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African Resources and Colliding Geopolitics

The terms “Great Game” or “Tournament of Shadows” in Russia were terms for the strategic rivalry and conflict between the British Empire and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia. The term “The Great Game” is usually attributed to Arthur Conolly (1807–1842), an intelligence officer of the British East India Company’s Sixth Bengal Light Cavalry.[1] It was introduced into mainstream consciousness by British novelist Rudyard Kipling in his novel Kim (1901).

Friedbert Pflüger’s “A New Great Game: The EU, China and the era of energy imperialism” argues that Africa is potentially the site of a ‘new Great Game’ that will ultimately afflict all resourcerich regions of the international system. Jennifer Giroux’s “Africa’s Growing Strategic Relevance”, on the other hand, is more sceptical about the actual intensity of geopolitical competition within Africa. Yes, the West may have vested interests in safeguarding its natural resource supplies from competing demands, but there are other, non-resources-based issues that influence its policies towards the Continent. Finally, Saferworld’s report on “China’s growing role in African peace and security” casts a thoroughly pragmatic eye over China’s activities in Africa. In doing so, the Saferworld argue that Africa could be the site for increased cooperation between global and local stakeholders alike.

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