Chinese Engagement in Africa: Drivers, Reactions, and Implications for U.S. Policy

Chinese Engagement in Africa: Drivers, Reactions, and Implications for U.S. Policy

Chinese Engagement in Africa: Drivers, Reactions, and Implications for U.S. Policy

Chinese Engagement in Africa: Drivers, Reactions, and Implications for U.S. Policy

Synopsis

Examines Chinese engagement with African nations, focusing on (1) Chinese and African objectives in the political and economic spheres and how they work to achieve them, (2) African perceptions of Chinese engagement, (3) how China has adjusted its policies to accommodate African views, and (4) whether the United States and China are competing for influence, access, and resources in Africa and how they might cooperate in the region.

Excerpt

Most analyses of Chinese engagement with African nations focus on what China gets out of these partnerships—primarily natural resources and export markets to fuel its burgeoning economy, and agricultural products to feed its increasingly urbanized population. Some studies have described the impacts—both positive and negative— that China’s aid and investment policies have had on African countries. However, few analyses have approached Sino-African relations as a vibrant, two-way dynamic in which both sides adjust to policy initiatives and popular perceptions emanating from each other.

In an effort to characterize the dynamic nature of Chinese-African relations, RAND comprehensively examined Chinese and African objectives in the political and economic spheres and the means by which they work to achieve their goals. RAND then examined the reactions of both African governments and populations to Chinese engagement and assessed the ways in which China adjusted its policies to accommodate these often-hostile responses. RAND also considered whether the United States and China are competing for influence, access, and resources in Africa and whether opportunities might exist for the two powers to cooperate in ways that advance their mutual interests, as well as those of their African partners.

This report should be of interest to analysts and policymakers concerned with U.S. policy in Africa, as well as those interested in understanding the ways in which China formulates its foreign policy. This research was conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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