"Asia and Africa today"
- is a scientificl monthly journal (in Russian)
of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Included in Russian Science Citation Index on
WoS platform, and EBSCO Publishing.
ISSN 0321-5075
Published since July 1957.

 

 "Asia and Africa today" № 2 2018

 

 

Aziaafrika 02 2018

 

 Top Problem

DONALD TRUMP AND AFRICA. THE INITIAL STAGE
Andrey Yu. URNOV, Dr. Sc. (History), Chief Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
    During the election campaign of 2016 and after D.Trump was elected, the majority of African politicians and observers gave pessimistic predictions about what the Black Continent could expect from his presidency. There were fears that Washington would drastically cut aid to Africa and subject it to political «marginalization».
    The article deals with African policy of the Trump Administration on the initial stage of his presidency. An attempt is made to compare this policy with that of President B.Obama, to trace both differences and similarities between them. Today the Trump Administration does not have any comprehensive African strategy of its own. It was only in September 2017, that D.Trump for the first time set forth his vision of Africa and US-Africa relations in a more or less detailed way. The major “pillars”, programs and mechanisms of the African course his Administration has to a great extent inherited from its predecessors. As it was expected, in the hierarchy of Trump’ foreign policy priorities Africa has lost the privileged position it occupied at the time of Obama.
    Nevertheless it just cannot afford to ignore the region, which is of weighty geostrategic, political and economic importance to the USA. Washington has no intention to withdraw from Africa. The article reviews the decision making process and practical steps of Trump Administration on the continent in the political, economic and military spheres. In brief are described the ways the US relations were shaped with some African countries (Egypt, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, South African Republic, South Sudan).
Keywords: D.Trump, African policy, economic assistance, military activities, terrorism, continuity

    

 Policy, Economy

THE SYRIAN CRISIS IN THE TRANSFORMING WORLD ORDER : ROLE AND POTENTIAL OF SYRIAN EMIGRANT OPPOSITION STRUCTURES (2015-2017 - High Negotiation Committee, Moscow and Cairo Blocs)
Maria S. KHODYNSKAYA-GOLENISHCHEVA, PhD (History), Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
    The article 2 (the first one - in the issue № 1-2018) explores development of the Syrian opposition emigrant structures in 2015-2017. The author makes a special focus on foreign sponsors (United States of America, European Union, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey) efforts to learn from the mistakes made during former attempts to create emigrant opposition organizations (Syrian National Council, National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces), so that these structures could on later stage take part in inter-Syrian negotiations as ”legitimate” structures of Bashar Assad opponents.
    The article also speaks about differences and internal strife in the emigrant opposition structures and links them with competition between the sponsors of these groups - regional states (mainly Saudi Arabia, on the one hand, and Qatar and Turkey - on the other). Special attention goes to ideological platforms of opposition organization as part of their foreign supporters politics. Thus, a conclusion is reached that these platforms are far from intra-Syrian agenda. The paper also speaks about attempts to merge political and military wings of opposition structures in order to create a unified block and sideline other Assad’s opponents structures, including Moscow and Cairo platforms.
    The author concentrates on the augmented role of non-traditional foreign players on Syrian opposition file - Russian and Egypt - in terms of projecting influence on opponents of the regime. The latter is important to comprehend the tendencies of international relations system transformation to being a polycentric one. Part of this tendency is augmentation of Russia’s role but also the role of countries of the region in the process of Syrian settlement.
Keywords: Syria, Middle East, international relations system, foreign policy, Syrian crisis, world order transformation

 

AMERICAN SCIENTISTS AND POLITICIANS ON CHINA’S ECONOMIC STRATEGY
Lyudmila I. KONDRASHOVA, Dr. Sc. (Economics), Chief Research Fellow,, Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
    The article presents the views of four American scientists and politicians - Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Kissinger, Joe Stadwell and Michael Spence - on the results of economic development and China’s overall economic strategy, as well as the nature of bilateral relations between China and the United States. The main scientific works of these authors are translated into Russian, and they themselves belong to the well-known and authoritative political politicians of the United States, whose opinions are listened to all over the world.
    Of greatest interest is their attitude to the most large-scale problems - the results of economic development and the overall development strategy of the PRC, as well as bilateral relations between the PRC and the US. All the works analyzed in this article are among the most serious works on China in American political literature. Of course, not all of the author’s conclusions can be announced, but they should be taken into account.
    An example of a serious research approach to «elevating» China and the associated changes in the entire system of international relations can be the book published in 2013 by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger «On China». The monograph of the well-known journalist and economist Joe Stadwell, who worked in Asian countries for more than 20 years, including over 10 books on China and Asia, «How Asia works» was published in 2014 and immediately fell into the category of best sellers recommended by all interested in China.
    Of exceptional interest are the views of two other American figures, the Nobel Prize winner in economics of the American scientist Michael Spence and Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Keywords: model of the development, economic reform, economic growth, geopolitics, superpowers. Washington and Beijing consensus

