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April 21, 2023

Russian and Chinese Actors in Africa’s Security Landscapes

Event Series: China and the Global South

Showing the Russian and Chinese Actors in Africa’s Security Landscapes Video

Russia’s Wagner Group, a mercenary force, has ramped up their activities in various African countries. China’s Belt and Road Initiative activities and migrants in Africa have resulted in increasing security concerns for Chinese investments and Chinese nationals overseas; one of the responses has been greater presence of Chinese private security companies. African governments are also expanding purchases of Chinese arms. The experts on this panel touched on these and other Russian and Chinese activities, their impacts on African security landscapes, and African leaders’ rationale for choosing to work with these actors.

This event was sponsored by Georgetown University’s Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues and Africa-China Initiative with Howard University’s Center for African Studies.


Alessandro Arduino, an affiliate lecturer at the Lau China Institute, King’s College London, is a renowned expert on security issues related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative and China’s political economy in Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. He is a sought-after consultant for organizations such as United Nations Development Programme, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, NATO, and American International Group (AIG), advising on security, risk assessment, and mitigation. His forthcoming book Money for Mayhem

Elijah N. Munyi is an assistant professor of international relations at the United States International University in Nairobi and currently a visiting fellow at the Geneva Graduate Institute’s Global Health Center. His current research is on Africa’s international economic relations and the nexus between great power competition and African states’ development cooperation and foreign policy. He is co-editor of Beyond History: African Agency in Development, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (2020, with David Mwambari and Aleksi Ylonen).

Paul Nantulya is a research associate at the Africa Center, where he researches and prepares written analysis on contemporary Africa security issues. His areas of expertise include Chinese foreign policy, China-Africa relations, African partnerships with Southeast Asian countries, mediation and peace processes, the Great Lakes region, and East and Southern Africa. Nantulya previously served as a regional technical advisor on South Sudan for Catholic Relief Services, where he supported crisis mitigation for the government of South Sudan.

Marcel Plichta is a Ph.D. candidate in international relations at the University of St. Andrews and a fellow at the Centre for Global Law and Governance. He has written on U.S.-Africa policy and the Wagner Group in Africa for Foreign Policy, Newsweek, and Lawfare. He is a co-author on the forthcoming report “China and Russia in Sudan: Surveying Data on Economic and Military Engagement” for PeaceRep.

Yoon Jung Park (moderator) is the program director of the Africa-China Initiative at Georgetown University. Her research primarily focuses on Chinese migrants in Africa, African perceptions of and responses to the new Chinese migrants, and preliminary impacts of these migrant communities, particularly in South Africa. She is currently a freelance researcher with affiliations at the Sociology Department at Rhodes University (Grahamstown, South Africa) and African Studies Program at Georgetown University.