China deepens defence engagement in Africa

03 July 2018

The HAIC K-8 Karakorum trainer, one of China’s most popular export products in Africa, has been exported to countries including Egypt, Ghana, Namibia, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Source: Unknown authorship

Key Points

  • Chinese defence industry agency says it has engagement with 45 African states
  • Defence exports on the rise but related industrial collaboration remains limited

China has outlined the expansive scope of its defence trade and technical ties with countries in Africa and stated a commitment to deepen this engagement over the coming decade and beyond.

China’s State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) – the country’s lead defence industrial agency – said on 29 June that China has established “defence industry, science, and technology” ties with 45 African nations.

SASTIND added that it wanted to expand this collaboration further over the coming few years in order to support the military development of African states and build strategic ties between China and regional countries. According to the United Nations, there are 54 African countries.

“China–Africa co-operation is increasingly close, the scope of co-operation is expanding, and the level of co-operation continues to improve,” said Zhang Kejian, the deputy director of SASTIND at the first China–Africa Defense, Security Forum in Beijing in late June. “China is willing to continue to support African countries in strengthening national defence forces.”

In comments published by SASTIND, Zhang added that going forward China will look to expand opportunities for collaboration with African countries across military and dual-application technologies and capabilities.

“We will deepen co-operation between China and Africa in the field of military–civilian integration,” he said in reference to China’s long-standing policy to leverage dual-use technologies.

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