The Belt and Road Initiative and China’s Hegemony in Africa

Jean Pierre Cabestan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Since the mid-1990s, Beijing has relaunched its Africa policy, increasing its development assistant, asking Chinese companies to “go out” and multiply infrastructure projects. Yet, Xi Jinping’s more ambitious foreign policy and his signature project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have deepened China’s footprint in Africa. In other words, the BRI has helped elevate China into a hegemonic power in Africa. Since 2018, for a number of reasons—reduced financial resources at home and recipients’ growing and more and more unsustainable debt—, the BRI has been gradually scaled down. In the same period, to regain influence, other Africa’s external partners such as the United States, the European Union (EU) and India, have invested more in their relationship with the continent. Nonetheless, as this article shows, the BRI will carry on and China is likely to remain a crucial partner of Africa, contributing to giving African countries more options, therefore more agency, despite and even thanks to Sino-Western growing tensions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-564
Number of pages21
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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