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China in Cameroon’s Forests

Recommended research   published by International Institute for Environment and Development on March 31, 2019

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.

Grand Strategy and China’s Soft Power Push in Africa

Spotlight   published by Paul Nantulya on August 30, 2018

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.

How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port

Recommended research   published by Maria Abi-Habib, New York Times on July 2, 2018

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.

How China Fuels Deforestation In Nigeria, West Africa

Recommended research   published by Dayo Aiyetan, International Centre for Investigative Reporting on January 18, 2018

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.

Nontraditional Actors: China and Russia in African Peace Operations

Recommended research   published by Elor Nkereuwem, The Stimson Center on March 31, 2017

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.

Africa’s Contemporary Security Challenges

Program Materials  

September 10-12, 2019 Washington, D.C. Syllabus | Program Schedule Overview of the Africa Center Presented by: Dr. Raymond Gilpin (slides) Required Reading: Website: www.africacenter.org Plenary 1: Conflict Trends in Africa Presented by: Dr. Paul D. Williams (slides) Dr. Catherine Lena Kelly (slides | video) Recommended readings: Ingrid Vik Bakken and Siri Aas Rustad, “Conflict Trends in Africa,... Continue Reading

The Testing of Benin’s Democracy

Spotlight   published by Mark Duerksen on May 29, 2019

Benin’s recent no-contest legislative elections are an attempt to consolidate executive power at the expense of democratic gains.

Emerging Security Sector Leaders Seminar

Program Materials  

Program materials for the Africa Center's 2019 program, “National Security Strategy Development Workshop: Central and Southern Africa.” Click here for syllabus, readings, and presentation slides.

Five Things to Watch in Sudan’s Transition

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on April 12, 2019

Transforming the protests into genuine democratic change in Sudan will require maintaining an organized reform coalition and reaching an understanding with military leaders.