China’s Emerging Strategic Vision for Africa

On June 9, 2021, NBR held a discussion with Nadège Rolland and Howard W. French seeking to situate Africa in China’s strategic thinking. This discussion built off of the findings of Nadège Rolland’s report “A New Great Game? Situating Africa in China’s Strategic Thinking.”



Alison Szalwinski, The National Bureau of Asian Research


Alison Szalwinski, The National Bureau of Asian Research

Nadège Rolland, The National Bureau of Asian Research
Howard W. French, Columbia Journalism School


In recent years, China has expanded its global presence and become more assertive on the world stage. Previous NBR research found that Beijing seeks a world order that better fits its interests and values—a “loose, partial, and malleable” hegemony largely exercised over the Global South—making the African continent a key region for China. Beijing has expanded its presence on the African continent through increasing economic, political, and military engagement, as demonstrated by high levels of trade and the People’s Liberation Army’s first overseas naval base in Djibouti. But how does China’s increased engagement within Africa reflect its strategic ambitions? What are key Chinese strategists saying about China’s engagement with the continent?