Try listening to the China in Africa podcast. Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden host a different guest every week. A lot of their work is about the role of media in China’s relations with Africa/ the world at large.
This is super important as China continues to make major moves with massive investments in tech (AI, VR, everything). I like to keep up because our markets are increasingly connected.
Feel free to stop reading here. Other random tidbits/ thoughts from listening over the past several months: Zimbabwe and other African nations have de facto autocratic governments leading them through the economic development process, which is probably better for China. These freaky military dudes that we see running coups trade democracy for expediency, and not as many people as we’d think (because we live in a ridiculous bubble) care, even in these countries. Something like this has worked in other nations’ nascent stages of rapid development, like my motherland South Korea, and I don’t know enough to make deeper comments about it.
I can say that South Korea’s economic story is marvelous – it went from decimated rural villages to global economic power in half a century. This dictator guy that my uncles protested propped up “chaebols”, the oligopoly of companies that are the backbone of the nation’s economy. Similar story to other Asian Tigers like Taiwan, where Chiang Kai Shek was the Big Kahuna until the nation could stand with less of his rule. I know, tons of nuance. I only bring this up because it’s fascinating seeing contrasts in development (South Korea : North Korea :: Taiwan : China). I can only imagine how much more complicated it is with severe ethnic & tribal divisions in African nations, which the Asian Tigers didn’t have. Read Trevor Noah’s autobiography to get an engaging look at this in South Africa.
Obviously, it’s all so complex, so I don’t know what to do other than asking friends to care more about things outside of our immediate spheres… there’s a lot to learn.