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Prospects of realization of Russia's strategic interests in Africa in terms of Chinese expansion
Material posted: Publication date: 16-11-2018

The African continent throughout history has been the object of political and economic interests of different countries: a tandem with the European powers lasted until the mid-20th century, then there was the confrontation of a geopolitical nature of the USSR and the USA until the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the early 21st century about the "black" continent briefly forgotten. The Russian Federation began its economic way at a market rails, and the United States with the disappearance of the Soviet threat began to adjust its internal political development. Africa is the second largest continent of the Earth, accumulating a significant reserve of natural and mineral resources and a rich natural and biological potential. A variety of ores of nonferrous and ferrous metals, diamonds, bauxite, and gold level production which first place in the world is it is the African continent – all this, for many centuries, have attracted significant attention in the international agenda and remains relevant to this day.

The current geopolitical situation in Africa is absolutely unique in its essence and the Russian Federation it is expedient to use in the implementation of their geopolitical interests. First, within the continent itself there is no such state which would become a leading actor, representing the accumulated interests of most African countries in the international arena: key players outside the region. Second, the feeble postcolonialist and emerging demand from China in the markets to form on the black continent special political plane. In the early 21st century the economically powerful countries have gone from an international site that unfolded in Africa and France, once had a considerable reputation in most of the countries of the African continent, currently significantly economically weakened and does not provide itself from its former influential political actor. Another feature lies in the fact that, historically, there is no such experience at the international level, which could be extrapolated to the African continent. Therefore, forecasting the development of international cooperation on the black continent – multivariate.

All of the above, and continued for some time, a geopolitical vacuum creates exceptional array of patterns of international cooperation. Today the African continent is the object of foreign policy interests and strategic collision with a block of countries.

The aim of this work is the analysis of causality developed experience of international cooperation of African countries with China, and identifying probabilistic models of mutually beneficial cooperation between the Russian Federation and the countries of the black continent.

During the writing of this work were used the following scientific methods: political analysis of international relations, comparative analysis of the investment policy, abstraction, quantitative analysis, synthesis and analogy.

In the early 21st century in the African lands began to intensify China. However, already in the fifties of the twentieth century, China initiated the attempts to penetrate Africa. He was particularly insistent on this question against the background of ideological divergence. At that time, Mao Zedong was trying to get support, especially ideological and political, in the countries of the so-called "third world", and from this point of view, Africa seemed very promising platform.

In the tropical parts of the African continent, China has given preference to cooperation with a whole range of revolutionary movements and regimes. The Maoism sympathized with many African leaders. One of the most vivid examples: Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and the leader of the rebel unions UNITA, Savimbi Jonas. During the cold war with China "flirted" many countries in Africa, as seen in this third force. For example, in Tanzania, in the 1960s, the Chinese military instructors were training of military personnel and partisans for a unit of the national armies of African States and the various rebel organizations in parallel with the attempts of Julius Nyerere to create their own model of socialism. Since then, however, a temporary matrix changed radically: the past decade, the Soviet Union collapsed, and instead political and ideological confrontation you can now see economic competition from many different market players. But the main actors in the "black continent" today are China, the USA and the European Union.

By the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century China has not only managed to overtake US PPP GDP, to modernise its economy, to introduce into production a number of innovative mechanisms, but also became a key investor in Africa. Another success of China lies in the fact that in this matter it is quite a long time went beyond a single centralized program. Today, in addition to large Chinese companies and the public sector in the "black continent" are invested also medium and even small businesses show themselves much more active. Chinese entrepreneurs are opening medical offices, various retail shops, all kinds of massage parlors, and since the African continent is very promising and most countries have entered a phase of active development, and services are in demand, and demand, in turn, creates supply, and China is actively using this is the Golden rule of the market. To date, investments in the economy of African countries from China there are tens of billions of dollars, and their annual turnover is increasing. However, Chinese experts are unable to give specific figures because, among other things, many businessmen and entrepreneurs to invest their capital through offshore zones in the bypass state. Nevertheless, summarizing the data of all the officially open source, you can follow an impressive trend of economic "expansion".

This suggests that the Chinese "expansion" is systematic phased steps. Russia will intensively involved in the international African agenda, if she not only wants to frustrate the plans of China, but also to promote their own interests, and to implement successful projects in the region. In this regard, it is worth saying that every year this group of interests is gradually moving into the category of vital. African countries remain the key sources of a whole spectrum of strategic resources – energy, gold, platinum, raw materials for innovative industries, rare earth and nonferrous metals. Among this list there are scarce for the Russian Federation resources and get them on the "black continent" is highly economically justified.

