New Security Challenges in Africa: Implications for China-africa Cooperation

China International Studies (English) - - Contents - Wang Hongyi

The changes in African security environment not only affect the development of African countries, but also have major implications for China-africa relations. Given its increasing interests on the continent, China should actively participate in African security governance, safeguard its legitimate rights and interests in Africa, and promote Africa’s peace and stability.

In recent years, with the profound evolution of international political and economic structure, the security environment of African countries has undergone major changes. The changes not only affect the peace and development of African countries, but also have major implications for China-africa relations. A comprehensive grasp of the new developments, new factors and new trends is necessary for an accurate analysis of and targeted response to the security situation in Africa, which is also conducive to the healthy development of China-africa relations.

New Security Situation in Africa

Since the beginning of the new century, the political situation in Africa has come to stabilize, but regime changes have given rise to turmoil, with rampant local military conflicts and increasingly scattered terrorist activities posing security threats to most African countries.

Party alteration leading to turmoil and conflicts

Democracy in Africa is often labeled as “visual democracy,” “democracy in form,” “tribal democracy” or “patriarchal democracy,”1 which means that their democratic elections are subject to easy manipulation, and election results often stir up controversies and lead to social conflicts. Coupled with

the overall low level of governance capacity and immature party politics in African countries, alteration of ruling political parties can easily intensify the three conventional disputes of the community, ethnic groups and religion. The civil wars in countries such as South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) peaked around the time of their respective elections. In 2015, violent clashes and a failed military coup in Burundi during the general election left hundreds dead, nearly 200,000 becoming refugees and the country plunging into a serious political crisis. Due to amendments to the electoral law and suspension of the presidential election, the DRC has experienced frequent riots since 2016. In June 2018, the President of Zimbabwe and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia were attacked by bombs at mass gatherings respectively, causing dozens of deaths and injuries.

Military conflicts becoming more unpredictable

African countries are mostly undergoing social transformation with intertwined old and new contradictions, which are prone to outbreaks of military conflicts. First, wars and conflicts remain a frequent scene in hotspot areas. Conflicts, mostly due to local interests, ethnic disputes, and factional struggles, come and go in the DRC, Somalia and Sudan. Although these conflicts are largely small in scale, their impacts are widely felt. Second, sudden outbreaks of armed conflicts in some countries that enjoyed longterm stability are more difficult to control. For example, Libya fell into a protracted civil war after Western intervention in 2011, and armed conflicts still occur from time to time. Third, some countries that had managed to restore peace have fallen into new conflicts. Armed conflicts due to tribal and religious disputes in the Central African Republic have occurred frequently, and countries such as Burundi are in danger of slipping into a civil war from electoral conflicts. Fourth, the international community holds a defeatist argument for peace building in Africa, and Western countries’ participation in Africa’s cause of peace has witnessed a significant decline. Since 2015, Europe has substantially reduced its assistance to peacekeeping in Africa, and

some African countries’ interest in conflict resolution has also weakened.

Terrorist activities growing increasingly decentralized

Terrorist activities in Africa in the 20th century mainly took place in East Africa and mainly targeted at the West. However, as a negative consequence unleashed by the “Arab Spring,” terrorist groups have been spreading out, making West and Central Africa the hardest hit area. Since 2014, African terrorist groups such as Al-shabaab and Boko Haram have joined ISIS one after another. In 2017, Boko Haram, whose activities covered 50,000 square kilometers of border areas in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger, launched more than 60 terrorist attacks, accounting for 14% of the global total. As of March 2018, these terrorist activities have left a death toll of over 20,000, accounting for 14% of the global total and leaving 2.6 million people as refugees. According to the Global Terrorism Index released by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), African countries with more than 300 deaths from terrorist attacks in 2017 include Nigeria, Somalia, Libya and the Central African Republic, among which Nigeria has been at the top of the list in terms of death tolls due to terrorist attacks for many years.2 In the second half of 2017, the terrorist attacks report issued by the United Nations Counter-terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and the UN Counter Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) covered more than 50 terrorist attacks in countries such as Egypt, Libya, Chad, Nigeria, Somalia and Cameroon.

