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CHINA'S AFRICAN OIL SAFARI

Prepared by: Esther Pan
January 17, 2006

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China is increasingly turning to Africa to supply the oil it needs to feed its booming economy. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing is on a six-nation tour in Africa this week to raise China’s profile in the region (Gulf Daily News). The visit comes just days after CNOOC, one of Beijing’s largest state-run energy producers, agreed to buy a stake in Nigeria’s oil industry for $2.3 billion (BBC) and a major Chinese petroleum company began making plans to drill its first exploratory well (AllAfrica.com) in Ethiopia’s Gambella basin. This CFR Background Q&A explores China’s new focus on the continent and its implications. The U.S. Energy Information Administration provides an overview of China’s energy needs, while CFR fellow Princeton Lyman speaks to the U.S.-China Commission on China’s role in Africa. In the Jamestown Foundation’s October 2005 China issue brief, Ian Taylor examines Beijing’s arms and oil interests in Africa and Yitzhak Shichor probes China’s “dominant presence” in Sudan. A CFR Task Force Report examines Africa’s growing strategic importance.

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