China in Africa – call for story proposals

China is the world’s second largest economy, and its leading exporter in goods. It is also Africa’s single most influential global trading partner, increasing from $10 billion (1990) to $200 billion (2012).CALL FOR STORY PROPOSALS > China in Africa > Deadline Extended to 24 June  2013 > Apply Now!

Yet 80% trade is comprised of primary commodities via resource extraction ranging from oil to copper, and while China maintains a no-strings attached approached, this refers largely to socio-political and environmental conditions imposed on partner regimes rather than a lack of demands.

The latter is located in the barter exchange: infrastructural development designed to facilitate easy extraction (such as mega-dams for powering up mining facilities) and transportation (ports, railways, roads etc) geared primarily toward resources.

Even where transparency is present, opacity mires accountability as large deals are contracted high up, often with ‘long term business partners’ such as dictatorships or authoritarian regimes in Angola, Gabon, and Sudan.

Meanwhile labor, environmental, and financial issues (such as low or no royalties on extracted resources) are marginalised as priority issues. Despite expanding links between the two regions, media reporting has often been inadequate or biased, either portraying China as an exploiting predator or a benign development partner.

During March 2013 the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi,  described China as a major contributor to the de-industrialisation as well as underdevelopment of Africa. Sanusi argued that African countries must respond to “predatory” trade practices such as subsidies and currency manipulation that give Chinese exports an advantage.

The continental investigation ‘China in Africa’ seeks to probe how and where China has made an impact in resource-rich countries, investigating key players, projects, resource wars, etc.

FAIR is calling on African based journalists to submit story proposals around the following questions:

1. What is the time you will need to do the story?
2. Which sources will you access (documentary and human)
3. What own observation do you plan to assemble and how do you plan to record them (film/photography)
4. Which databases do you plan to mine and what tools do you plan to use to do this?
5. How will you avoid confirmation bias (i.e. how will you ensure that
you do not ignore data that might contradict your hypothesis?)
6. What is your minimum outcome story?

The FAIR Commissioning Editor, in consultation with FAIR director, Board, regional mentors and partners, will assemble the investigative team on the basis of the most viable story plans per region and country.

Proposals should be sent to editor@fairreporters.org, and copied to director@fairreporters.org.

The deadline for submission is 24 June 2013.

We look forward to your participation.

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