Surging public security threats

The high frequency of violent public security accidents in Africa is mainly manifested in three aspects. First, since the global financial crisis in 2008, many African countries, trapped in financial difficulties, have seen declining investment in social governance. In addition, some countries have focused their efforts on combating terrorism and thus affected their input in

2 The Institute for Economics and Peace, Global Terrorism Index 2017: Measuring and Understanding the Impact of Terrorism, pdf.

public security. Second, some countries have experienced economic slump, commodities shortage and rising prices, which causes increased crimes in poverty-stricken areas. Third, Africa’s population growth has maintained at 3%, the highest in the world for many years, and the level of urbanization has increased from 31% in 1990 to the current 45%.3 However, the Central African Republic, Somalia and South Sudan have witnessed a rapid decline of their industry and commerce, a dramatic growth of population in poverty, and increasingly grave public security problems. According to the 2017 report of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the population of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State in Nigeria, has doubled over the past ten years, where 1.2 million people are unable to make a living and become the target of criminal organizations’ recruiting efforts.4

At the same time, the issue of transnational crimes stands out in Africa, mainly due to the following reasons. First, globalization has brought not only trade and investment dividends to Africa but also negative impacts. The fast flow of capital and personnel has pushed up the efficiency of international criminal organizations. Coupled with the popular use of high technologies, the cost of committing crimes has been significantly reduced. Second, the borders of African countries mostly extend through deserts, rivers and primeval forests, making border management difficult. Third, with insufficient financial input and weak patrol forces, organized cross-border crimes have encountered little restrictions. Fourth, corruption is rampant. With meager incomes for the military and the police, coastal defense officials and coast guards in some West African countries even secretly join Guinean pirate groups. According to documents of the African Union Counterterrorism Center, cross-border criminal organizations in Africa have built an expansive network across the entire African continent. Their trading partners include pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, the Al Qaeda Maghreb branch and Al-

3 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, African Economic Outlook, November 2017,

4 Leslie Roberts, “Hunger Amplifies Infectious Diseases for Millions Fleeing the Violence of Boko Haram,” Science, April 4, 2017.

Shabaab. They also maintain close commercial ties with European criminal organizations, the Middle Eastern extremist forces and South American drug trafficking gangs. It has also been frequently exposed that cyber-financial fraud gangs targeting people in China were captured in Africa.5

Serious public health safety problems and climate disasters

Due to a lack of social public services and a low level of medical and emergency response capabilities, African countries are facing increasingly acute public health safety issues and climate disasters. The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa caused 6,128 deaths, and 17,290 confirmed, suspected and possible infection cases in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal.6

Climate disasters are also constantly emerging. The expansion of the Sahara Desert to the south forced herdsmen into the farming area, affecting more than 20 countries including Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Sudan. In order to fight for survival resources, farmers and herdsmen frequently engage in armed conflicts, causing over 200 deaths in Nigeria each year. At the same time, the great lakes in Africa such as Lake Chad, Lake Turkana and Lake Victoria have been shrinking, especially for Lake Chad which has shrunk by 90%, leading to a deterioration of living environment of the residents. Affected by climate change, Africa has been in food crises in recent years. In 2014, food shortages hit more than 10 countries including Sudan, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Mali and Somalia. In 2015, the large-scale reduction of food production in sub-saharan Africa starved 32 million people. In 2017, the decline of food production in southern Africa made 29 million people suffer from food shortage. East African countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia experienced the worst drought in a hundred years in 2017, where a large number of livestock died and some farmland was abandoned, leading to

5 “Kenya Repatriates 77 Chinese Telecom Fraud Suspects,” Xinhua, April 14, 2016, http://www.xinhuanet. com/mrdx/2016-04/14/c_135277647.htm.

