Strategic Competition and Cooperation in Africa. Perceptions, Implications, and Ways ForwardMegatrends Policy Brief 13, 17.02.2023, 7 Seiten
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, policy-makers have increasingly viewed Western interests as being challenged by rival actors, including in Africa. This obscures Africa’s growing autonomy in the international order. Redefining European relations with Africa through the prism of strategic competition disproportionately focuses on challenges rather than opportunities.
Saudi Arabia is pursuing a strategy of security policy power projection, foreign policy diversification, and economic market development in the Horn of Africa. So far, however it lacked suitable instruments to implement its own interests over the long term. This is now to change.
Security cooperation has become vital for protecting China’s interests and investments in Africa, especially in the geopolitically important Horn of Africa (HoA). Now, it recently launched the ‘Initiative of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa’ and appointed its first special envoy for the region. Both steps suggest that China seeks to become a more prominent development and security provider in the region. As the EU and Germany currently re-evaluate their relations with Beijing as much as with African partner countries, questions arise about the substance of the HoA initiative and what the consequences for peace and security in the region could be.
The range of external actors intervening in internal conflicts on the African continent has undergone a noticeable change. Three states in particular are intervening in a growing number of African conflicts: the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, and Russia. Their expanding footprint shows that the multipolar disorder that has characterised wars in the Middle East now also affects much of Africa.
Security cooperation has become an important bargaining chip of Turkey-Africa relations. Ankara is exploiting the interest of African countries in its weaponry – specifically its Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – to broaden its political influence. Turkey will have to renegotiate relations with Western partners, as well as competitors such as Russia and China.