English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Amid QUAD, China looks to build its own concrete support group, reaches out to Germany, France

Chinese President Xi Jinping

As the QUAD—Quadrilateral Security Dialogue—between the US, India, Japan and Australia gains momentum, China is attempting to build an ‘Africa QUAD’ along with Germany and France.

The US investments in Africa until now have remained muted but as the geopolitical thrust is fast shifting towards the Indo-Pacific region, Washington has started increasing its engagements in the continent. As the world rises up to Africa’s potential and importance, China will face increased competition, which is making it worried.

According to Nikkei Asia, the idea of quadrilateral cooperation on Africa — an "Africa Quad" — came in the form of an invitation to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to join the Initiative on Partnership for Africa's Development, a framework Beijing launched with African countries in May.

Also read: In search of rare earth metals in Africa, China hits roadblock in Burundi

“China has been wary of QUAD and given the changing scenario, it will try to build up another co-operation group to build support for itself,” an analyst told India Narrative. 

Beijing is also concerned as French military mission – Operation Barkhane—has started pulling out of West Africa—in the Sahel region. The French military mission has been present in the region since 2013 with the aim of keeping off the Islamic terror outfits and local militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) is coming to an end.

West Africa, which comprises the Sahel region, is home to natural resources including minerals and natural gas. It is not only rich in bauxite, uranium, crude petroleum, bauxite, diamond, manganese, aluminium, iron ore, natural gas among other things the region has gold, limestone and clay too.

As China’s concerns over security are rising as the terror attacks are becoming common in the continent, its investments are slowing too.

The South China Morning Post in a recent article noted that China’s projects in West Africa besides Afghanistan face serious threats.

Also read: Reviving the Port of Berbera: Why India and the UAE can become partners in the Western Indian Ocean

“Beijing is aggressively looking for support and allies to continue its focus in Africa,” the analyst said.

The Sahel region has been caught in political and security turmoil.

The United States Institute for Peace (USIP) in a publication released in April said that across the region, insecurity and socio-political instability continue to reach new heights.

“It is high time the United States rethink its strategy in the region. With less counterterrorism-related activities and better, targeted diplomatic efforts, the United States would more successfully avert political and security crises in the Sahel. By the same token, the United States would regain its strategic relevance in Africa in a time of global distress,” USIP noted.

In the Group of Seven meeting in June, US President Joe Biden proposed a mega infrastructure plan under the “Build Back Better World” (B3W) initiative. Africa will be part of the new infrastructure initiative. The G7 also said that it will increase support to the Indo Pacific and Africa. “We resolve to collaborate with partners around the world, including in the Indo-Pacific and Africa, to actively promote these shared values for the good of all,” said the statement.

China, which is the largest investor in Africa, considers the continent its own backyard.

“But now Africa’s prominence is coming to the fore and many other countries are now looking to expand their engagements and investments in the continent. This could reduce China’s dominance at a time when its investments in Africa are already thinning. Thus, Beijing will not only be worried but wouldn’t want to lose the advantage,” the analyst said.