David E. Brown, a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service who is assigned to the Africa Center for Strategic Studies as senior diplomatic advisor, authored in September 2012 a 128-page monograph titled Hidden Dragon, Crouching Lion: How China's Advance in Africa is Underestimated and Africa's Potential Underappreciated. The Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College published the monograph.
Brown has served with the State Department in four embassies in Africa and as economic officer at the embassy in Beijing and consul general in Chengdu. In addition, he was assigned to the Strategy, Plans and Programs section of AFRICOM in Stuttgart.
The monograph examines China's oil diplomacy, equity investments in strategic minerals, and food policy in Africa. While stated U.S. policy is that Africa should not be seen as a zero-sum game, he argues there are areas where U.S.-China cooperation can help Africa remain elusive, mainly because of Beijing's hyper-mistrust of Washington. The United States could help itself, and Africa, by improving its own economic diplomacy and adequately funding its own soft-power efforts.
The monograph is divided into four parts: the first describes how China is leading other developing countries in expanding aid, trade, and investment with Africa. The second answers five questions: why China chose to expand its economic ties to Africa; why it has been so successful in expanding rapidly; whether new trade credits and development loans are creating a new African debt burden; whether African industrialization will be aided or hindered by China; and what the impact of new, nonstate Chinese actors will be on Africa. The third part addresses the strategic importance to China of its oil, minerals, and agriculture trade with and investments in Africa. The fourth part discusses U.S. responses to China's advance into Africa.
Click here to download a free copy of the monograph.