6 Data from the World Health Organization,

occasional tribal clashes over living resources.

New Factors Affecting African Security Situation

The historical factors affecting the evolution of security situation in Africa include institutional hidden perils left by the colonial era, tribal and religious strife, and external interference. However, a series of new changes in the security situation of African countries over the past ten years are primarily due to new factors such as the global economic downturn, increased geopolitical competition, and emerging social thoughts.

Economic downturn causes social instability

First, the shortage of foreign exchange has caused social imbalances. Some African countries do not have independent currency issuing power. The European Union controls the currency issuance of more than 20 former French colonies in West and Central Africa, and former colonial powers, like Portugal in Guinea-bissau, grasp the financial lifeline of some African countries. Furthermore, with small economic sizes, African countries have been relying on borrowing and issuance of sovereign debts to balance their foreign exchange shortages. However, Western countries’ frequent downgrade of African countries’ credit ratings increases the difficulty for the latter to obtain foreign exchange.

Second, the interest rate hike of the US dollar has exacerbated the loss of foreign exchange in African countries. Since 2015, the dollar liquidity in the international market has decreased sharply. Egypt, Angola, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa have experienced serious dollar shortages, and many countries have adopted foreign exchange control policies.7 In addition, investment to Africa has dropped. In the context of the United States’ tax cut, large companies have chosen to return their profits to the US, which in turn affects tax revenues in Africa.

7 Data from Bloomberg,

Third, the international debt burden has led to an increase of living costs. The total debt of African countries has reached an unbearable level. With have insufficient solvency, it has been difficult for African countries to obtain external support. Currently, Africa’s economy is an “economy of survival.” Many African countries provide direct or indirect subsidies to the import of basic commodities such as grain, sugar, salt and diesel. If a country has heavy debt burdens and has to cancel subsidies, it will directly lead to a decline of people’s living standards and purchasing power, in turn giving rise to social unrest.

International geopolitical competition endangers African security

Since the beginning of the new century, China and other emerging powers have gained strong presence in the African economy, leading to a sharp shrink of European and American influence in Africa. However, the US and other Western countries still harbors the ambition to maintain global dominance. In recent years, the US and European countries, based on their diplomatic missions, use non-governmental organizations as a tool to expand the interests of Western companies, and stir up troubles and create conflicts across Africa. According to historical experience, in the midst of economic turmoil, great-power competition will be further aggravated. The situation in the core areas with higher geostrategic value will naturally see more turbulence. To Africa, the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel marked Trump’s new strategy for the Arab world. The North African countries, which have been deeply affected by the Middle East situation, would be the first to feel great powers’ role in leading changes in the international landscape. For other African countries, the opposition between the Islamic world and the Christian world will further intensify, and the fight of European and US forces against terrorist and extremist forces will continue. The Western world has launched a new round of offensive against extremist forces, and the conflict of economic interests hidden behind it will affect the cooperation projects of emerging countries such as China in Africa, further aggravating the conflicts among major powers in Africa.

Impacts of US counter-terrorism policy adjustment

During the presidential campaign, Trump listed anti-terrorism as a strategic priority and underlined the need to adjust the policy of the war on terrorism. However, no corresponding counter-terrorism strategy has been introduced so far. Since the United States plays a leading role in the global war on terrorism, it has a major impact on the anti-terrorism policies and actions of African countries, which will inevitably lead to counterattacks by African extremist forces. In general, since 2016, the Western countries’ input in the African war on terrorism has been significantly reduced. While the terrorist activities in Africa have been increasingly fragmented, localized and hidden, the terrorist threats and consequences have become more serious, continuously causing mass casualties. In 2017, a terrorist attack in the capital of Somali killed more than 500 people, and the terrorist attack in an Egyptian mosque killed more than 300 people, which respectively became the most serious terrorist attacks in the history of the two countries.8

