China is ascending to becoming the dominant world power, and, as such, is in the critical process of securing its supply-chain of strategic global resources. This objective is the core rationale for Chinese expansion across Africa, where it has established substantial influence through loans, economic assistance and military partnerships.
Our security risk assessment is that China will not remain so benign towards Africa when it completes the construction of its blue-water navy and can project its full military might to African shores. Among other indicators, the history of human conflicts has shown that an expanding empire will always seek to monopolize the source of its resource supplies, and secure it with military power.
One recent hallmark of this risk was the deployment of 331 military personnel to Juba, Southern Sudan in September 2018, as peacekeepers in a civil war that has impacted much of the continent for the past five years. If history repeats itself, these Chinese soldiers, coming to Africa to ‘protect China’s interests’, should be viewed as the first step in the long process of establishing a commercial monopoly, backed by a military presence.