 

FOREIGN POLICY OF JACOB ZUMA, 2009-2017
Alexandra A. ARKHANGELSKAYA, PhD (History), Senior Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
    During the leadership of Jacob Zuma South Africa proclaimed foreign policy tasks and principles such as defending the interests of the country on the international arena, expanding trade and economic relations, attracting foreign investments, protecting interests of the states of the African continent and promoting them in international organizations. However, due to economic difficulties and the deepening political crisis, South Africa already lacks the resources to claim leadership on a continental scale, not to mention worldwide. In this regard, recently, the country has been reoriented to leadership in the South African region and weakening efforts to expand its influence on the whole continent.
    In general, given the instability of the world economy, the lack of lasting unity in the leadership of the ANC, the growth of tensions in society, serious political and social upheavals in the country can not be ruled out. Obviously, in the near future South Africa will focus on solving internal problems and restoring the image of the party, which is likely to negatively affect its status in the world arena. Nevertheless, on a global scale and a long-term perspective, the most likely situation is maintaining the status of a relatively developed and large economy.
Keywords: South Africa, Africa, Russia, BRICS, history, international relations, foreign policy

 

THE CONCEPT OF NEO-OTTOMANISM AS AN INSTRUMENT OF «SOFT POWER» OF THE FOREIGN POLICY OF TURKEY
Marina A. SHPAKOVSKAYA, Dr. Sc. (History), Professor, Department of Theory and History of International Relations, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ); Oleg V. BARNASHOV, Post-graduate student, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
    In the works of specialists engaged in studying the foreign policy of modern Turkey, the term «neo-Ottomanism» is increasingly being found, which is interpreted as a concept reflecting the need to continue the traditions of the bygone Ottoman Empire. The authors analyse the historical aspect of the concept of neo-Ottomanism. The reign of Abdul Hamid II, who carried out social reforms aimed at improving, in particular, education sphere, is pointed out.
    One of the stages in the development of neo-Ottoman vision is the concept of panturkism, which was the idea of common ethnic origin of all Turkic peoples as well as establishing a state of Great Turan.
    The article reveals the essence of this concept, which is presented as an instrument of «soft power» and a way of achieving foreign policy goals during the rule of the Justice and Development Party. It is made a comparison between the foreign policies of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey.
    The practical significance of the concept of «Strategic Depth» by the former Foreign Minister of Turkey A.Davutoglu is pointed out. A.Davutoglu mentioned that Turkey occupied an advantageous geopolitical and geoeconomic position, being at the junction of East and West.
    In this regard, Turkey should make maximum use of benefits, being aware of its strategic importance for both regional and external actors. Turkey’s relations with the countries of the Middle East are touched upon, the characteristics of them are evaluated.

Keywords: neo-Ottomanism, Turkey, soft power, Ahmet Davutoglu, panturkism, the Party of Justice and Development, neopanturkism, Ottoman Empire

 

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES OF THE IRANIAN STOCK MARKET
Anastasia N. OBUKHOVA, master in Economics, Post-graduate student, Institute for Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
    Iran is very interested in attracting foreign investments from Western countries: the presence of European investors in the Iranian market will allow the country to gain access to the latest technologies, information resources, and to help stabilize Iran’s political relations with the West. The paper explores the Iranian stock market characteristics that are taken into account by the portfolio investors who consider buying shares at the Iranian stock market.
    In 2012, when international sanctions were introduced, many European companies, despite US pressure, remained on the Iranian market, although the majority - nominally, in the form of representations. This may serve as an confirmation of the attractiveness of the Iranian economy for Western investors and the desire of European companies themselves not to miss the unique investment opportunities.
    The article describes the peculiarities of the Iranian public companies, provides comparative data for the foreign public peers. The structure of portfolio investments largely reflects the distribution of foreign direct investments (FDI) already accumulated in the sectors of the economy of Iran, which, in turn, is largely determined by the large amount of natural resources (up to 2/3 of the total FDI) which make the mining and energy industries the most attractive for foreign investors.
    The Iranian stock market is well diversified, although, and, as Russian stock market, a large part of it is formed by the commodity companies. The paper draws the conclusion that buying shares by a foreign investor of the listed Iranian holdings may provide exposure to basically all sectors of the Iranian economy and that the international investment community is unlikely to ignore for a long time the emergence of a new - large and liquid - market.
Keywords: Tehran Stock Exchange, Iranian equity market, portfolio investors, investment holdings, liquidity, capitalization

