Forum on Asia/Africa Relations in Global Security

This forum is part of the "Economic Change and Emerging Asia-Africa Interactions" lecture series.

Thursday, May 08, 2014
1:30 PM
11360 Young Research Library (UCLA)
Los Angeles, CA 90095

The last two decades have witnessed a shift in the cultural, political and economic geographies of Africa and Asia. The changing relations between the countries and the people of the two continents are among the most visible and striking evidence of the move from a unipolar to a multipolar world. UCLA’s African Studies Center and Asia Institute are joining forces to invite speakers with deep knowledge of both continents and their interactions to explore the topic of “Economic Change and Emerging Asia-Africa Interactions”. The series will ask how we can understand the growing ties between Africa and Asia from vantage points that do not start from or converge on US and Europe. The series will consider both “top-down” relations – international relations, government policies and corporate relations – and “bottom-up” relations, or how ordinary citizens are experiencing and responding to the growing presence of Asia in Africa and of Africa in Asia.

Program Schedule  

1:30 pm: Welcome, Francoise Lionnet and Bin Wong

1:35 pm: Introduction to the series, Edmond Keller


1:40 pm: Presentations

1:40 pm – 2:15 pm:  Murrell Brooks, The Foreign Policies of Emerging Powers in Africa: Turkey and Iran

2:15 pm – 2:50 pm:  Zachariah Mampilly, India’s Rise and the Performance of UN Peacekeepers in Africa


2:50 pm – 3:15 pm:  Q&A, moderated by Professor Keller


3:15 pm – 3:40 pm: Afternoon tea break

3:40 pm – 4:15 pm:  Donovan Chau, Africa and Asia in Global Security: The Cyber Dimension

4:15 pm – 4:50 pm:  Aaron Tesfaye, The long-term perspective – a review of China/Ethiopia Relations


4:50 pm – 5:15 pm:  Q&A session, moderated by Edmond Keller


5:15 pm:  Closing remarks – Edmond Keller


Paper Descriptions

"The Foreign Policies of Emerging Powers in Africa: Turkey and Iran"

Murrell Brooks

Virginia Wesleyan College

Abstract: Studies on the role of emerging powers in Africa have gained increasing popularity during the past decade to the extent that the analysis of ‘emerging powers’ has become a sub-field in itself.  Studies that have emerged from this sub-field has offered comparative perspectives on the ways in which second and third tier states have developed power positions on the African continent and with national governments.   However, a major weakness of these studies is that most of the analyses have centered on countries like India, China, Brazil, Russia and South Africa, while the scope of emerging powers in African is quite diverse.  This paper seeks to broaden the discussion on the role of emerging power in Africa by comparing the foreign policy approaches of Iran and Turkey in Africa. The paper will examine the foreign policy behavior of Iran and Turkey, comparing them along three dimensions: foreign policy approach, mode of policy transmission, and their historical evolution.  The paper contends that Iran employs an Anti-Systemic Cooperative posture in Africa, while Turkey employs a Cooperative-Modernist approach to its foreign policy in Africa. This research argues further that theoretical and conceptual development of the foreign policies of emerging powers in Africa will advance as more empirical case studies on the states involved in Africa emerge.

“India's Rise and the Performance of UN Peacekeepers in Africa”

Zachariah Mampilly

Vassar College

Co-sponsored by the Center for India and South Asia

Abstract: Does India’s rise on to the global stage have implications for the performance of United Nations Peacekeeping missions in Africa? India has long ranked among the most important contributors of troops to UN missions in Africa and beyond. Yet, few studies have sought to understand how India’s shifting position affects the performance of peacekeepers in Africa. This paper traces India’s involvement in African peacekeeping to the cold war and the rise of Third Worldism during which the country was content to provide troops without influencing the nature of their mandate on the ground. As India has risen in global standing, it appears less comfortable in contributing troops for UN peacekeeping without a say in designing the mandate of the missions. By examining the performance of Indian peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo before and after India’s ascension to a seat on the United Nations Security Council, this talk will address how a rising India has sought to reconfigure the relationship between troop contributing countries and those that pay for the missions, often with negative effects on peacekeeping performance. Drawing on interviews in DRC and India, I argue that the 2011 Security Council debate over intervening in Libya set the stage for India to register its disagreement with the current arrangement, leading to the reduced performance of the UN mission in DRC. 

Africa and Asia in Global Security: The Cyber Dimension”

Donovan Chau

California State University, San Bernardino

Abstract: Cyberspace is recognized now as a great domain of human and, therefore, political interaction. Its strategic role, however, remains uncertain and unclear in international politics. Nation-states have been attempting to address the real and perceived threats emanating from the development of this twenty-first century technological enabler. The pervasiveness of information and communications technologies around the world, particularly in Asia and Africa, has also caused nation-states to develop policies and plans to deal with cyber insecurity. Considering economic change and emerging interactions, does Asia or Africa pose a greater threat to global security in cyberspace, and why? In a globalized economic world, cyber insecurity in one region may adversely affect the politics and economics of another. In order to prepare for these global security challenges, it is important to consider the extent to which Asia or Africa poses a greater cyber threat to the world.

“The long-term perspective – a review of China/Ethiopia relations”

Aaron Tesfaye

William Paterson University

Abstract: Since the mid 1990s, China and Ethiopia have had close relations, benefitting both nations. For China, Ethiopia is the hub of African diplomacy as it hones its political and economic relations with the continent and explores markets for its manufactured goods. For Ethiopia, China is a model of a late industrializer. It offers both know-how and resources as Ethiopia’s leaders undertake to transform the ancient polity into a dynamic economy. But this reciprocal relationship is not without its problems. This paper argues that in certain economic sectors in Ethiopia, namely in textiles and shoes, the preponderance of Chinese export penetration poses a dilemma for the maturation of Ethiopia’s infant industries and poses a challenge to livelihoods of Ethiopian entrepreneurs.

Pay by space and all day parking is available in lot 3 for $12.

Cost : Free and open to the public

UCLA African Studies Center310-825-3686

Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, Center for Chinese Studies, UCLA International Institute, Asia Pacific Center, Center for India and South Asia, Mellon Postdoctoral Program in the Humanities “Cultures in Transnational Perspective"