It is also worth noting that is fundamentally not true is the perception of Africa in an extremely negative way. For all its diversity, many African countries in economic terms, are developing quite successfully, the economies of the subregion of sub-Saharan Africa in the period 2000-2013, the average showed a GDP growth rate of 5.2%.[1] the Middle class of most countries in Africa are also growing at a rapid pace – it forms a significant consumer market, particularly for Russian goods and services.

A special place should be given to Zimbabwe, as that state came under economic and political influence of China is one of the first. The history of these relations originates already from the time of the Cold war. In those days the modern state of Zimbabwe was still called southern Rhodesia. Then the ensuing guerrilla war between the white leadership of the country and the national liberation movement of indigenous peoples has attracted the attention of one of the leaders in the competition for the "black" continent, the Soviet Union. Soviet Union supported the Zimbabwe African people, formerly known as ZAPU. Joshua Nkomo, leader of ZAPU attracted not only attracted to the ideology of the Bolsheviks, but, of course, the mere presence of patronage on the part of such a powerful state. She ZAPU relied on workers in the mining industry and the Ndebele nation in General, was in moderate positions. China then began to focus African national Union – ZANU, under the leadership of Robert Mugabe was a more radical organization. The result of the confrontation of the two parties were coming to power in 1980, ZANU's Robert Mugabe. On the African continent, thus, formed a Pro-Chinese government that it is indebted to China, both organizational and direct military support throughout the struggle of the national liberation character. Undeniable is the fact that China has acquired a significant participation in political and economic life of modern Zimbabwe after Mugabe coming to power. For all Beijing's major credit tranches, Robert Mugabe, for a long period of time provided informal support to any action by the PRC leadership, both in foreign and in domestic politics. For example, Mugabe officially adopted policies of the Chinese Communist party and China in General during the dispersal of anti-government demonstrations in 1989.

But the development of economic relations between the two countries for a long time was absent in spite of systematic provision of credit and close cooperation in the political sphere. However, after the introduction of a number of sanctions against Mugabe and his government, the IMF and the European Union the role of China in the Zimbabwean economy increased markedly. Zimbabwe exports to China, chrome, diamonds, platinum and steel, which are critical to the stability of Chinese industry. China sends in Zimbabwe the products of the secondary sector in different nomenclature. Only according to official data, trade between Zimbabwe and China during the last decade increased from one hundred and ninety-seven million dollars to one billion one hundred two million. The activities of Chinese companies mining in Zimbabwe is very long and active. The positive aspect for the Russian Federation in this respect is a mixed reaction of locals to the "occupation" of cheap Chinese products in the Zimbabwean market. In particular, the local people have don't like change "white farmers" in the Chinese businessmen in the role of the shadow masters of the country. But this raises a number of specific constraints: first, the economy of Zimbabwe is quite tightly tied to the partnership with China second, China is still actively cooperating with Zimbabwe in the military sphere. As you know, China continues to supply weapons for the armed forces of Zimbabwe. [2]

Probably, the Russian Federation should learn from the experience and the manner of China to build international cooperation in many aspects. Despite all of the above, unlike the former USSR, who sought to give African "ideologically close" modes, luxury gifts, China does not show excessive generosity and softness, in particular, referring to the Zimbabwean state. For example, in 2014 the Chinese government immediately demanded that the government of Zimbabwe to repay the debt in the amount of $ 180 million. Otherwise, Beijing has threatened to stop the further crediting of the Mugabe regime.

Significant competitive advantage of China in international relations is a strict adherence to their interests and achieving their best players. Even in spite of ideological loyalty, the PRC various political actors, the leadership of China does not hesitate to use decisive and extreme measures.

For Russia, the positive political aspect in Africa, particularly in Zimbabwe, is the scenario of change of state regime of Robert Mugabe, and it is only a matter of time, because he was already over ninety, consequently, the coming to power of a new leader in the offing. With the emergence of a new leader in Zimbabwe, the leadership of our country should have time to form with them dense political and economic relations in contrast to Chinese pressure.

However, that at any outcome of events China will try to maintain and strengthen its political and economic influence in the country. In this regard, the strategic plan of the Russian Federation should envisage different measures, and developed scenario-based forecasts regarding all the "black continent" in General, or the most promising from the point of view of the cooperation countries.

An interesting fact is the fact that to date Zimbabwe leads the list of African countries to attract Chinese investment, despite the exceptional nature of their relationship.

Russia can take advantage of the relative decline of the Zimbabwean economy, as it is quite far from the ideal model. Numerous errors of the government and the sanctions of a different nature, – all this was reflected on the economic and investment indicators of the country.