 

CHINESE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS IN AFRICA
Konstantin A. TKACHENKO, PhD (Economics), Centre for Global and Strategic Studies, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
    The article describes the actual investment interest of China in Africa, marking the continuing growth of this interest despite the actual hazards and risks that Chinese have to face in many of the Continent’s countries. Particular attention is given to major projects of fixed assets construction either financed by PRC or supplied with Chinese workforce, such as extension of Nigerian concrete production plants or construction of record-breaking minaret in Algeria.
    The growing importance and direct participation of China in upgrading of the African transport infrastructure, particularly of highways and airports in Algeria, dams, subway and railway nets in Ethiopia and Nigeria, is stressed. A point is made that the renovation of railroad infrastructure carried out and financed by Chinese companies, is a key factor for both national and transnational changes for a number of economically isolated African territories, not only boosting cargo transportation within the countries, but also in stimulation of trade and economic ties between them.
    The author provides up-to-date statistics on Chinese foreign direct investment flows to Africa, as well as on growth of Chinese companies’ income from reification of construction projects in Africa in general, and in a number of African countries in particular.
    The article also stresses the huge increase of workforce from PRC in Africa, especially in Algeria and Angola, having reached recordbreaking numbers for the past 15 years with a clear prospect of further intensive growth.
Keywords: Africa, China, foreign direct investment, capital development, major contract with China, expansion of plants, construction of highways, Transafrican railway net


ENERGY: PRESENT AND THE FUTURE

DEVELOPMENT OF CARBON-FREE ENERGY IN CHINA: SUCCESS, PROBLEMS, CONTRADICTIONS
Ekaterina A. BORISOVA, PhD (History), Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
    In late 2015, representatives of 195 countries signed the UN Paris Agreement on the protection of the planet’s climate. The participants of the conference noted the need to pay special attention to the traditional use of coal as the dirtiest fuel in terms of CO2 emissions. When it comes to the climate of the planet, the attention of environmentalists is primarily drawn to China - one of the largest energy consumers, and at the same time, the pollutants of the planet. The largest consumers of coal today are China and India, to a much lesser extent. The share of China in world coal consumption in 2015 was 48%. Recognizing their responsibility, they, like other states, have set themselves the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the gradual withdrawal from the use of coal and other fossil fuels and switching to renewable energy sources (RES).
    The article analyses the state and development of new projects in the energy sector in the context of China’s new ecological and energy paradigm. Particular attention is paid to the introduction of renewable energy sources and problems that arise in the implementation of programs. An estimation of the role of clean energy in the perspective fuel and energy balance of China is given.
    China occupies an important position in the world on the development of renewable and carbon-free energy sources and shows outstanding successes in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the reduction of coal industry indicators. This country is making every effort to improve the environmental conditions in the country and the world. However, the grandiose transformations in China’s energy sector come up against a number of technical, institutional and economic problems. Solutions for these problems are also available, so we can hope that the speed of implementation of clean technologies will increase.
Keywords: China, renewable energy sources, Paris agreement, solar energy, carbon-free energy, 13th five-year plan, wind power, nuclear industry, hydropower, coal consumption

 

FROM MDGs TO SDGs: ERADICATING POVERTY IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
Irina B. MATSENKO, PhD (Economics), Senior Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
    The article deals with the completion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the end of 2015 and the transition to the new global «2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development». The results of the MDGs on poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa are analyzed. It is noted that the region as a whole could not achieve MDG 1 of halving poverty, despite the successes of individual countries. Critical analysis of MDGs assessment in SSA countries is given. New Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are considered, the first of that is the widespread eradication of poverty in all its forms.
Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa, MDGs, SDGs, poverty

 

