Russia in Africa: Can It Offer an Alternative to The US and China?

Russia in Africa: Can It Offer an Alternative to The US and China?
Russia in Africa: Can It Offer an Alternative to The US and China?

Russia has never had an African colony. It stayed out of the scramble for Africa, only engaging with African states in the 19th Century. In 1869, for instance, the Russians gave Ethiopia military support to threaten the position of the British in their quest to control the Suez Canal. They did this because Britain was one of their main European rivals.

It wasn’t until the Cold War started in 1947 that Russia began to develop diplomatic relations with several African countries. This was a way to counter the influence of its rivals such as the US.

The Cold War dictated the former USSR’s relations with many African countries for decades. This was followed by a period of relative inactivity. But more recently, relations have become increasingly important for Russia as well as some African countries.

The result is that some African countries no longer need to choose between the American and the Chinese way of development.

Ostensibly, China has the most pragmatic engagement with Africa. Its policy is not to interfere with the internal workings of nation states or play geopolitics by pitting countries against each other. But it has become increasingly difficult for the country to resist using its military power to protect its economic interests.

For its part, the US’s ultimate aim is to tip the regional balance of power in its favour while also gaining access to Africa’s resources.

My research explores Russia’s current relationship with the continent. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy is based on to redress the global balance of power by countering America’s influence in Africa and to match China’s large economic footprint on the continent.


Center for Africa Studies (AFRAM) which located in Ankara, is an organization facilitating under the administration of African Affairs Council (AFAC). It makes various researches about Africa to enhance economic and cultural bounds between Africa and Turkey. AFRAM’s publishings has been shared with different institutions as they require to obtain.


Africa Observatory is one the publishing of AFRAM and it has been published each two weeks. It has been delivered to different institutions via e-mail.

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