Most of the world has recently been focused on the events in Ukraine. Analysts and officials from the US and Europe have sharply criticized China's stance, but the view of African countries is quite different. Has China's stance on the Russo-Ukrainian war influenced and influenced the Africans? And do African governments find China's position confusing or contradictory, as some US and European analysts have complained? Some analysts have suggested that Beijing was seeking to strengthen international support for its stance on the war in Ukraine. Maybe, but this was not the main impetus for the latest series of bilateral meetings.
The 11th special session of the United Nations (2 March 2022) ended with a vote approving the non-binding Resolution 377A (V), which reaffirmed the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine and demanded immediate, total and unconditional withdrawal of all Russian armed forces from the territory of Ukraine. According to a Development Reimagined analysis, 51% of African countries voted in favor of the resolution, while the rest abstained or were absent. Eritrea was the only African country to vote against the resolution. While some have suggested that this inconsistent voice is due to the various existing ties between African countries and Russia especially when it comes to mercenary soldiers it is possible that China has influenced African views as well.
Recently, the Chinese authorities held a series of meetings with many African leaders. Some analysts interpret this as a desire to strengthen the Chinese position on the Russo-Ukrainian war. To better understand why the timing and content of these meetings, we must also at the priorities of African leaders in their engagement with China.
Agata Karbowska is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of the Middle and Far East at Jagiellonian University in Krakw, from which she received her Ph.D. in Political Science. She teaches slavery and colonialism in Africa and modern socio-political history of Africa. She has been granted scholarship by the Trkiye Scholarships Evaluation Committee and lectured at the University of stanbul ehir (Center for Modern Turkish Studies). She is author of a number of books and papers in sufism, political Islam, socio-political, religious and cultural problems in MENA. Currently focusing on Africa, especially political Islam in Sub-Saharian Africa.