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Challenging Pax Americana: The Commercial Imperative in Chinese Arms Exports To Africa – a Case Study of Uganda and Kenya

Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) soldiers take part in a parade during the 39th Tarehe Sita Military anniversary in Nakaseke district, central Uganda, Feb. 6, 2020 (Xinhua/Hajarah Nalwadda)

Professor Elijah N. Munyi from United States International University in Nairobi is a leading scholar in U.S.-Africa policy, with particular expertise in military relations. Professor Munyi published a working paper this week that coincided with his participation in the China-Africa Research Initiative’s annual conference that focused this year on security-related issues.

Why are African states shifting their military procurement from traditional suppliers (the West and Russia) in preference of Chinese arms? This article seeks to use Kenya and Uganda as case studies to explore their military procurement priorities and to examine whether or not the growing preference for Chinese arms will affect their relations with the U.S. The research finds that, although these countries view U.S. military hardware as the gold standard, the higher costs associated with comparable U.S. hardware and the protracted and sometimes intrusive US. oversight processes make Chinese arms more attractive.

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