China is employing a foreign policy strategy in Africa that is both an inherent part of and intertwined with Beijing’s foreign policy doctrine. Its main aim is to turn the African continent into China’s strategic asset, whose purpose would be to grow PRC’s political and economic might and enable China to position itself as a superpower. In Beijing’s eyes, Africa is rich in valuable resources and is quite a capacious vast market, with a population of 1.2 billion people, for its goods, the continent is also one of the largest recipients of Chinese investments. Long-term plans include transforming Africa into a manufacturing zone, that China, having invested on a large scale in, could move its production facilities to, in order to be closer to sources of raw materials and labor. Ultimately, this will allow China to free itself of old technologies and clear the path for the fourth wave of innovation.
Part of this strategy includes PRC’s interest in transforming Africa into a stable peaceful zone because only such a scenario would justify large-scale investments in this continent, and ensure steadfast sales of Chinese goods there.
This strategy was developed at the beginning of 2000s and it has been systematically updated since then. Starting in 2006, White Papers on China’s policies in Africa have been published, and they increasingly focus on the continent’s security and the fight against terrorism. From Beijing’s point of view, providing security is closely linked with eliminating poverty and underdevelopment, and these are the processes that China would like to take part in with its goods, technologies and investments.
For China, security and development are intertwined, and take priority over actively promoted Western doctrines that link human rights with democracy, as well as appropriate management with economic progress. Guided by its own experience, Beijing does not subscribe to this doctrine and spends its time actively promoting its own vision, based on the need to support economic development and ensure security, while for the most part ignoring progress made by various countries in the spheres of democracy and human rights.
In addition, China believes that it should not meddle in African internal affairs or participate in military interventions, as do Western nations in order to reach their own political and economic goals.