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Chinese language Personal Safety Corporations Go to Africa

Mark Harris

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Trainee in Beijing bodyguard coaching camp.  picture credit score CFP

China’s “going out” coverage has landed Chinese language corporations in lots of excessive danger environments. Not surprisingly, this has stimulated the expansion of personal safety corporations (PSC) “with Chinese language traits.” The primary non-public Chinese language safety agency to function abroad was, apparently, a Ningbo firm, in 2004. Though most of those corporations function in actually excessive danger areas equivalent to Iraq or Afghanistan, they’re additionally more and more current in locations like Kenya.

“The demand is big particularly as extra Chinese language enterprises will go overseas impressed by the Belt and Highway initiative. We at the moment are attempting to increase our enterprise to extra nations, together with Pakistan and Bhutan,” one firm instructed the International Instances.

Apparently, nonetheless, Chinese language regulation prohibits residents from having weapons abroad. As International Instances notes, “the largest impediment to Chinese language PSCs going overseas is the truth that the federal government doesn’t assist their efforts.”

In response to China’s Felony Regulation, those that possess weapons abroad – even when they’re doing so in accordance with a international nation’s legal guidelines – could face a most sentence of seven years in jail. As Chinese language PSCs are banned from sending workers overseas, PSCs’ safety guards are technically staff of purchasers, somewhat than PSCs, as soon as they’re despatched overseas.

A number of quick articles present overviews: for Karthie Lee, click on right here. And for Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins, right here.

h/t to Ying Xia.


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Ideas on China, Africa, Per Capita Revenue, and the Setting

Mark Harris

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Ivindo Nat’l. Park, Gabon. Michael Nichols, Nat’l Geographic

The environmental impression of China-Africa engagement is likely one of the high issues of many who’re important of a rising China in Africa. Others acknowledge the problem as essential, however keep that some from rich international locations wish to impose “Volvo” requirements in “Volkswagen” international locations.

I typically take into consideration how these points emerged in significance in our personal nation, the USA. This morning, I learn a NYT overview of a brand new e-book about President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the architect of a lot of our authorities’s institutional construction. Following within the footsteps of his presidential cousin Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin “created 140 nationwide wildlife refuges, established 29 nationwide forests and 29 nationwide parks and monuments” however he additionally constructed many “habitat-destroying hydroelectric dams” and put in place the inspiration of our nationwide freeway system.

Roosevelt was a visionary. In 1940, he made a speech at Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park:

We slashed our forests, we used our soils, we inspired floods … all of this so significantly that we have been introduced moderately all of a sudden to face the truth that except we gave thought to the lives of our youngsters and grandchildren, they’d not be capable to stay and to enhance upon our American lifestyle.

In 1940, our revenue per capita (in 2008 adjusted for inflation) was roughly $7,446. China’s revenue per capita in 2015 (in fixed 2010 , in keeping with the World Financial institution) was about $6,416.  For Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding excessive revenue international locations), inflation-adjusted per capita revenue was about $1,651 in 2015.

If environmental issues rise together with revenue, as many social scientists consider, China ought to be approaching a time when sustainability turns into an actual, real, and public concern for its leaders. Certainly, there’s some proof that over the previous decade with the inexperienced credit score motion and the institution of a Ministry of the Setting, that is taking place. But in Africa, it’s miles extra possible that slashed forests, depleted soils, and the encouraging of floods will proceed to plague the lives of fogeys, their youngsters, and their grandchildren, for a few years to come back. And Chinese language firms in search of enterprise will proceed to be a part of this.


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Orient Categorical: Chinese language Infrastructure Engagement in Africa

Mark Harris

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Save the date for our third Annual China-Africa Analysis Initiative (CARI) Convention, which shall be held on October 13 & 14, 2016 on the Johns Hopkins College Faculty of Superior Worldwide Research (SAIS) in Washington DC. 
This yr’s theme is “Orient Categorical: Chinese language Infrastructure Engagement in Africa,” and we’re happy to have Dr. Jamie Monson, Professor of Historical past and Director of African Research at Michigan State College, as our keynote speaker. 
The complete agenda may be considered right here.To safe your spot at our convention, please join right here.

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Are Africans unfavorable about Chinese language enterprise impression? Good people, Dangerous analysis

Mark Harris

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In February 2014, the Ethics Institute of South Africa (EthicsSA) launched the outcomes of an opinion survey on Chinese language enterprise in Africa. “Africans are typically unfavorable concerning the impression of Chinese language enterprise on the continent,” EthicsSA introduced. “That is the important thing discovering.”

Although the findings surprisingly contradict different public opinion surveys, that are typically constructive about China’s impression in Africa, they’ve been cited a number of occasions by reporters and researchers. But I’ve by no means seen any critique of the choice and affirmation biases of their (fairly flawed) methodology.

Up to now week I’ve seen this research cited but once more by two papers, together with a draft working paper by one among our SAIS-CARI analysis groups — which jogged my memory that this weblog submit — which I see I’ve began and deserted 4 occasions (!) is manner overdue.