 The Foreign Expert Point of View

THE TERM ‘DEMOCRACY’ AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE DEVELOPING WORLD
BIN AMIN UMAR, Master of International Development and Master of Economics, Social Researcher & Ex-staff member, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Melbourne, Australia ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
    The 21st century revered the word ‘democracy’ as the key companion of civilization and modernization, while associating it only with liberal democracies. Other systems of governance were perceived as non-democratic despite this specific term being their intrinsic component.
    The author has tried to evaluate whether ‘democracy’ and democratic norms suit other systems or not; could there be ample reasons for the pursuit of non-democratic governance for the developing countries which associated their development with only ‘certain types’ of democracies, while remaining oblivious to finding similar democratic norms in so-called non-democratic models, and failing to pace up their development.
    The arguments produced here are based upon the comparison of four basic democratic values: freedom of speech, human rights, accountability of leaders (within electoral processes) and participation of masses between democratic and non-democratic systems. During these comparative studies of achievements of these two systems during a century long struggle, it was found that these values of democratic systems are either working at par with other so-called ‘non-democratic’ systems or dysfunctional in both systems equally.
    The article also rounds up a catastrophic picture of developing world, which resulted in a bid to join the “democratic” club of the world. In conclusion it is suggested for developing countries that it is the right time to emancipate from the fever of ‘democracy’ of one particular system; rather, its’ understanding is needed to be more inclusive of other alternatives as well. Otherwise, should they not miss out on the fruits of development in this century as well?
Keywords: democracy, China, developing countries, development, alternatives

 

 Post-Graduate Column

INFORMATION CONFRONTATION IN SYRIA
Anna N. SYTNIK, Post-graduate student, Saint-Petersburg State University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
    The paper explores the information confrontation between the opposition and the government in Syria in terms of using the digital technologies to influence the citizens. It examines new approaches to the mobilization of the protest wave and the role of external restrictive measures. The accent is made on special propaganda methods, which have become popular due to the uniqueness of the Syrian crisis situation where there were restrictions on access to the Internet.
Keywords: Syria, information confrontation, propaganda, crisis, Interne

 

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: TENDENCIES, OPPORTUNITIES AND PROBLEMS OF THE TRANSITION TO THE MODEL OF INTENSIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH
Anna A. GOROZHANKINA, Post-graduate student, Institute of Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
    The paper explores features of South Korea’s transition to the model of intensive economic growth. It analyses the history of South Korea’s economic success, including important trends, components and proportions as well as favorable factors of economic growth, due to which it became possible for the country with unfavorable initial conditions to accomplish a “big push” in its economic development, build a competitive innovative economy, overcome the middle-income trap and transit to the group of high-income countries.
    The author presents the main challenges that the country faces on its way of innovation-driven growth, among which are the problem of aging population, the rigidity of labor market, the Korean traditional educational system still focused on the development of memory skills but the creative thinking skills, the unproductive service sector in comparison with the manufacturing one, the underdeveloped small and medium enterprises that are considered the main driving force of innovative economy, rigid market regulation etc. These problems constrain productivity growth and further intensive economic growth, especially under the conditions of political instability and corruption.
    The article also takes into account the characteristics of Koreans and business environment in Korea. The accent is made on social consequences of existing problems. However, taking into account the measures taken to solve or mitigate that challenges, the Korean past experience of a systematic approach to overcoming crisis phenomena, its strong focus on priority tasks, the sequence of effective reforms, it can be assumed that Korea is gradually overcoming difficulties on its way of intensive-economic growth.
Keywords: economic growth, intensive and extensive factors, business environment, quality of life

 

 Book Review

THE TOTAL VICTORY
Review of the book: Elguena V. Molodyakova (2017). Japan: Conservators’ Total Victory. Selected Writings 2000-2016. Moscow, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (In Russ.)
Morgana A. DEVLIN, Historian, “Russian Idea’s ”author ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Keywords: Japan, LDPJ, DPJ, Shinzo Abe, conservatism, populism, Japanese history

 

TURNING PAGES OF AFRICAN HISTORY
Review of the books: “Source Study on African History and Diaspora” / Ed. T.M.Gavristova. Yaroslavl, 2016. 212 p. (In Russ.); and “African History: People and Destiny. Collected Documents and Materials” / Ed. T.M.Gavristova. Yaroslavl, 2016. 216 p. (In Russ.)
Lyubov Ya. PROKOPENKO, PhD (History), Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Keywords: source study, history of Africa, diaspora, archives, memoirs, political biographies