The European Business Council for Africa

The U.S. government is leading the world’s humanitarian and health assistance response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are mobilizing all necessary resources to respond rapidly, both at home and abroad. As part of this comprehensive and generous U.S. response, the State Department and USAID are providing an initial investment of nearly $274 million in emergency health and humanitarian assistance to help countries in need, on top of the funding we already provide to multilateral organizations such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

Even though China spends considerably less than the U.S. and Europeans on public health assistance in Africa, Beijing is seemingly dominating the narrative with its high profile donations of food, PPE, and medical missions.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping made preserving diplomatic ties in Africa a centerpiece of his opening address at the World Health Assembly earlier this week, as Beijing faces a backlash among some Western democracies for its role in the coronavirus pandemic. 

With the traditional big donors to Africa, such as Europe and the United States, focused on containing the continued spread of the virus, Xi moved to position China, which has its own outbreak largely under control, as the global leader in health.
At the gathering of World Health Organization (WHO) member states, Xi pledged to give $2 billion to the WHO over the next two years to assist developing economies -- and reminded Africa that its long relationship with Beijing had seen Chinese aid help treat 200 million Africans over the past seven decades

China is seizing on the global disruption created by Covid-19 to go for broke in asserting leadership and positioning itself as the most consequential external actor on the African continent. Right now, it is meeting little effective resistance from Europe or the United States. Whether or not China’s attempt to use this crisis to its advantage fully succeeds will depend on how the Chinese manage the internal contradictions inherent in its approach.

China has long sought to portray itself as a friendly, non-judgmental alternative to partners like Europe and the United States, appealingly free from the baggage of colonialism and Cold War machinations on the continent.  In promoting the ‘Chinese model’ of development fuelled by state capitalism and authoritarian governance, China has enjoyed a great deal of success. It is Africa’s indispensable infrastructure partner, has deeply penetrated African markets, and accrued significant influence over African governments with its generous financing packages.

Reportage of the biggest indipendent media channel in Quebec "7 Jours sur Terre" and the Canadian journalist and broadcaster Benjamin Tremblay on how China is behaving in Africa. 

You can watch the video here.

 

 

Clean up the foreign trash!”. “Don’t turn our hometown into an international rubbish dump.” “This is China, not Nigeria!” Resembling the anti-migrant racist hatred you frequently see on UK social media, these are just a few examples of countless anti-African rants from Weibo users in China in a surge of popular racism over the past month.

Despite the huge amount of censorship on China’s social media, none of these posts have been removed. Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa have become the primary target of suspicion, racial discrimination and abuse amid public fear of a second wave of Covid-19. And this intolerance has peaked in Guangzhou, a city of 12 million people in the highly industrialised Guangdong province.

Read the full article here.

Despite a truce, US-EU trade relations are still tense


As recently as a week ago, a big transatlantic bust-up seemed inevitable, with the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland the most likely boxing ring. America had taken offence at France’s digital-services tax, which hits the likes of Amazon, Facebook and Google, on the ground that it discriminates against American companies. The French had insisted that the tax was only a temporary measure and would be repealed as soon as governments were able to reach a multilateral agreement on tax reform. The Americans, unconvinced, were poised to whack duties on $2.4bn of French champagne, beauty products and handbags.

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Global investment flows flat in 2019, moderate increase expected in 2020

Foreign direct investment fell slightly from US$1.41 trillion in 2018 to $1.39 trillion in 2019. Flows to developed countries decreased by 6%, while those to developing economies were unchanged.

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America’s aggressive use of sanctions endangers the dollar’s reign

Its rivals and allies are both looking at other options

 

Ever since the dollar cemented its role as the world’s dominant currency in the 1950s, it has been clear that America’s position as the sole financial superpower gives it extraordinary influence over other countries’ economic destinies. But it is only under President Donald Trump that America has used its powers routinely and to their full extent, by engaging in financial warfare. The results have been awe-inspiring and shocking. They have in turn prompted other countries to seek to break free of American financial hegemony.

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Prospects for economic growth in 2020 hinge on reducing trades disputes and uncertainty, the UN finds

The United Nations’ flagship publication on expected trends in the global economy, the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020, predicts that one in five countries will see per capita incomes stagnate or decline this year.

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