A 2014 study by the China Institute of International Studies, identified the need for China, the U.S., and Africa to coordinate on African affairs. There were even programs hosted by Brookings in 2013 between the U.S., Africa, and China to explore opportunities for collaboration.
USA and China have collaborated before, albeit not on really critical and controversial issues. They worked together during the crisis in Sudan and the Ebola outbreak.
But are there common grounds for these two superpowers to cooperate in Africa?
Despite tensions between the U.S. and China regarding their military bases in Djibouti, they both worked together in 2008 to combat maritime security threats, especially piracy on the Gulf of Aden. Cooperation of the coast of Africa still continues to this day.
China and the U.S. have been cooperating on matters of security at both bilateral and multilateral levels, including UN peacekeeping missions. They both play key roles in the tactical operations of the United Nations Security Council. China is currently the tenth largest supplier of personnel to the mission.
The cooperation between China and the USA at United Nations Security Council and in peacekeeping missions is a potential ground for increased cooperation on political issues and security.
The U.S. usually focuses on ‘soft’ infrastructure, targeting human or social capital, while China focuses on ‘hard’ infrastructure such as construction and manufacturing.
There is a potential for cooperation in this field, as they complement each other.
China and the USA have also shown support for Africa’s integration efforts by the African Union.
Corruption is a major obstacle to the flow of Chinese and U.S. investment in Africa. Both countries have taken steps to combat the effects of corruption.
The U.S. Department of Justice has scaled up efforts in applying the Foreign Corrupt practices Act to U.S. commercial violators.
The Chinese government in a 2011 amendment to their National Criminal law has banned bribery of foreign officials.
Cooperation in this area is the surest way in terms of eliminating corruption, and as a result, will require all hands on deck.
There is also a potential for cooperation in the health sector between both countries. They cooperated during the height of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the late 20th century. They also collaborated during the Ebola outbreak between 2013 and 2016.
The U.S. supplied West Africa with $1 billion worth of assistance, including troops and medical staff during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. China also sent a People’s Library Army medical squad to construct a 100-bed hospital. China’s assistance was worth $125 million.
Though it was not carefully coordinated, their personnel did work together behind the scenes. They also collaborated with African Union to establish the African center for disease control.
There is also potential cooperation between both countries during this COVID pandemic and in the distribution of vaccines.
There is more ground for there countries to cooperate, but what does Africa stand to gain from this?
What do you think?
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Africans on China (AoC) is a media-tech platform and consultancy on a mission to create a self-sufficient Africa that relates with the world, especially China, on mutually beneficial terms. We are led by a team of passionate African professionals who are experts in their field. Together, we bring decades of strategic and business expertise in the African and Chinese business and educational markets.