China’s Palace Diplomacy in Africa

published 25.06.2020 09:45

by Joshua Meservey from

Posh government buildings gleaming in the midst of the world’s poorest countries are part of what I call China’s “palace diplomacy,” the decades-long cultivation of senior African leaders that has been hugely successful.

This unpleasant reality should spark a rethink of the U.S. approach towards Africa if it wishes to better compete with an aggressive Chinese government that sees African countries as critical sources of support.

Last year, many African countries supported the Chinese candidate to head the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in a vote he easily won over the U.S. supported aspirant, and cast 30 of the 79 “yes” votes to pass a controversial Russia and China-backed U.N. cyber crime resolution opposed by the United States and many European countries.

A number of African governments resisted public calls to evacuate their nationals from China at the height of its COVID-19 outbreak, giving the Chinese Communist Party much-needed support for its campaign to convince the world that it was effectively battling the pandemic.

As Washington battles Beijing’s increasingly aggressive international agenda, the large, dependable bloc of African support that China enjoys will remain a competitive advantage for the Chinese Communist Party.