Rapid changes in social thoughts

At present, as globalization enters a stagnant period, people across the world are thinking about the future direction of political and economic development. Coupled with the long simmering conflicts, the gap between social groups has widened, and negative and confused moods have shown an upward trend. The “black swan” incidents in the Western world are completely beyond people’s understanding of the raging conflicts of social thoughts. In the current global economic downturn, Africa has become the most direct victim. African social elites and intellectuals, who are seeking breakthroughs and remedies, are more prone to all kinds of non-mainstream thoughts. It is particularly noteworthy that the counter-globalization wave has now gained more support from the bottom of society and the bankrupt people around the world. The thinking such as “mineral resources

8 Data from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point,

nationalism,” “globalization harms Africa” and “winning social rights by mass street campaign” are gaining an increasing number of adherents in Africa.9

Implications for China

The security issue is a direct threat to the political stability, economic development and social progress of African countries, and an impediment to higher level of political, economic and cultural cooperation between China and Africa. At the same time, the security problems of a single country is prone to cause a chain collapse of security situation in the sub-region, jeopardizing China’s investment and personnel security on the African continent. In addition, African security issues, through its impacts on other regions, might also indirectly affect China’s relations with Western countries.

Disputes over the non-interference principle

Both Africa and China adhere to the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, which is the basic norm for the two sides to conduct exchanges. This principle has remained the most important tenet of China’s diplomacy. In the early 1980s, as China further clarified its independent foreign policy of peace, the non-interference principle was particularly emphasized. In recent years, despite consistent questioning by Western countries and some developing countries, this principle was still incorporated as one of the four basic policies toward Africa in China’s Africa Policy Paper. China has been conducting foreign relations on the basis of the principle, thus always occupying a moral high ground in international affairs, especially on the issue of African security.

Since the 1990s, the security issues of African countries have become more prominent, with such events as the Rwandan massacre shocking the world. The collective security concept advocated by Western countries has

9 “Les Ressources Minérales au Service du Développement de L’afrique: Poser les Fondements d’une Nouvelle Vision,” UN Economic Commission for Africa, October 18, 2012, default/files/uploaded-documents/adf/adf8/adfviii-draft-issues-paper-mineral-resources_fr.pdf.

thus won increasingly broad recognition by African countries, who have continuously requested external interference. Since its inception, the African Union has been granted the right to interfere by the Charter, under which it has imposed multiple sanctions and conducted military interventions.

As China adheres to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, when it continues political and economic cooperation with the governments concerned in the event of a civil strife, it often fails to respond to and support the African Union’s intervention in a timely manner. When the UN promotes authorization resolutions, China also adopts a cautious attitude in most of the time. Therefore, the conflicts of principles between China and Africa in dealing with security issues have given rise to increasingly vocal criticism from African countries and brought trouble for China’s diplomatic work in Africa.

In the meantime, the security issues have triggered internal disagreements in Africa, which also puts China in a dilemma. Security issues of individual countries are increasingly regionalized, involving more countries in the resolution process. The military conflict in South Sudan not only draws concern from its neighboring countries, but also receives intermediation from Central and Southern African countries. The conflict in the Central African Republic, the Mali crisis, the DRC civil war and the Somalia issue have even aroused the attention of the entire continent. With participation of so many countries in the peace process, the internal differences among African countries have been fully exposed, making it more difficult for external partners to take sides. For example, when the African Union discussed the South Sudan conflict, there was a fierce confrontation among regional countries. On the issue of deploying UN peacekeeping forces to Burundi, African countries also held conflicting opinions.

Security issues hinder higher-level economic cooperation

The outstanding security issues in Africa are restricting China-africa production capacity cooperation and hindering the upgrade of bilateral economic cooperation.

