China’s Peacekeeping Presence in Africa

China Monitor - Issue 33 - Sep 2008September 2008 – Issue 33

Over the past decade, Africa has made great progress in reducing the number of civil or international conflicts on the continents. The end of the Cold War in the early nineties, the advent of a democratic and stable South Africa and the increased role in conflict resolution of the African Union have all laid the foundation for a more peaceful Africa.

Despite this progress, Africa is often still viewed as a conflict-ridden continent. I believe this stereotype is to a large extent obsolete. Africa’s most rapidly growing states are those which are now categorized as post-conflict economies – Angola, DRC and Mozambique. They are benefiting from more stable political systems and the buoyant commodity markets, largely driven by China.

High intensity conflicts in Africa continue only in Sudan, Somalia and Chad. Low intensity conflict exists in northern Uganda, eastern DRC, Algeria, the Niger Delta and Zimbabwe. China is a commercial actor in all of these states, primarily in the extractive industries sector. As China’s footprint on the continent increases so will the expectation that it must engage politically on issues relating to peace and security.

Beijing has already dispatched peace-keeping forces to a number of African states. Politically this trend will be watched very carefully by international and African observers. China’s foreign policy toward Africa is evolving in line with its greater commercial presence and the changing African continent itself.

Download PDF – China Monitor – Issue 33 – Sep 2008