Speech: China-Africa reporting needs more oil!

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尊敬的各位来宾,女士们, 先生们, 大家下午好!Wanawake  na mabwana, Habari zenu! Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

It is a real pleasure to be here today to open this first ever award ceremony aiming to both recognise and incentivise the best Chinese reporting on my home continent, Africa.
Thank you for the invitation from both Tsinghua University and the Gates Foundation to provide an African perspective on the reporting today.  What is this perspective? Well, overall, I believe you have begun a great new “win-win” tradition for both China and Africa, and I hope you continue to take it forward.
Today, we have here reporters who have written stories from all sides of the continent. Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana, Djibouti, and more. They have engaged with and shared their observations of people in all situations – learning, running, working, in bad health and good health… 

Although my Chinese is not good enough to read all of the entries from the journalists, I could get a good flavour and I very much enjoyed those pieces that have already been translated to English. 

For this, I warmly congratulate the 34 winning reporters. I know there were over 100 articles submitted, and making the decision for the winning pieces must have been a major challenge. In fact, some years ago I was involved in judging a competition for journalists who were writing about development issues all over the world. It was incredibly difficult, so I am glad some other people have managed to make the decision here! Well done to all!

But why could a competition like this, celebrating Chinese reporting on African countries, become a “win-win” tradition? Why does it need even more support going forwards? For two reasons.

First, it is win-win for China because China – especially with the Belt and Road Initiative – will undoubtedly continue to have a greater footprint in African countries and beyond. The bigger this footprint, the more crucial it becomes to explain the footprint, and have ordinary Chinese citizens understand and endorse it. That’s why it was so excellent to see – in the 34 winning entries we will reward today – articles from all media outlets – local and national. Ordinary Chinese people should have the opportunity to see and hear about other ordinary Chinese people living and working in African countries, and the African people they are living and working with and interacting with every day.

Second, it is a win-win for African countries because there are so many stories wanting and needing to be told about real life there. As a diplomat, policy analyst, economist, writer, my own personal view has always been that we are all human. Too often African people, poor people especially, are characterised as “the other”. But we all respond to the same incentives, market failures, costs, whenever and whoever we are. The more that Chinese and African people have the opportunity to realise this the better, and the stronger their relationship will be. Chinese Journalists stories, told freely, objectively, observationally and respectfully – can help strengthen understanding of our similar human responses and plights as we develop and grow.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me once again warmly congratulate everyone involved in conceiving and implementing this programme. It is an excellent start and should continue. 

But most of let me congratulate all the journalists – do keep observing, do keep writing, and do remain focused on African countries. As we say here in China “加油 (jia you – add oil)”!

Asanteni sana. Thank you. 谢谢大家.

Speech given at the “Reporting on Africa by Chinese Journalists Awards Ceremony”, held by Tsinghua University and the Gates Foundation, Beijing, China

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EDMOND BOSILONG

Research Analyst

Edmond is a research analyst who is passionate about sustainable development, innovation, and the environment. Passionate about climate financing, he firmly believe there is a more reliable system to promote equality, growth, and welfare in societies without affecting the ecosystem. Through his skills, knowledge and experienced gained over 7 years, he wants to make an impact in the world of development. Edmond holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Korea Development Institute and a BA Degree (Honors) in Business from University of Derby.

HANNAH RYDER

Founder and CEO

Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.

LEAH LYNCH

Deputy Director

Leah Lynch is Deputy Director of Development Reimagined (DR), and head of the China office. Leah has over 10 years of experience in development and has lived in China for over 8 years. Leah has also travelled extensively around Asia and Africa for research. Leah supports the strategic direction of the team across China, with a mission to deliver high quality research on sustainable development and poverty reduction. Leah is also Chair of the Sustainability Forum at the British Chamber of Commerce in China, providing direction on sustainability initiatives for British and Chinese business. Leah has also consulted on various evaluations on UK aid (ICAI) and is a specialist on development cooperation from the UK and China. Leah has also consulted on various UN projects, including providing support to the UN China team during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Prior to DR, Leah was at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) China, supporting the UN’s portfolio on communication strategies, China’s South- South Cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Before UNDP, Leah lived and worked in Kenya developing sustainable water policies for the Kenyan government.

YIKE FU

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Yike Fu is a Policy Analyst and has been responsible for leading numerous areas of work, including on debt analysis in Africa and beyond, and China-Africa trade and investment logistics and analysis. She is the co-author of “African Debt Guide”, in which she challenged the narrative that Africa is in the midst of a new debt crisis by analysing data back to the 1970s and adopting new metrics to present the real story behind the data. She also developed a benchmark to compare the financial distribution of development partners such as the UK, US, Japan, France and China in Africa. Prior to her role at DR she worked at the International Finance Corporation and African Union Representational Mission to the US. She holds a Masters in International Affairs from George Washington University.

JUDITH MWAI

Research Analyst

Judith is a Research and Policy Analyst, where she specialises in Africa-China relations, international development, and diplomacy. During her time at Development Reimagined, Judith has co-authored several articles published in The Diplomat on debt and China-Barbados relations and was quoted by China Daily in a piece on Women Rights in China. Previously, Judith worked as a research analyst for an Advocate and Commissioner and Oats office in Kenya.

OVIGWE EGUEGU

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ROSIE FLOWERS

Senior Policy Analyst 

Rosemary is our Senior Policy Analyst. She is a skilled policy analyst and has previously worked as a UK civil servant. She is studying Human Rights at Birkbeck, University of London with a research focus on international law in the context of health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Project Manager and Africa-China Communication Assistant

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ROSIE WIGMORE

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Rosie is also alumni of the School of International Studies at Peking University in Beijing where she is also an editor at the Peking Africa Think Tank. PATT is led by a diverse group of scholars who specialise in African Studies within the context of Sino-Africa relations.

LAUREN ASHMORE

Consultant

Lauren has lived in six countries from the Americas to Europe and Asia and speaks both French and Spanish proficiently. At Development Reimagined, Lauren’s research focuses on climate action both in the Asia-Pacific and in Africa, and how countries are using tools such as SDGs and Covid-19 action to build a more climate-resilient future. She holds a Masters in International Relations from Leiden University.

ETSEHIWOT KEBRET

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Joy Ene is a Research and Data Analyst at DR. Joy is passionate about African/global development, poverty eradication and trade policies between underdeveloped and developing countries. She is also a fourth-year student of International Economics and Trade at the  Liaoning University, Shenyang, China. She serves as the President of the Student Union, Liaoning University, International Students chapter.

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Chensi Li is a research analyst. She has previously worked for local NGOs in Nigeria and Cameroon and think-tanks in China.  Her research areas include Sino-African relations, African foreign affairs, public diplomacy, state-building and national governance.