First, it constrains China’s cooperation with Africa on production

capacity. In order to promote their economic cooperation to a higher level, the two sides have identified production capacity cooperation as a new priority. However, the cooperation necessitates heavy investment, and has strict security requirements for the investment environment. Wrong investment choices will lead to incalculable losses. Moreover, the investment return period of capacity cooperation is magnified exponentially compared with the return period of trade, and generally requires the investment destination to maintain a stable and safe environment for more than ten years. As the security risks of African countries are generally high, there are only a handful of countries that can meet the relevant security conditions. The demonstration countries of production capacity cooperation can only be limited to a few countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.

Second, it hinders the deep integration of China-africa economic cooperation. Africa’s continuing security challenges has not only halted its economic growth and affected economic transformation, but also caused the division of the continent into isolated economic units separated by conflicts and wars, making the formation of a unified market more difficult. Even in Ethiopia and Kenya, where the security environment is relatively stable, the areas close to the border with Somalia are difficult to be incorporated into the market planning of companies. Therefore, despite the long-term friendship and rapid development of economic cooperation between China and Africa, the model of economic cooperation is still dominated by trade and project contracting and supplemented by resources exploitation, while industrial investment is very limited. If the security problems cannot be resolved, the reality of small-scale and fragmented market in African countries is highly unlikely to change, and it is difficult to meet the basic needs of modern industry for the integrity of industrial chain and market integration. China’s industrial investment in Africa will remain on a small scale and at a lower level, still far away from the level of cooperation where the industrial chain is deeply integrated.

Third, it threatens the steady supply of raw materials. China currently imports a large amount of oil, electrolytic copper, iron ore and wood from

Africa, most of which come from conflict-prone areas. In 2017, the crude oil China imported from Africa accounted for 14.2% of its all imports, and the top ten African countries from which China imported crude oil include Angola, the Republic of the Congo, Libya, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Egypt, Sudan and Cameroon, among which the import volume from Angola alone reached 50.42 million tons. Therefore, the development of the situation in Angola would seriously affect China’s energy security. Currently, China’s imports of cobalt from Africa are almost exclusively from the DRC, timber mainly from Equatorial Guinea, Angola and the DRC, and electrolytic copper mostly from Zambia and the DRC. The changes in political situation of these countries have important implications for the supply of raw materials to Chinese companies.

Capital and personnel security affects investment confidence

With the increasingly close economic cooperation, the trade volume between China and African countries reached $170 billion in 2017. The number of Chinese enterprises operating in Africa approached 4,000, and China’s investment stock in Africa reached $100 billion.10 Political turmoil in Africa remains the biggest challenge facing project contracting, which makes up the largest proportion of China-africa economic and trade cooperation. Frequent regime changes and military conflicts in Africa pose Chinese enterprises with various problems such as contract invalidation, payment default, payment delay, and property expropriation. In war-torn countries such as Libya and South Sudan, Chinese enterprises have to suspend all projects and evacuate all Chinese staff, resulting in loss of not only project revenues but also a large amount of machinery, materials and cash. Moreover, according to insurance practice, enterprises can only receive partial compensation for direct economic losses (property damage) suffered by the war, but cannot be indemnified against indirect economic losses incurred

10 “China-africa Annual Trade Data 2017,” Cooperation and Exchange Office of Chinese Mission to the African Union, January 24, 2018, shtml.

in production and operation activities. As the recent large-scale investment projects signed by China and African countries are concentrated in war-torn or post-war areas such as the DRC, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the security risks involved cannot be ignored.

In addition, in high-risk areas, the frequent armed attacks on Chinese enterprises almost every year that usually cause casualties have sapped China’s investment confidence. Chinese companies have been attacked with casualties in Nigeria, the DRC, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Angola. Affected by the surrounding hotspot issues, weapons have become rampant and violence is on the rise in some basically stable African countries, posing threats to the safety of Chinese investment and personnel. In China’s major investment destinations in Africa, such as South Africa, Angola, Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda, frequent robberies and attacks on Chinese enterprises and personnel have affected the enthusiasm of investment by Chinese enterprises.

