A woman passes by a display showing Evergrande’s domestic commercial projects, in Beijing, China, Dec. 7, 2021 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Late in September, when stock markets around the world went into spasms of anxiety following news that Chinese real estate giant Evergrande might go bankrupt, the shockwaves reached all the way to Latin America, about as far from the Chinese mainland as one can get. In fact, South American markets dropped even more than those in the United States, even though Evergrande has had little, if any, contact with the region. That’s because Latin American economies are not just deeply entwined with China, but are increasingly dependent on its growth to sustain their own. The drama of Evergrande, with its […]

A pro-democracy protester flashes the victory sign during a protest against a military coup, Khartoum, Sudan, Oct. 25, 2021 (AP photo by Ashraf Idris).

When I first joined the WPR editorial team and took over Africa Watch, I wrote an inaugural edition introducing myself and my guiding principles, as well as the trends, topics and developments you could expect to see me cover in the newsletter as well as in my other writings for WPR.  It’s now been six months since I began writing these newsletters, an experience that has been as remarkable as it has been exciting. And while the newsletter’s format has since evolved, I would like to believe that the orientation I set out in that edition has largely remained intact.  During […]

A car approaches the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S., Blaine, Wash., June 8, 2021 (AP photo by Elaine Thompson).

In trying to take stock of 2021, it’s hard to draw definitive conclusions, given all the seemingly contradictory trends on display over the past 12 months. The year began with the almost miraculous rollout of coronavirus vaccines, less than a year after the onset of the global pandemic that upended life across the planet. But it ends with huge disparities in access to those vaccines among nations and regions, and a small but significant proportion of people rejecting them even in the wealthy countries that do have easy access to them. Though it opened with scenes of shocking violence in […]

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed at the Fontainebleau castle, south of Paris, France, Sept. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

While U.S. President Joe Biden seems determined to reduce the U.S. footprint in the Middle East, finally embracing Washington’s long-discussed  pivot to Asia, French President Emmanuel Macron is headed in the opposite direction. In recent years, Macron has made repeated trips to Lebanon, Iraq and the Gulf states, and launched a series of diplomatic initiatives in a bid to address regional crises. It is hard to think of any Western leader who has been even half as engaged as Macron across the range of high-priority issues confronting the Middle East.  Macron’s recent visit to the Gulf, during which he concluded […]

Workers advertise their skills while looking for work outside a hardware store in a Johannesburg suburb, Feb. 26, 2020 (AP photo by Denis Farrell).

As 2021 comes to a close, a wide range of commentators—including international financial organizations, regional development banks, credit agencies, consulting firms and media organizations—have begun rolling out their forecasts for the coming year’s global economic outlook. Figuring centrally in all these projections is how the global economy will recover from the stop-and-start effects of the coronavirus pandemic over the past two years.  But for the approximately 1.4 billion people in Africa’s 54 countries, the overwhelming majority of whom remain unvaccinated, the question isn’t just how to build back better from a pandemic that plunged the continent into its first recession […]

A Chinese honor guard member walks past a poster of Chinese President Xi Jinping near the entrance to the Forbidden City in Beijing, Sept. 18, 2021 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

China’s “coercive economic policies” took center stage at last weekend’s G-7 foreign ministers’ meeting, after an eventful week that saw Nicaragua break off diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favor of Beijing and China upping the ante in its retaliation against Lithuania, after the Baltic country permitted a Taiwanese Representative Office to open in Vilnius last month. Nicaragua announced Friday that it would sever long-standing ties with Taiwan, further reducing the number of countries that still recognize the self-governing democracy as a sovereign nation to 14. (Honduras’ incoming president, Xiomara Castro, had made a similar pledge during her campaign, though she has […]

Senegalese President Macky Sall, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, inspect the honor guard during a state visit in Dakar, Senegal, July 21, 2018 (AP photo by Xaume Olleros).

A few days before last week’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Dakar, Senegal, the Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor published a story claiming that China was on the verge of taking over Uganda’s Entebbe Airport, the country’s main international airport, due to an inability to service a $200 million loan from China incurred in expanding the airport. Almost immediately, the story went viral on Twitter and other social media. On Facebook, several posts making the same claim as the original Daily Monitor story, including many with a digitally altered AFP photo giving the impression that the airport had already been seized […]

Employees walk past the logo for Alibaba Group during an Internet Technology Expo in Beijing, April 30, 2021 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Nearly a year since Chinese authorities brought the Ant Group’s initial public offering, or IPO, to a halt, the domestic tech industry is still reeling from a relentless crackdown that has since broadened to include other sectors of the economy. In its latest reshuffling, the Alibaba Group replaced its chief financial officer and reorganized its sales team. The decision is part of the tech giant’s continuing restructuring efforts to make the company “more agile” by devolving power to the leaders of each business line. Elsewhere, ride-hailing giant Didi announced its plan to back out of the New York Stock Exchange and aim for a […]

African delegates walk by a screen panel showing an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ahead of the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Beijing, Sept. 3, 2018 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

The eighth edition of the triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, or FOCAC, took place this week in Dakar, Senegal, marking the first time the meeting was held in West Africa. The conference, which took place days after the release of a Chinese government white paper detailing a new era of cooperation with African countries, saw major announcements on COVID-19 vaccines, Special Drawing Rights allocations and climate cooperation. While those areas of cooperation portend to be the cornerstone of engagement between China and Africa, growing debates are emerging on the continent and elsewhere about the imbalanced nature of the relationship. FOCAC […]