Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Aug. 25, 2014 (AP photo by Diego Azubel).

Chinese investment and engagement now touches almost every aspect of Africa’s economy, including infrastructure, transport and logistics, trade, manufacture, agriculture, telecommunications and, of course, resource extraction. Because of the vastness of this engagement, commentators frequently fall back on catchall concepts, including an assumption that Africa is essentially passive in this relationship. The reality is much more complicated. Instead of simply imposing Chinese approaches on African realities, Chinese actors frequently try to attain their goals by partially adapting to specific African systems, with varying degrees of success. This article provides examples of this process by looking at China’s relationships with three […]

Protesters hold up posters that read in Spanish “Pena Out!” during a march to pressure the government into finding 43 missing college students, Mexico City, Nov. 20, 2014 (AP photo by Rebecca Blackwell).

Autumn has been a difficult season for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Public furor has erupted into sustained and sometimes violent protests over the disappearance of 43 students in the rural southwestern state of Guerrero. Long one of Mexico’s poorest, most crime-ridden and isolated states, Guerrero had not been a priority for Pena Nieto’s administration, which has focused tirelessly on promoting the image of a modern and efficient Mexico to foreign investors. But as Guerrero’s longstanding economic and security problems became headline news across the world in the past month, that crafted image of a Mexico open for business after […]

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto walks with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Nov. 13, 2014 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Mexico’s recent decision to cancel a high-speed rail contract with the China Railway Construction Company (CRCC) is the latest example of the unsettled relationship between two of the largest emerging economies. In an email interview, Matt Ferchen, associate professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing and resident scholar at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, discussed China’s economic ties with Mexico. WPR: How have Mexico’s economic relations with China developed in recent years, particularly since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001? Matt Ferchen: The takeoff in China-Latin America commercial and diplomatic relations began just about a decade ago in […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Moscow, Russia, Oct. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service).

The Russian ruble hit an all-time low of 48.7 rubles to the dollar earlier today, a casualty of escalating sanctions from the United States and the European Union in response to the conflict in Ukraine. Beyond the sanctions, Russia’s economic outlook is increasingly grim given the recent drop in global oil prices. At the same time, the Moscow Stock Exchange has announced that currency trades between the ruble and the Chinese yuan reached an all-time high in October, increasing 80 percent over the previous month. The increase in currency trading is a direct result of a currency swap deal Russia […]

A man rides a bicycle past a billboard of APEC China 2014 with its slogans near the venues for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing, China, Nov. 7, 2014. (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Next week, China will host 20 heads of state at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ meeting in Beijing, the biggest international event held in China since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012. In addition to advancing some of APEC’s standard agenda items from previous years, China is expected to use the summit as a platform to push for several regional integration initiatives of its own. While these proposals do have economic benefits for other Asian nations, their progress may be undermined by differences among APEC members, principally the United States and China, over how to promote trade […]

The Oosterscheldekering storm surge barrier, Burgh-Haamstede, the Netherlands, Feb. 11, 2011 (photo by Flickr user vtveen, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).

In September, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte offered assistance to Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on water management after a dike was breached, forcing over 700,000 Pakistanis to flee their homes. In an email interview, Mariska Heijs, training and research fellow at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations “Clingendael,” discussed the Netherlands’ water management diplomacy. WPR: How prominently does water management diplomacy fit into the Netherlands’ wider foreign aid and development policies, and what expertise does the Netherlands offer? Mariska Heijs: Water is one of the four themes of the Netherlands’ foreign aid and development policy, alongside security and […]

An oil well undergoes testing in the Lake Albertine region of western Uganda, 2010 (AP photo by Monitor Publications Ltd).

KAMPALA, Uganda—As he delivers his lecture from the breezy, pink-hued classroom, Robert Rutaro is optimistic about Uganda’s future in oil. An attorney with a master’s degree in oil and gas law from Scotland, Rutaro returned home this January to find a job in Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and now doubles as a lecturer at the Institute of Petroleum Studies-Kampala (IPSK), a two-year-old university offering a range of degree programs in oil and gas sector management. Since 2006, when the Anglo-Irish firm Tullow discovered East Africa’s first commercially viable oil in the vicinity of Uganda’s Lake Albert, the country has been […]