Strengthen African security capacity serves global interests

By He Wenping
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, January 21, 2015
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The building of a rapid response force would contribute to the overall peacekeeping ability of Africa. In recent years, Africa's development and revival has encountered a series of new impacts and challenges, the most important one in the peace and security field. With the Cote d'Ivoire civil war, South Sudan independence, Libyan war, turbulence in North Africa, crisis in Mali, Algeria hostage crisis, spread of terrorist activities, turmoil in the Central African Republic and conflict in South Sudan, the African situation has gone through complex and profound change. Although in 2003 the African Union announced a roadmap to create five sub-regional rapid response forces in north, east, west, central and south Africa respectively, and on that basis form the African rapid response force in 2010, due to a shortage of money and military assets, progress has been slow and off-track in establishing sub-regional forces, so the African Union had to delay the full operation of its rapid response force to 2015. Such a situation has constrained the African Union's ability to effectively deal with various security crises and is not providing strong support to the idea of “resolving African problems in an African way by African people,” advocated and insisted upon by African countries.

Further, improved security capability will bring about a better investment environment, serving the interests of all countries investing in Africa and the maintenance of world peace and security. In recent years, with turbulence in North African countries and the negative spillover effects of the civil war in Libya, terrorist attacks have expanded and spread across Africa. The victims of the Algeria natural gas field hostage in early 2013 and the Nairobi Westgate Mall attack in September the same year were mostly citizens of Western countries. As the three major radical Islamic organizations (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Al-Shabaab in Somalia and Nigeria's Boko Haram) move towards cooperation, the focus of anti-Jihad and anti-terror operations has started to shift to Africa. The global war on terrorism led by the US is also in need of an African rapid response force.

Besides, given the fact that over 90% of African Union's peace and security operations depend on financial support from the EU and US, increased Chinese support represents an action by a responsible big country to share the fiscal burden of EU and US. In this connection, it would be logical if the Western media cheers the move.

Improving Africa's security capacity is a desire shared in the international community to serve both African and global interests. The prediction of a new conflict between China and the US seems a bit extreme.

He Wenping is a Research Fellow at the Charhar Institute and a Research Fellow at the West Asia and Africa Studies Institute of the China Academy of Social Sciences.

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