Cooperation with countries in conflicts under Western criticism

At present, the China-africa economic cooperation has occupied the dominant position in Africa’s international economic cooperation, and China’s political influence in Africa is on the rise. However, the development of China-africa relations has encountered widespread fear and jealousy of Western countries, from the government to the private sector and from the business community to the media. In this context, economic cooperation between China and those African countries involved in conflicts has become the focus of Western accusations. On the premise that there are no UN embargo resolutions, China’s normal economic cooperation with the governments of African countries in conflicts conforms to the basic principles of international relations. From a practical point of view, there is no evidence that the cooperation has worsened the regional situation.

In order to achieve their strategic goals in Africa, Western countries aspire to expand the scope of international interference in African countries, and therefore actively promote the concept of global governance for security issues. In order to cultivate Western values at the grassroots level, expand the

pro-western forces, and profoundly influence and change Africa, the Western countries have also advocated the concept of “multi-domain intervention” in the United Nations and other international organizations, expanded the African civil society’s share of government power, and supported the civil society’s participation in hotspot issues. China’s adherence to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs is a huge obstacle to the implementation of the abovementioned Western strategy. Therefore, Western civil society, academic circles and public opinion have launched criticism against China’s policies on African security issues on a global scale, questioning and criticizing China’s non-interference principle at the international level, and pushing Western governments to exert pressure on China in this regard.

Recommendations on China-africa Security Cooperation

China’s increasing interests in Africa makes it impossible to completely avoid security risks. Instead, China should actively participate in African security governance, safeguard its legitimate rights and interests in Africa, and promote Africa’s peace and stability.

Strengthening cooperation on security affairs

China should take more proactive and concrete measures on the issue of African security, actively participate in relevant peacekeeping operations within the UN framework, enhance Africa’s independent peacekeeping capabilities within the framework of the African Union and other regional organizations, in an effort to promote peace and stability on the African continent.

First, participating in the revision of international security principles and peacekeeping policies. The principles and theories currently applied by the UN and other international organizations are outdated and in need of further improvement and revision. As relevant principles, theories and policies will have a decisive influence on the future trajectory of the international political situation and the transformation and management of the international community, China should increase its input in theoretical research and explore

ways to better provide Chinese solution to the international community.

Second, promoting policy coordination under different frameworks. At present, China has achieved cooperation and participation at the three levels of the United Nations, African regional organizations and individual African countries on the issue of African peace and security. However, it is necessary to strengthen coordination in various fields in response to the developing peace and security situation in Africa, improve means of participation, avoid conflicts and contradictions, and enhance effectiveness and influence.

Third, engaging in UN peacekeeping operations. The authority and justice of UN peacekeeping makes it the main platform for African security and peace affairs and an important stage for enhancing countries’ image. There are three aspects where China should step up input when participating in peacekeeping. First, increasing civilian personnel. Civilian personnel in charge of the UN’S peacekeeping departments are the dominant power of peacekeeping operations as well as the explorer and practitioner of peacekeeping theories. Second, sending more combat troops to Africa if technical and logistical conditions permit. Combat troops have an increasingly important role in UN peacekeeping operations and enjoy a greater autonomy over the enforcement and means of implementation of peacekeeping resolutions, and to a certain extent, dominate the direction of peacekeeping operations. Third, improving the professionalism, foreign language proficiency, communicative competence and adaptability of dispatched personnel, and improving the ability of communication and coordination with troops from other countries.

Finally, supporting the independent peacekeeping operations of African countries. Independent peacekeeping is the common aspiration of African countries and peoples, and the influence of peacekeeping operations by regional organizations such as the African Union is expected to rise steadily. At present, the African Union’s independent peacekeeping capabilities are far from sufficient, facing the challenge of inadequate technical and economic support. China can help strengthen its work in four areas. First, promoting exchanges and communication with Africa, and jointly studying and

exploring new concepts of peacekeeping. Second, providing more concrete support to the African Union’s existing peacekeeping operations, such as training for military, police, and civilian officials, and assistance in building camps, logistics bases and roads. Third, giving technical and financial support as well as training to the headquarters of the African Standby Force11 in five sub-regions. Fourth, offering financial support to or engaging in exchanges and cooperation with international organizations and nongovernmental organizations involved in African peacekeeping operations.

