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The Rapidly Growing Market for Chinese Private Security Contractors in Africa

The recent kidnapping of three Chinese miners in the southwestern Nigerian state of Osun highlights the vulnerability that confronts the Chinese in many parts of Africa. Chinese companies are well-known for being willing to work in highly volatile regions, even amid civil wars in places like the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Mali among others.

Until recently, Chinese companies opted to not invest in security measures or contracted with international firms like G4S who’ve been active on the continent for many years. That’s now starting to change as Chinese private security contractors see an opportunity to provide protective services to companies all along the Belt and Road including Africa.

“In light of China’s “going out’’ policy, the need to support China’s State-Owned Enterprises that are investing in high-risk areas has expanded the Chinese market for security services,” according to Dr. Alessandro Arduino, Co-Director of the Security & Crisis Management International Centre at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. “Risk assessment and mitigation in the African countries participating in the BRI requires a wide range of security services along both the maritime and land routes,” he added in a recent column written for the China-Africa Research Initiative.

Dr. Arduino joins Eric to discuss the growing market for Chinese protective services in Africa and the risks confronting these security contractors who are operating in new, unfamiliar territory.

Show Notes:

About Dr. Alessandro Arduino:

Dr. Alessandro Arduino is the co-director of the Security & Crisis Management International Centre at the Shanghai Academy of Social Science (SASS-POLITO) and external affiliate at the Lau China Institute, King’s College London. Dr. Arduino’s two decades of experience in China encompasses risk analysis and crisis management. His main research interests include Belt & Road Initiative security, cybersecurity, private military security companies, sovereign wealth funds, China’s political economy in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. He is the author of several books and he has published papers and commentaries in various journals in Italian, English and Chinese languages. Dr. Arduino consults several organizations on security, risk assessment, and mitigation including UNDP, EBRD, and AIG. His latest books are: Securing the Belt and Road Initiative(Palgrave 2018) – China’s Private Army. Protecting the New Silk Road (Palgrave 2017)

He has been appointed Knight of the Order of the Italian Star by the President of the Italian Republic.

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