Author: Asteris Huliaras.
Journalists, academics and politicians portray the European Union and China as unitary actors that follow coherent strategies towards ‘Africa’. These perceptions help in turn to sustain a discourse of geopolitical competition: the EU and China are presented as bitter rivals of a new ‘Cold War’. This ‘new scramble for Africa’ narrative is an illusion. Despite official declarations, Brussels’ ties with ‘Africa’ are only a small part of a complex web of relationships. Moreover, China’s presence in Africa is far less monolithic than outside observers assume. However, these flawed perceptions are quite persistent because they serve the ambitions and interests of governing elites.