Enhancing counter-terrorism capabilities

Although the Chinese are not the main target of terrorist attacks in

11 “The African Standby Force (ASF),” African Union, May 28, 2015, page/82-african-standby-force-asf-amani-africa-1.

Africa, China is unable to sit idly on the sidelines. It is necessary for China to provide appropriate support for Africa, strengthen intelligence sharing with various stakeholders, and effectively enhance the precautionary capabilities of Chinese enterprises and personnel in Africa.

First, providing necessary support for Africa’s counter-terrorism efforts. China should step up political support for African efforts in this regard under the UN framework, and give more financial support to counter-terrorism operations under the AU framework. China can also provide more training opportunities under regional and bilateral frameworks, and offer more of its advanced counter-terrorism equipment, which is conducive to elevating African countries’ capabilities. Moreover, China can share more counterterrorism technologies and theories with African countries.

Second, attaching importance to international cooperation in information sharing. As the current leading force in counter-terrorist actions in Africa, Western countries have accumulated rich experience on the continent. Their intervention and cooperation models as well as practical experience are worth learning from. Meanwhile, Western countries have established a comprehensive and multi-dimensional regional intelligence network. If China could achieve information sharing with the Western countries, it will have positive significance for safeguarding Chinese investment and personnel safety in Africa.

Third, improving the ability to withstand risks. China should improve the mechanisms for both countering and preventing terrorism for Chinese overseas personnel. Chinese embassies in Africa can consider setting up the post of security officer and establish a patrol system, relying on the military forces of host governments to protect Chinese investment and personnel safety. China should also strengthen information gathering and achieve coordination and interaction between domestic and overseas departments.

Promoting Chinese security forces’ go-global efforts

The presence of security forces can guarantee the steady and stable progress of China-africa cooperation. With various security challenges, Chinese companies and capital in Africa are fully exposed to various

investment risks. Due to the limited means of China’s traditional consular protection, large-scale Chinese enterprises generally rely on the services of Western security companies, thus conceding relevant information to the Western companies. It is therefore imperative for Chinese security industry to go abroad. Security forces are an important supplement to the existing means of protecting overseas Chinese and an auxiliary tool of peacekeeping. To promote Chinese security forces’ go-global efforts, it is first necessary to clarify the subjects and responsibilities of the security system. The Stateowned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission can lead the formulation of the framework, adopt relevant binding regulations, set up rewards and punishment mechanisms, and clearly incorporate security costs into overseas project contracts. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should preside over the establishment of an interaction mechanism, and build an African security network centered on consular protection. Local Chinese diplomatic missions should play a major role in establishing security networks in their respective host countries, and make use of the existing overseas capabilities to realize the gathering and sharing of intelligence and build a sound security network. Second, relevant international regulations, such as the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers, the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries, and the Draft Luanda Convention promulgated by the United Nations, should be respected. Government agencies and state-owned enterprises should refrain from setting up security companies directly. Finally, security companies should establish coordination mechanisms and develop standards of conduct and industrial norms. Without an effective integration of overseas security capabilities, Chinese companies and individuals going to Africa would be left without protection. Therefore, it is necessary for the Ministry of Public Security or the Insurance Association of China to integrate the capabilities of all parties, formulate standard code of conduct and industrial norms for overseas security protection, and set up a sound coordination mechanism.

The 140 members of China's first peacekeeping helicopter detachment were awarded the United Nations Peace Medals of Honor during an medal-awarding ceremony held at a camp in El Fasher, Darfur, Sudan, on July 15.

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