China’s party-army model, whereby the army is subordinate to a single ruling party, is antithetical to the multiparty democratic systems with an apolitical military accountable to elected leaders adopted by most African countries.
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In an interview with the Africa Center, China expert Yun Sun offers a look at Beijing's engagement with Africa and African governments' evolving expectations of their relationship.
In Cameroon, Chinese investment through the Belt and Road Initiative is estimated to be worth double the country’s other investment sources combined. These infrastructure and agricultural investments, focused on forest areas, have created 12,000 jobs. China, Cameroon’s largest purchaser of timber, relies on Cameroonian forests for 85% of its imported raw logs. Poor governance and corruption enable unsustainable timber exploitation and illegal logging, damaging fragile ecosystems and threatening livelihoods for rural communities.
China's Belt and Road Initiative forges intertwining economic, political, and security ties between Africa and China, advancing Beijing’s geopolitical interests.
China is doubling down on its soft power initiatives in Africa as part of China's Grand Strategy to tap emerging markets, shape global governance norms, and expand its influence.
China’s infrastructure deals are ubiquitous across Africa. The motivations behind these deals vary, however. This investigative report details how China leveraged the indebtedness of Sri Lanka to effectively force it to cede a port to China. The experience has implications for the debt trap many African countries face, especially with China, as well as for China's interest in acquiring strategic assets in Africa, military and intelligence interests in China’s commercial activity, oversight over major infrastructure and natural resource contracts including China’s Belt and Road Initiative on the continent, Chinese influence in foreign elections, and risks to African sovereignty.
Chinese demand for Nigerian rosewood has created a lucrative, yet illegal commercial logging sector in Nigeria’s eastern states. The Nigerian government has chosen profits over environmental protection or the rule of law. Corruption that ranges from bribery of forestry guards to misrepresentation of logging shipments bound for Chinese ports has created the conditions for illegal logging to continue—at least until resources run out and loggers move to the next state. The extensive environmental impacts of illegal logging include increased flooding, erosion, and the removal of animal and plant ecosystems, which leaves certain species facing extinction. Illegal logging also denies communities a source of food and livelihoods.
China’s expanding involvement in Africa is an integral piece in President Xi Jinping’s grand strategy to restore the country to its perceived rightful place of global prominence.
China and Russia (the P2), both permanent members of the UN Security Council, are playing increasing roles in the design and conduct of UN peace operations in Africa. This analysis of the P2’s voting patterns in the Security Council, reflects a shift from a pattern of abstentions to voting for the resolution. The analysis also shows a shift in China’s personnel contributions to these missions, the country has moved from not contributing personnel, to being the largest contributor of troops among the permanent members of the Council. Nonetheless, while the P2 provide strong rhetorical support for African voices to be heard, this does not translate to systematic on the ground support. China’s troop contributions are largely confined to South Sudan. Moreover, support for the resolutions highlights successful P2 efforts to limit the scope of the mandates in question. P2 interests on the continent will continue to align and be reflected in mission mandates and resources.
Mauritania’s security reforms, including training, enhanced mobility, Special Forces, prudent procurement, and community engagement have strengthened its capability to confront violent extremist groups.
Libya's civil war has become an increasingly competitive geostrategic struggle. A UN-brokered settlement supported by non-aligned states is the most viable means for a stable de-escalation, enabling Libya to regain its sovereignty.
President Alpha Condé’s maneuvers to adopt a new Constitution despite popular opposition are another step toward subverting democratic checks and balances in order to secure a third term as president.