The RAND Corporation has just released an excellent 173 page report titled "Chinese Engagement in Africa: Drivers, Reactions, and Implications for U.S. Policy" by Larry Hanauer and Lyle Morris. It is available on-line free of charge. I had an opportunity to comment extensively on an early draft.
It concludes that China has four overarching strategic interests in Africa: access to natural resources, particularly oil and gas; markets for Chinese exports; political legitimacy; and sufficient security and stability to continue its commercial activities. It identifies the positive and negative impacts of Chinese engagement in Africa, the African perception of this engagement, and China's reaction to African perceptions. It suggests implications for U.S. policy and offers a series of recommendations.
This is a must read for anyone interested in this topic.