China’s Pursuit of Africa’s Natural Resources

Photo Credit: AfricansConnect/Maryam Hamida

Africa is a vast continent with diverse geographic patterns and a relatively limited population. The resource base of Africa is enormous, with powerful rivers, world leading concentrations of strategic minerals, and important petroleum and uranium deposits. Nevertheless, it is comprised mainly of developing states, with limited capacity and infrastructure.

Western development strategies have failed miserably in Africa, falling victim to Cold War politics, cultural differences and Africa’s colonial heritage. Long a friend of Africa in its self-declared role as leader of the developing world, China is in the midst of a resurgent African initiative based on a “politics free” development model aimed at securing access to Africa’s resource supplies.

This chapter examines China’s African strategy, offers an assessment of its implications for United States (U.S.) national security, and suggests a proactive, interest based approach for dealing with this phenomenon.

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