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Emerging Powers expand ties with Africa

September 17, 2012 by

Chinese and Chadian workers at an oil site in southern Chad, part of China’s growing economic presence in Africa. Ruth Fremson/The New York Times via The New York Times

The end of the Cold War resulted in the strategic disengagement of western countries, including the United States, from Africa. They continued their trade, aid and assistance relationship with Africa, but once the threat of communist expansion disappeared, the West interacted with the continent in a different way. This change permitted an opening for several emerging countries to expand their ties with Africa.

As some of these emerging non-African countries became economically strong, they increasingly replaced western influence and engagement in Africa, particularly in certain countries. This new development has fundamentally changed the relationship between the fifty-four countries of Africa and the rest of the world.

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Emerging Powers vie for Influence in Africa

May 4, 2012 by

The end of the Cold War resulted in the strategic disengagement of western countries, including the United States, from Africa. They continued their trade, aid and assistance relationship with Africa, but once the threat of communist expansion disappeared, the West interacted with the continent in a different way. This change permitted an opening for a variety of emerging countries to expand their ties with Africa.

As some of these emerging non-African countries became economically strong, they increasingly replaced western influence and engagement in Africa, particularly in certain countries. This new development has fundamentally changed the relationship between the fifty-four countries of Africa and the rest of the world.

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The United States Reassesses the China-Africa Relationship

January 18, 2012 by

China, India, Brazil and Russia and even smaller non-western countries such as Turkey, Iran and Indonesia steadily have been replacing western influence in Africa throughout the first decade of the 21st century.  China has contributed more to this process than any other single non-western nation and perhaps more than all of the others combined.

China surpassed the United States in 2009 as the largest bilateral trading partner with the combined fifty-three countries in Africa. Although accurate statistics are elusive, Chinese investment in Africa during 2009 may also have been larger than that of any other single nation. Chinese leadership in trade and investment with Africa almost certainly extended through 2010 and will likely continue into the foreseeable future.

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Emerging Powers in Africa

July 12, 2011 by

Leaders of India, Russia, China, South Africa and Brazil in Sanya, China for the BRICS summit in 2011. Image via Kremlin’s Press Office

The end of the Cold War resulted in the strategic disengagement of western countries, including the United States, from Africa.  They continued their trade, aid and assistance relationship with Africa, but once the threat of communist expansion disappeared, the West saw the continent in a different way.  This permitted an opening for a variety of emerging countries to expand their ties with Africa.  As some of these emerging non-African countries became economically strong, they increasingly replaced western influence and engagement in Africa, particularly in certain countries. This new development has fundamentally changed the relationship between the fifty-three countries of Africa and the rest of the world.

China is the most important emerging actor in Africa today. For that matter, China has become the principal non-African presence—western or non-western—in a number of African countries. Other emerging countries are also rapidly expanding their activities on the continent.

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The Impact of China’s Growing Influence in Africa

July 12, 2011 by

Chinese peacekeepers working on road maintenance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are participating in the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). Marie Frechon/UN

China is not new to Africa but the change over the decades in its relations with the continent is as revolutionary as China’s own internal revolution. From Mao Zedong’s leadership in 1949 until the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, China’s ideological foreign policy, Chinese internal developments and other events exogenous to Africa determined the nature of the China-Africa relationship. Although the Cold War had the greatest impact on China’s ties with Africa, the Sino-Soviet conflict that began in the late 1950s and continued until the mid-1980s was almost as important.

China’s Great Leap Forward from 1958 until the early 1960s and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution that began in 1966 and continued in a milder form until 1976 also had significant implications for China’s relations with Africa. The 1989 Tiananmen Square protests coincided with the end of the Cold War and marked a watershed in the way Africa viewed China.

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Piracy in the Gulf of Aden: A Focused Approach

April 19, 2011 by

Piracy off the eastern coast of Africa has become a profitable business for many Somalis whose average yearly income used to rarely exceed a few hundred USD.  By some estimates, in 2010 pirates were able to generate roughly $238 million in revenue typically through ransoms paid by private citizens, corporations or by states.

The pace of piracy has risen exponentially since 2005 when there were 35 attacks compared to 219 in 2010.  Piracy affords high risks but is a very profitable source of income for many Somalis who are unlikely to better their standard of living through conventional means. The 1991 fall of Siad Barre’s regime has been followed by two decades of civil war leaving Somalia a “failed state” as clan warfare consumed Mogadishu and surrounding areas.

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