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Global Thought Work – Case Studies on PRC Influence in Africa’s Information Space

This report is an attempt to map the risks inherent to the growing interchange between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and three of Africa’s most important countries: Ghana, Nigeria and Ethiopia. The three sit on a spectrum, from a vibrant, successful democracy (Ghana) to an increasingly illiberal regime that has been described as the CCP’s “best pupil” in Africa (Ethiopia). The PRC’s deep engagement in Africa in many ways predates its significant engagement with other parts of the developing world; the tactics used by CCP in these countries may therefore be a useful preview of the shape of future PRC influence throughout other parts of the global south. This report adopts the conventions of “thought work” in mapping PRC influence on the three countries’ information environments, taking into account the fact that economic leverage, academic exchanges, and direct engagement with ruling party elites can often be just as potent as control of media outlets or digital platforms as tools to influence how Africa speaks about and perceives China.