DiplomacyIR & Politics

Battle for Africa: Rally of Russia, China and the USA

During the Trump Administration, the United States abandoned Africa. President Trump decreed troops to retreat from the crucially critical African states accord with the USA foreign policy. Naturally, it triggered chaos, terror at the heart of Africa and left a blank to other superpowers. However, with President Biden, the USA policy towards Africa shifted. In many areas, President Biden has reversed the previous president’s decisions. The likelihood, Mr. Joe Biden, will reverse the Africa decision as well. Nonetheless, while the USA was not around, the gap, roughly filled by Russia and China. These two superpowers have been active in Africa for so long, but they boosted their operations for nearly half-decade.

Russia’s military impact on the continental has been growing for a couple of years. Africa is the third-biggest customer of Russian arms. Moreover, in the last two decades, Moscow has managed to deepen its connection with Africa and became the most significant arms supplier on the Continent [1]. Furthermore, The Russian private military contractor Wagner is, considered to be, active throughout the African Continent. In terms of Diplomacy, Russia has been conducted very active traffic and built Soviet-type relationships across Africa. Russia has a large network of embassies and consulates in Africa. It consists of more than forty operational missions, and these missions are subordinate to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

China’s growing existence in Africa is the gospel truth. China’s popularity is expanding strategically. Government to Government relations and economic forums has been conducting continuously for more than a decade. China’s economic aid announcements and job creation opportunities have helped China to gain more influence on the African States. China has been actively engaged in defence and construction efforts, infrastructure projects linked to the Belt and Road Initiative, and peace and security operations in the Continent. Militarily, China also has a military base in Djibouti, which has 1,000-2,000 Navy Personnel.

Predictably, Africa will play a crucial role in the international system in the forthcoming years. The likelihood, especially in the new era of great-power competition, these superpowers will rally for their prestige in Africa. Moreover, the USA, as Presidents Biden, is back. Unexpectedly, the United States will not avoid from the competition for Africa. Quite the opposite, growing Russian and Chinese operations on the Continent will bring new plans, approaches and strategies to the U. S’s policy on Africa.

However, the U.S. might need a partner in this regard. Herein, it’s important to praise Turkey’s effort on Turkey-Africa relations. As a dominant power in its region, with the strong and technologically advanced army force, Turkey stabilises its territory’s vast domain, becomes the protector of NATO’s mission, and provides security to Europe. Furthermore, Turkey’s soft power is expanding across the globe, including Africa. Turkey has an Africa Partnership Policy that aims to contribute to the unity, security, economic and social growth of the Continent [2]. In this regard, Government level visits play an important role. Moreover, the number of Turkey’s Embassies in Africa increased to 43 as of now. Along with Embassies, Turkey’s activities in the Continent have become further prevalent with TIKA, the Disaster and Emergency Management, Yunus Emre Institute, the Turkish Maarif Foundation, the Turkish Religious Foundation, Anadolu Agency and Turkish Airlines (THY)[3]. Additively, Turkey strengthened its economic ties along with Turkey-Africa Partnership Summits and holds strong relations with the African Union.

Turkey-United States relations have become tense in recent years. Especially, Turkey’s purchase of the Russian made S400 missile defence system, Turkey’s expelled from the F-35 Air Fighter program, and the ensuing U.S. sanctions on Turkey has had a colossal impact on the relations. However, the Biden administration embraces strong alliance ties, which can refresh Turkey-United States’ relations. Furthermore, as a growing regional power in Africa, Turkey and the USA can cooperate on common interest and covered areas. This new narrative can bring reformist changes in the nature of the relationship.


[1] https://www.dw.com/en/russian-arms-exports-to-africa-moscows-long-term-strategy/a-53596471

[2] The objective is to contribute to the unity, security, economic and social growth of the Continent.

[3] ibid

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Berk Can Kozan

He achieved his BA Degree from the Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus and obtained his MA degree from University of Pécs in Hungary. His main research fields concern on nuclear deterrence, international security and foreign policy issues, international relations’ theories, and internal/external affairs of Turkey. Currently, he is a third year PhD student at the National University of Public Service in Hungary.
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