In recent months — spurred by the attacks on Chinese gold-diggers in Uganda — Chinese media have been reflecting on the worsening perception of Chinese investment in Africa and the responses that this might need from China.
But one of the most recent news — an article in a Ugandan newspaper about a lawsuit filed by 54 households demanding more compensation for the effects of the Karuma dam project, awarded to Sinohydro — suggests another interesting trend. In parallel to this lawsuit, CWE, another state-owned Chinese company, challenged the award of the tender to Sinhohydro. The article gives no details, but this must be one of the first instances for two large Chinese state companies to battle with each other in a foreign court. This suggests that, at least in some instances, the state’s mitigating role is fading and the companies are increasingly behaving like market actors, even risking the loss of reputation abroad.