The New Tournament of Shadows: The Strategic Implications of China’s Activity in Sub-Saharan Africa and Africom’s Role in the U.S. Response

William R. Sprance


China is determined to reacquire the superpower status it sees as its birthright, and its activities in sub-Saharan Africa have strengthened Beijing’s strategic position by providing unimpeded access to natural resources, new markets for its export-driven economy and political influence in international bodies such as the United Nations. The U.S. insists that it is not creating AFRICOM to counter Chinese influence in sub-Saharan Africa. However, China’s diplomatic and economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa has created strategic challenges for the U.S., and AFRICOM will exist to improve America’s strategic position on the continent. By engaging in security cooperation and other activities, AFRICOM will challenge the strategic status quo and will make economic and political conflict likely.

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JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.