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Commentaries by Robert I. Rotberg

Robert I. Rotberg

Founding Director of Program on Intrastate Conflict, Harvard Kennedy School

Robert I. Rotberg is Founding Director of Program on Intrastate Conflict, Harvard Kennedy School, and President Emeritus at the World Peace Foundation.
  • May 20, 2019

    In Africa there is a thriving black market in donkeys destined for China, but this demand has severe consequences for rural transport and small-scale merchandising in villages throughout the continent.

  • Apr 30, 2019

    Chinese and Vietnamese authorities are aware of the massive trade of poached animals. Both countries should ban the trafficking of animals from Africa, and launch a massive education campaign for consumers.

  • Apr 16, 2019

    Although China outlawed ivory imports in 2017, mammal trafficking remains a prominent issue in China-Africa relations. Much more needs to be done if Africa’s elephants and rhinoceroses are to be saved from extinction.

  • Apr 04, 2019

    Many African nations are completely reliant on Chinese-made technology, but despite ongoing concerns over Chinese telecommunications operations, African nations are seemingly content with Chinese technology.

  • Mar 20, 2019

    China’s increasing prominence in Djibouti and other African nations is the latest signal that China sees Africa as holding strategic promise for the Belt and Road Initiative.

  • Aug 01, 2017

    One of China’s largest and most powerful construction companies, with operations all over Africa, discharges local employees if they test positive for HIV. Chinese companies are not known to be paternal in their dealings with employees. Where there is discrimination in Africa by Chinese firms it is mostly social and implicit.

  • Jul 17, 2017

    Beginning by educating Africans on Chinese culture through Confucius Institutes on the continent, China now provides thousands of scholarships per year to African seeking to study at Chinese universities. But this arrangement is more than an educational exchange; it is Chinese soft power at work.

  • May 23, 2017

    Ugandan petty merchants believe not that Chinese are sharper traders than they are but that they are subsidized by the Chinese government, meaning unfair competition. Just as the Trump administration in the United States asserts that China dumps raw steel on world market, selling its own glut of steel below cost, so the vendors of Uganda and Zambia are confident that Chinese traders in their countries can only provide imported goods at lower cost because they are somehow subsidized with export rebates from the Chinese government.

  • Apr 27, 2017

    China’s new satellite tracking and space telemetry station is situated deep in the Patagonian region of Argentina. Argentinians have complained about the facility and widely believe that secret monies may have passed to secure approval for the facility. China says that the purpose of the ground station in Argentina is solely to support deep space exploration and a lunar mission that China may mount later this year.

  • Jan 12, 2017

    With São Tomé’s shift, only twenty-one members of the United Nations are still linked to Taiwan. China promises to build roads throughout the two islands and construct markets, shopping centers, and other commercial facilities.

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