The EthicsSA workforce are little doubt good people, however their report has extreme methodological weaknesses that ought to lead any researcher to deal with it not as a correct public opinion survey, however as a superb instance of choice and affirmation bias.

In fact, as a researcher, after I received my first alert about this survey, I went to the total report. It’s instantly apparent that it’s a bit exhausting to say one thing like “Africans are typically unfavorable” on the idea of knowledge primarily from three international locations (the net survey had 1056 respondents, primarily from South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya).  However this can be the least of the numerous flaws of the research.

1. Choice Bias

“Choice bias is the number of people, teams or information for evaluation in such a manner that correct randomization will not be achieved, thereby making certain that the pattern obtained will not be consultant of the inhabitants supposed to be analyzed (Wikipedia).” 

Is that this a consultant pattern of “Africans” and even the inhabitants of the three international locations the place the survey primarily came about?

Hardly. The total report notes that the researchers elicited responses from 15 African international locations — by way of the web — however obtained low response charges. This is how they did it:

“Invites to take part within the survey have been prolonged to contacts of the Ethics Institute of South Africa (EthicsSA) and of Globethics.web within the respective international locations. … The preliminary goal was to realize a consultant pattern for every of the collaborating international locations. Nonetheless, reliance on solely the networks of EthicsSA and Globethics.web within the collaborating international locations and on the media to encourage participation have been inadequate to draw the required response. Thus, the info collected was not consultant of the populations of the collaborating international locations. The one international locations that produced sizable samples have been South Africa (299 respondents), Nigeria (197 respondents) and Kenya (204 respondents). 

So how did this methodology of attracting respondents bias the pattern?

The report notes that the “low response charge can partly be attributed to the net format of the questionnaire. In lots of African international locations, web entry nonetheless stays a luxurious slightly than the norm.”

And in line with the truth that web entry is “a luxurious,” the report notes that 54% of the respondents had post-graduate levels, whereas one other 27% had college levels. For Nigeria, this bias was much more pronounced with 74.5% of the respondents having post-graduate levels, and 24% graduate levels: i.e. 98.5% of the Nigerian respondents have been very extremely educated. So now we all know that very extremely educated Nigerians, South Africans, and Kenyans — and maybe foreigners residing in these international locations who’re on their contact lists — don’t assume positively of the Chinese language presence.

However there’s extra: who’re these extremely educated respondents?

Recall that the Ethics SA despatched invites to take part to their (extremely educated, internet-savvy, deeply involved with ethics) contacts and people of Globethics.web within the respective international locations. This creates much more bias. One would possibly name it affirmation bias.

2. Affirmation Bias

“The tendency to seek for, interpret, favor, and recall data in a manner that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses, whereas giving disproportionately much less consideration to different prospects (Wikipedia). 

To see how affirmation bias labored on this survey, think about the US Chamber of Commerce doing a survey on free commerce by sending it out solely to its subscriber record.

And picture the identical survey despatched to the subscriber record of an essential commerce union group, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

Then think about both group issuing a press launch saying: “Individuals are typically … [negative/positive] … about free commerce.”

Now you may see how offering a questionnaire to at least one’s personal contact record is prone to attain a biased pattern — of people who find themselves prone to verify your individual beliefs, slightly than different beliefs.

three. Different Issues

The report had different issues. Let me point out two. There was no effort to search out out if these surveyed truly had direct expertise of a Chinese language firm of their nation, or had direct expertise of Chinese language-built infrastructure. But they have been requested questions that presumed some prior information. This led to some unusual responses.

  • Chinese language employee fantasy. Greater than half of the respondents — 53% — agreed or strongly agreed with a pervasive fantasy: that Chinese language firms solely use Chinese language residents as staff. However, 59% agreed that “Chinese language firms create employment alternatives for Africans.” Go determine.
  • High quality of Chinese language development. In South Africa, solely 10% are proud of [Chinese-built] infrastructural initiatives.” But attributable to protections of native companies in South Africa and the power of native contractors, Chinese language builders do a really small quantity of enterprise in that nation: yearly the South Africa market is lower than 1% of Chinese language firms’ African development enterprise. What number of South African respondents would truly know something a few Chinese language-built infrastructure venture? However, in Kenya 88% have been glad with their Chinese language development initiatives. Given the massive visibility of Chinese language-built roads in Nairobi, that is extra prone to mirror precise expertise. However how do we all know?
In the end, what we’ve got on this survey is a pattern of the prejudices and beliefs of a small group of extremely educated individuals in three African international locations who’re deeply involved with problems with ethics — however could not truly know that a lot about China of their nation. 
For probably the most half, these beliefs of the extremely educated lessons in three African international locations echo what we would anticipate finding in Europe or the US. This isn’t sudden. On the finish of the day, provided that a lot about these respondents is held fixed (schooling degree virtually uniformly excessive, worth system most likely fairly constant), it is likely to be solely within the variance amongst them that we will discover one thing helpful for evaluation.

—-
Ethics Institute of South Africa. (2014) “Africans’ Notion of Chinese language Enterprise in Africa: A Survey,” (February), pp. 1-41. 


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