Enhancing Multidimensional Peace Support Operations (PSOs) Capacities in Africa: Any Role for China?

This study joins the debate around two major developments, within the broad rubric of a burgeoning China Africa cooperation in peace and security, and interrogates China’s contribution in enhancing Africa’s multidimensional PSO capabilities as part of its broader efforts of operationalizing the ASF. Most of the current African PSOs are still considered to be heavy on the military side and lacking in terms of their civilian and police components, in the context of actual African peace operations, and contrary to the initial aspiration of the ASF concept mentioned above. This is despite efforts made in the last 10 years to develop multidimensional PSO capabilities. China’s support to the ASF, is examined in this research, extant and potential, based on an assessment of ongoing efforts at building multi-dimensional PSO capabilities as well as a critical analysis of China’s evolving role in Africa and its comparative advantage in international peacekeeping. In a broader sense, the research sought to address the central question of how China can assist African efforts towards building multi- dimensional PSO capabilities. As one of its main findings, the study observes that ongoing efforts in building multi- dimensional PSO capabilities and ultimately, in fully operationalizing the ASF, are unlikely to succeed without full African ownership and commitment. Whether driven by national interest considerations or underpinned by the concept of “partnership”, a range of bilateral and multilateral donors have lined up to support the ASF. Some of the major external actors providing financial and technical support to the ASF mechanisms, both at the regional or national levels, include the US, Canada, France, the UK, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Japan, the EU and the United Nations (UN).