Growing China’s Influence in Africa

Editorial Analysis for IAS - Growing China's Influence in Africa

Growing China’s Influence in Africa


  • In the past decade the world has seen Chinese investments in Africa across various sectors but for the first time China is involving in the security sector in Africa.
  • This has raised apprehensions regarding the Chinese intentions in the region specially after its conference on the China – Horn of Africa peace agreement.


The Chinese presence in Africa is seen in four major areas, they are:

Infrastructure –
  • The African Union’s $200 million Addis Abeba headquarters was one of its hallmark initiatives.
  • The Addis-Djibouti railway line, which will link the landlocked nation with Eritrean ports in the Red Sea, has also seen major investment.
  • The Mombasa-Nairobi rail link in Kenya is another project in which China has invested, and it has previously completed railroad projects in Sudan.
  • Additionally, it has a healthy market for military equipment in Ethiopia and has completed more than 80 infrastructure projects there, including hospitals, roads, schools, and stadiums.
  • China is funding 14 infrastructure projects in Djibouti.
Financial Assistance –
  • Ethiopia is one of the top five African countries receiving Chinese investments in terms of financial aid, yet it also owes close to $14 billion in debt. 67 percent of Kenya’s bilateral debt is with China.
  • China pledged to help Eritrea out with $15.7 million in 2022.
Natural Resources –
  • The availability of natural resources like coal and oil is the third main reason why China is interested in Africa.
  • The oil terminal in Mombasa has received $400 million from Beijing. Additionally, Ethiopian materials like gold, iron ore, precious stones, chemicals, oil, and natural gas are of interest to China.
  • Since Beijing’s initial involvement into the petroleum business in 1995, South Sudan, a source of petroleum products, has seen ongoing investment from Beijing.
Military –
  • Interests in the maritime sector make up the fourth important area. Djibouti is home to China’s sole military outpost outside of its continental territory.
  • The United States has conjectured that China wants to expand its military footprint in the region by constructing another military base in Kenya or Tanzania.
Way Forward:
  • Africa has been eager to communicate with China. The governments of Africa have generally welcomed China’s projects despite the suspicion that surrounds them.
  • In November 2020, when fighting broke out in Tigray, Beijing earned praise from Addis Abeba for upholding Ethiopia’s sovereignty.
  • Kenya supported Chinese investments in the nation in December 2021; President Uhuru Kenyatta insisted that the China-Africa alliance was mutually beneficial.

          Source The Hindu