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Tukumbi Lumumba-Kasongo


My article is a critical reflection on China-Kenya Relations with the focus on the Chinese MSRI link with Kenya. Since Kenya gained its nominal political independence in 1963 from Great Britain, it has been involved in complex foreign relations with China. Currently, they enjoy solid bilateral relations, despite some domestic priority shifts and ideological differences among their leaders. From Jomo Kenyatta to Daniel Arap Moi, Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya-China relations have been growing.

The Forum on China Africa Cooperation. Within FOCAC, a collective, pragmatic consultancy and dialogue scheme was established. There have been more than 80 Chinese development projects in Kenya, ranging from the provision of grants to the building of infrastructures and concessional loans.

This essay reflects, using the geopolitics critique of neo-realism supported by historical structuralism and multipolarity paradigms, potential gains of the MSRI within Kenya vision of 2030 (Ruwaza ya Kenya). What and how would Kenya gain from this initiative, beyond the existing relations? What kind of partnership will develop out of MSRI, which can support African regional needs, exigencies of practices of democracy and those of sustainable development, and environmental parameters? I propose a multipolar perspective as a new theoretical ground to address the above questions.

Muhammad Azam


The broad objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of inequality and other explanatory variables, including inflation, foreign direct investment, human capital, and migrant workers’ remittances, on economic growth using a panel of 13 Asia and the Pacific countries between 1996 and 2008. According to the results of the Hausman test, the random-effects model was preferred over the fixed-effects model in most of the equations. Empirical results reveal the significantly negative effect of inequality on economic growth. The empirical findings also suggest that the mitigation of inequality is indispensable for achieving inclusive development in the true sense. For this purpose, however, the implementation of fiscal policy option is a necessity, whereas persistent food security through agribusiness also should not be overlooked to achieve lower levels of inequality and enhance inclusive growth and development in the region.

Conservative Inclusivity and Hierarchical Diversity

Chinese dakwah and the Paradoxes of Indonesian Religious Pluralism

Wai Weng Hew


By discussing Chinese Muslim dakwah (proselytisation) activities, as well as examining how Chinese Muslims engage with broader Islamic practices, gain support from various Muslim organisations and interact with various Muslim individuals, this paper examines the possibilities, limitations, and challenges of religious pluralism in Indonesia today. Generally speaking, Chinese Muslims’ dakwah activities reflect the broader trend of religious discourses among Indonesian Muslims—a support for inclusivity and diversity, yet at the same time, an increasing “conservative turn;” and the notion of diversity has been redefined according to a rigid interpretation of Islamic teachings. I propose to understand such dynamics as forms of conservative inclusivity and hierarchical diversity. The challenge of religious pluralism in Indonesia today is less about the rejection of diversity among conservative Muslims, but more about the appropriation of the meaning of diversity and the scale of inclusivity.

Judith Schlehe


At present, a great deal of the scholarly research on Indonesia focuses on the processes of Islamisation. This paper will discuss a phenomenon that seems to point in a different direction, namely the contemporary reconfiguration of dukun/spiritual experts called paranormal. These mystics indicate a peculiar form of pluralism. They are an assemblage of tradition and modernity, locality and translocality, religion and mysticism, spirituality and business, and global esotericism and popular psychology. Most of them belong to the urban middle class, are highly professional, and make extensive use of modern mass media to advertise their supernatural skills. Yet, how do they position themselves in Indonesian and global cultural contexts? This paper identifies the ongoing ambivalence between cosmopolitan ideas and their rupture in polarising, orientalist, and occidentalist imaginaries. Finally, a new understanding of cosmopolitanism is suggested that expands the reference beyond the world of humans by also including a plurality of supernatural powers.