Analyzing international geo-strategy, it should be noted the fact that China today attract economically promising countries on the continent – in the foreign policy of China has ceased to be an emphasis on ideological closeness inherent in the practice of international relations of the twentieth century.

The first decade of the XXI century China was marked by the development of economic relations with such African countries as Sudan, Algeria, South Africa and Nigeria. For 2000, the structure of the involved African countries, and 70% were in China. In matters concerning economic presence in different countries in Africa, it is necessary to note one distinctive feature of China that is the direct focus on investments and not on a different kind of humanitarian aid, unlike a number of European countries and the USA.

In this case, the Russian Federation, in the implementation of their own strategic interests on the black continent, it seems appropriate to the investment strategy the example of Chinese economic policy. For example, investments in the development of agriculture and trade, as well as in the construction industry. Thus, the strategy of Russia's economic policy will be much more effective, as put in the dependence on investment a large part of African States. It is worth noting the fact that nature itself and the nature of the investment has a very clear perspective and will be useful for African countries themselves, in contrast to the ending of humanitarian aid. Practice also illustrates a more careful attitude on the part of African governments to investments in General.

Claiming its influence on the black continent, Russia it is expedient to use not only economic methods. The example of China, we, in particular, need to increase the scale of cultural cooperation. For example, many colleges and institutions of higher education a number of African States are studying Chinese for a long period of time. This is because to date, he is very promising due to the overwhelming population of China, so the previous trend of the study of Africans in French and English is relegated to the category of leveling. This issue is not to downplay the importance of the Russian language that has a huge potential and international cooperation with African countries in particular. Should not be limited only to training of specialists for a number of African countries directly in the Russian Federation. In my opinion, the heads of the leading Russian Universities should seriously consider opening branches on the "black" continent, the example of this practice in the CIS countries. This will considerably promote bilateral cultural exchange, and will represent a significant element of influence as a whole. The next rational step of the Russian Federation, in my opinion, is the deployment of Russian mass media on the example of China in Kenya, as it will contribute to "laying the Foundation" ideological community. Also, special attention as the conductor in the African continent should be given South Africa, in particular, it is home to a large Russian Diaspora, which, today, are our key conduits of cultural influence.

Special attention, in expanding spheres of influence in Africa, Russia should be given and the military and political presence which, in turn, increases annually from the PRC. An example of this is, first, the emergence of Chinese peacekeepers in the middle of the two thousandth in the number of "hot spots" of African countries, and secondly, the signing by China in 2015 ten-year contract for a construction project in Djibouti naval base. Carrying out the analysis, it is necessary to say that it will be the first outside of China base of the people's liberation army of China. The interests of China to protect the transportation of some strategic natural resources and petroleum products from several countries in the Middle East and Africa was the reason for her appearance in Djibouti.

For Russia, probably, will be very appropriate to be concerned about the protection of trade turnover with key African partners, the main of which, according to the Federal customs service of Russia in 2016 were: South Africa (0,1534% of the total foreign trade turnover of Russia), Algeria (0,8497%), Egypt (0,8886%), Morocco (0,2760%) and Angola (0,1214%). It is also worth to note separately the export and import figures for 2016. The percentage shares in exports: Egypt (of 1.3250% of total exports), Algeria (the 1.3893%), Angola (0,1989%), Nigeria (0,1331%) and Morocco (0,2538%). The percentage shares of imports: South Africa (0,2859% of the total import to Russia), Morocco (0,3108%), Kenya (0,0755%), Egypt (0,2049%) and côte d'ivoire (0,1292%). Given all the foregoing analysis of the geopolitical processes, the existing international experience in China, as well as a wide range of items of trade turnover with all the above countries, the Russian Federation, in my opinion, it is necessary to begin to develop a draft agreement on the construction of a military base in one of the countries of the trading block. (write about Egypt because it fits this role the most).

The Russian leadership, in the promotion of its interests on the black continent, should also closely monitor the actions of the United States, because, activity in Africa, China is without their immediate attention. Just intense activities of China in African countries was the reason for the creation in 2008 of the Washington division of AFRICOM - the African command of the armed forces of the United States, based, however, mainly in Italy and Germany. From a formal point of view, this military structure was created in order to counter-insurgency and terrorism in the Niger Delta and in the region of the Sahara-Sahel, but what is clear is that increasingly its appearance led to the rivalry of the United States with China. However, despite the active policy of the United States held in Africa, the volume of Chinese investment is significantly higher than the us. And policies of China in regard of outward FDI is allowed for a short period of time, to occupy the second position in the ranking.



