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Published 1st June 2012

Vol 5 (AAC) No 8


Sassou draws in Beijing

REPUBLIC OF CONGO Impfondo: A woman walks past a colourfully painted wooden building. Graeme Williams / Panos
REPUBLIC OF CONGO Impfondo: A woman walks past a colourfully painted wooden building. Graeme Williams / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

Billions of dollars of Chinese building contracts could shore up the Sassou-Nguesso presidency despite growing concerns about accountability

The Chinese-led construction boom in Congo-Brazzaville has been assuming mythical proportions. In May, rumours – boosted by a mobile phone video – swept through Brazzaville and Kinshasa that a Chinese exorcist had captured a river demon that had been destroying the pillars of a Chinese-built bridge. For President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, the benefits of the boom could prove more tangible: a practical response to his critics who accuse him of presiding over decades of political repression, grand corruption and a stagnant economy.

Wildcats in the wild east

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Pushed by local activists and international partners, Kinshasa is breaking some of the Chinese links to the illicit mining trade in eastern Congo

The Kinshasa government has succumbed to international pressure and is implementing sanctions against Chinese companies implicated in the trade of minerals of doubtful origin.

Phantom economic zones

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Six years after the project was launched amid great fanfare, the foundations for the Chinese special economic zone have yet to be laid

China's grand plans for special economic zones across Africa to emulate the success of its coastal manufacturing regions have hit problems in Mauritius and Algeria, showing that th...

Zoning in and zoning out

The Chinese special economic zone in Algeria is yet another case where plans to replicate successful Asian policies met with unpredictable local conditions.

Previewing FOCAC V

FOCAC will review China’s successes in Africa, as well as its problems, but Beijing’s policy of non-interference remains non-negotiable

Beijing hosts the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) on 19-20 July, where China will make a raft of new promises to its African partners ...

A golden entrance

Australian mining firm Chalice Gold Mines announced on 27 April that it would sell its 60% stake in the Zara gold mine in Eritrea to China Shanghai Corporation for Foreign Economic...

Undiplomatic diplomats

China is Sierra Leone’s largest foreign investor. However, you would not know that from the chaotic state of Sierra Leone’s mission in Beijing, which has had to change three ambass...


Kuniko Ozaki

Judge, International Criminal Court

Kuniko Ozaki is the presiding judge in next month’s trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague of Kenya’s so-called ‘Ocampo 4’.

Given Lubinda

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Zambia

Zambian President Michael Chilufya Sata (aka ‘King Cobra’) used anti-Chinese rhetoric to whip up populist sentiment and win power in 2011, since when he has changed his tone.

Le Luong Minh

Deputy Minister, Foreign Affairs, Vietnam

Deputy Foreign Minister Le Luong Minh is one of Vietnam’s most experienced diplomats. He was posted to Vietnam’s permanent mission to the United Nations for 14 years, leading it fo...

Pratibha Devisingh Patil

President, India

The five-year term of Pratibha Patil, India’s first female President, ends on 25 July. Her final foreign tour on 27 April–7 May took in South Africa and the Seychelles, where she a...