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Chinese Security Firms Spread along the African Belt and Road

Author:  Paul Nantulya

Affiliation: Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS)

Organization/Publisher: ACSS

Date/Place: June 15, 2021/USA

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 2366

Link: https://africacenter.org/spotlight/chinese-security-firms-spread-african-belt-road/ 

Keywords: China, Africa, Security Firms, Belt and Road

Brief:

The increase and spread of unregulated Chinese security in Africa is problematic to African security and citizens. Since 2012, African countries have been marked as one of the highest-risk places to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). To secure its investments within the BRI, China has relied on its own overseas security firms. China’s security firms have brought contractors who are ex-PLA (People’s Liberation Army) and People’s Armed Police. As security firms are increasingly used to secure the Chinese’ state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the human rights violations and local governments’ security role are undermined. In many cases, there have been security breaches against African civilians, as the same contractors have illegally trained some local companies. The role of contractors within the Chinese firms has become opaque and non-transparent. Subsequently, a robust regulatory process in Africa must prioritize and secure African citizens. The push for transparency and oversight of Chinese security firms has broadly come from civil society groups in Africa. Most of these groups have focused on extractive activities where Chinese SOEs and security contracting are visible. Due to the social groups’ activities, strategic litigation quickly emerged with the awareness around the opaque role of SOEs and security firms. Finally, Africans are likely to see the role of the Chinese in Africa as negative. Thus, the African Union along with African governments need to assess the foreign security role of Chinese security firms in Africa.

 

By: Imad Atoui, CIGA Research Associate

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