Energy Interests And Alliances: China, America And Africa

Policy Report | August 24, 2008

EWI this week released a new policy paper arguing for joint action by the United States and China to support the energy security of Africans.

According to conventional wisdom, the United States and China are locked in a high-stakes competition for energy resources around the world, particularly in Africa. Against the backdrop of highly volatile oil prices, mounting concerns about global warming, and Europe’s dependence on Russian energy sources, the mere fact that both the United States and China have an intense interest in Africa leads to the conclusion that they are on a collision course there. This EWI policy paper by Angelica Austin, Danila Bochkarev and Willem van der Geest  argues that energy security can become a rallying point in an otherwise difficult relationship. Despite the visible tensions over China’s involvement in Sudan, China and the United States have far more energy interests in common in Africa than generally assumed. Already, they are cooperating on a number of initiatives, and there is no reason that their energy policies have to be at odds with each other. This is no zero-sum game.