The global balance of power is shifting towards a multipolar and fragmented world order. This has significant implications for Africa's international relations. States such as China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey are increasing their political, economic and military involvement on the continent. They offer African states new forms of cooperation and thus potentially more opportunities to shape their foreign relations. But not all actors are equally interested in sustainable development on the continent. We look at the impact of these developments on African states and their relations with Europe.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, policy-makers have increasingly viewed Western interests as being challenged by rival actors, including in Africa. This obscures Africa’s growing autonomy in the international order. Redefining European relations with Africa through the prism of strategic competition disproportionately focuses on challenges rather than opportunities.
China is reorganising the spatial order in the East African Community through influencing key stakeholders. By heavily investing in regional connectivity projects via the BRI, Beijing promotes an alternative idea of development – one that is favourable to a Chinese-centric order in the region.
The BMZ has presented its new Africa strategy. The strategy turns away from focussing on private sector development, our authors comment in this Megatrends Afrika Spotlight. It promises global structural policy and multilateral cooperation - and a more self-critical attitude towards development.
India prioritizes Africa and Asia in its allocation of development projects to the Global South. Our research shows that India tends to make financial commitments in areas where China has increased its activities. This appears to be driven by commercial competition, Gerda Asmus (University of Göttingen), Vera Z. Eichenauer (ETH Zurich), Andreas Fuchs (University of Göttingen and IfW Kiel), and Bradley Parks (William & Mary) write in this Megatrends Afrika Spotlight.
African governments and the AU have supported the development of the continent’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. China, too, has increasingly invested in that sector. This Policy Brief argues that while Beijing meets Africa’s need for the development, helps bridge the telecom gap and contributes to connectivity, there are risks surrounding China’s engagement.
Security cooperation has become vital for protecting China’s interests and investments in Africa, especially in the geopolitically important Horn of Africa (HoA). Now, it recently launched the ‘Initiative of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa’ and appointed its first special envoy for the region. Both steps suggest that China seeks to become a more prominent development and security provider in the region. As the EU and Germany currently re-evaluate their relations with Beijing as much as with African partner countries, questions arise about the substance of the HoA initiative and what the consequences for peace and security in the region could be.