment in Africa is changing, as the global economic crisis opens up new opportunities, writes Stephen Marks. Broad packages bundle infrastructure investment with aid and commodity purchase help Chinese firms enter African markets and gain a foothold. A US$5 billion China-Africa Development Fund will focus on infrastructure and mining, and target industrial parks and commercial agriculture. The Chinese government has said however that it has ruled out outsourcing more

Following the G20 meeting in London last week, Stephen Marks unpacks the spin behind the apparent swelling of financial resources available for a global recovery plan. While the IMF remains free to impose the infamous conditionalities that have been the bane of many of its recipient countries, Marks highlights the glaring irony of an organisation that has long pressured others into reform without ever being subject to self-reflection and change itself. While the motives of each G20 player more

China’s continuing African trade investment and aid could act as a buffer for African economies, a recent report suggests. And if China can steer its way through the crisis it could become a ‘development partner of choice’, increasing its ‘soft power’ influence in the developing world and acting as a steadying factor in trade and investment compared to the West, writes Stephen Marks.

Though once distinguished by its lack of military presence in Africa, China’s recent foray into anti-piracy control off the coast of Somalia and increased participation in international peacekeeping initiatives have led to speculation surrounding the Asian giant’s desire to adopt a more powerful and independent militaristic role. Reflecting on the correlation between China’s rising economic growth and increasing concerns for national security measures, Stephen Marks considers the potential more

South Africa is home to one of the largest Chinese communities in Africa, estimated at over 300,000. Most have arrived since the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1988, many of them as illegal overstayers. There are also an estimated 30,000 Taiwanese, the remainder of a once larger population of over 100,000 established during and after the 1970s, when the apartheid regime established close relations with Taipei.