The concepts of security and development have always existed, even before the end of the Cold War. However, it was the former United Nations Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali who introduced to the world, the notion of a ‘security-development nexus’. This notion was encouraged by the shift in security concerns. This was a shift from traditional perspective focusing on protecting the interests and borders of the state, to a focus on ensuring the safety of citizens within a state. Such safety included a duty by the state to protect its citizens from chronic threats such as hunger, disease and repression. Moreover, the focus in this notion of a nexus shifted towards protecting citizens from sudden and harmful disruption in the patterns of their daily lives.
This notion of a security-development nexus resulted in the need to appraise the significance of the factors that underpin this fundamental shift in the African context; to conduct an assessment of the understanding and perceptions held about Africa’s approach to this nexus; and to propose some measures which African governments can utilise to sustain the new approach to the security-development nexus, including possible areas of further research.
The study discovered that many African countries are unable to utilise this nexus to their advantage because they face too many intra-state conflicts which they couldn’t control, and they were also underdeveloped. It was then clear that many African countries needed external involvement. As a result, the researcher decided to do assess one of Africa’s biggest partners, China. The purpose was to discover the extent to which an external player’s (China) involvement in African contributes to the strengthening on this security-development nexus in Africa.
The study was carried out following a qualitative research methodology that combines both the descriptive and analytical approaches. The descriptive approach largely draws from the literature studies of primary and secondary sources, and the analytical approach was useful in analysing the extent to which China’s involvement in Africa contributes to the security-development nexus.
The findings confirmed that notwithstanding China’s alleged exploitation and extraction of raw material and natural resources in Africa, they are to a certain extent contributing to the security-development nexus in Africa. The research findings also established that the relationship between China and Africa is a mutual beneficial one. It is not one where China only exploits Africa’s raw material and natural resources. It is based on a give and take partnership. While China provides African countries with development aid, unconditional loans, grants and infrastructure development, China is also gaining in return.
It is therefore clear that a number of factors regarding China’s involvement in Africa needs to be debated and researched before one can conclude that China does not contribute to the security-development nexus in Africa, and also to measure the exact extent to which China contributes to the security-development nexus in Africa.
Mini-Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2015.