In our opinion, a tool of Russia's success in Africa is the following formula: D(max)= + (.) + P(risk),

where D(max) is the maximum income received from the investment;

And is investment or cash;

C (.) is the most troubled countries of Africa;

a P(risk) – the most risky projects.

About this formula PRC implements its investment in Africa, in contrast to the same Union and the United States, carefully choosing the countries and specific projects, and only the losing of these steps.

For Russia, it would probably be the actual construction of power plants, roads, Railways, and refineries, in Nigeria, because, on the one hand, it has many infrastructure constraints, and on the other, more developed, among other African States.

In Northern Nigeria, China is investing intensively in upgrading existing and construction of new mining enterprises. The Northern part of Nigeria is a very troubled region, since the era of British colonialism to its development have not paid sufficient attention. A long period of time for all the internal issues here were decided by traditional Emirates and the Sultan of Sokoto, who had at that time considerable autonomy. Industry in this region for a long time was not developed and in fact was preserved a medieval feudal system.

Today, in Nigeria, the level of religious fundamentalism remains very high. This, in turn, is compounded by various social problems. For example, the already high unemployment rate coupled with high fertility.



The result is the lack of jobs for critical group of the population – youth, together they can produce a very huge threat to the Nigerian economy. Therefore, building of mining enterprises, Chinese companies solve a lot of problems in the region and the country as a whole.

Regarding competition with China in mining industry, Russia can boast the success of their companies in such African countries as Guinea and Angola. For example, in Guinea, the Russian company mined bauxite in Angola – diamonds. Another victory for us on this continent can be called the purchase group RUSAL a bauxite-alumina complex - Frigia". Also in the African countries began to appear actively the Russian companies leading in other areas and sectors of the economy. Russia, in particular, is one of the leaders in the supply of arms to the countries of the black continent South of the Sahara.

In analyzing the potential of implementing Russia's strategic interests in Africa should pay particular attention to international relations with Zambia marked its beginning in the days of the Soviet Union. They were formally established on 30 October 1964, after the final proclamation of the Republic of Zambia on its independence. The second turning point in bilateral relations was the recognition of the Zambian government, on 31 December 1991, the Russian Federation as the successor of the USSR. After continued contacts at the level of parliamentary delegations, foreign Ministers and representatives of the different branches of government.

In 2012, the Russian side initiated another impetus to the development of bilateral political dialogue, and in August a meeting was held between the presidents of Zambia Michael Satay and the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. The heads of state expressed mutual desire to develop with an emphasis on its economic component.[6]

2012 was marked by another significant event for the Russian-Zambian relations, namely the Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov and Zambian counterpart Given by Lubinda on the sidelines of the sixty-seventh session of the UN General Assembly. In September 2014 in the framework of the same event, held comprehensive talks between heads of foreign policy departments of the countries-members of the development Community of southern Africa, in particular, foreign Minister of Zambia Harry Kalabo and Sergey Lavrov. And in April 2015 in Moscow have passed negotiations of the Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia from Kalabo in the framework of his working visit. The next meeting of the foreign Ministers of Russia and Zambia was held from 31 may 2017 in Moscow.[7]

After analyzing Russian-Zambian relations should indicate their systematic and multifaceted development. In my opinion, they have significant potential for the realization of the Russian Federation of its interests in Africa and to improve economic situation in Zambia. One example of this is provided by data on bilateral foreign trade turnover over the past two years. In 2017 the code he made up 11.56 million dollars, including import of 11.23 million dollars, exports to 0.33 million dollars. For the first quarter of 2018 - 3,58 million dollars, of which import - 0,38 million dollars, export — 3,20 million dollars, respectively. The key articles of Russian imports from Zambia are: essential oils, plants and live trees. And fertilizer and protein substances predominate in the structure of exports. Also, today, there are prospects for intensive cooperation in the energy, military-technical and trade and investment areas.

The African continent opens a lot of opportunities for implementation of profitable projects and strategic interests as a whole. Which lasted some time, the political vacuum has created a unique geopolitical situation on the black continent. The forecasting models of international interaction in Africa a retrospective analysis fails. A distinctive feature of the transformation of international courts is the absence of a similar historical experience. Russia has significant competitive advantages and on a par with China could take a leading position in Africa, as investment flow and international cooperation in General.

The list of used sources and literature

  8. Anisimov O. S. Strategic management and public thinking. M., 2006.
  9. Akhremenko A. S. the Political analysis and forecasting: proc. allowance. – M.: Gardariki, 2006. – 333 p.
  10. The Buryak A. Analytical intelligence. – M.: Mir, 2000.

Drobyshev A.

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