In November 2021, Chinese and African political leaders met in Senegal for the eighth ministerial meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Since its creation in 2000, China has viewed the forum as an important opportunity to highlight priority areas in the China-Africa relationship, assess shifts in bilateral relationships and negotiate economic and trade deals. While President Xi Jinping touted peace and security as a priority during this year's FOCAC, there were fewer commitments to projects in this category than in previous years.
But despite receiving little attention in this year's ministerial meeting, China's influence on Africa's peace and security landscape is anything but insignificant. Over the past decade, China has steadily contributed to U.N. peacekeeping forces in Africa, funded Africa's regional institutions, extended military cooperation, established a military base on the continent and played an important role in Africa's arms and technology market.
On January 19, USIP held a discussion on the key takeaways from FOCAC 2021, China's long-term strategy in Africa's peace and security landscape, how China's bilateral relationships in Africa affect conflict dynamics — for example, in Ethiopia, where China has played an outsized economic role — and what it all means for U.S. foreign policy.
Join the conversation on Twitter with #USIPFOCAC.
Lise Grande, opening remarks
President and CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace
Abdul Hakeem Ajijola
Chair, African Union Cyber Security Expert Group
Garth le Pere
Professor, University of Pretoria; Senior Associate, Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection
Heather Ashby, moderator
Senior Program Officer, Strategic Security and Stability, U.S. Institute of Peace
Joseph Sany, closing remarks
Vice President, Africa Center, U.S. Institute of Peace