Recently China has experienced high economic growth and increased urbanisation. At the same time, it has become known as the ‘factory of the world’. This puts pressure on scarce domestic natural resources which are essential for powering China’s growing economy. Consequently, China is increasingly engaging with low income countries to ensure access to overseas natural resources, such as energy resources. In search of affordable oil resources, China turns to Africa.
Today, China is Africa’s third largest commercial partner after the USA and France. In recent years, about 30–40 per cent of Chinese crude oil imports were drawn from African oil-producing countries such as Sudan, Angola and Nigeria. This paper aims to assess the channels of engagement, motives, actors, beneficiaries and the direct and indirect impacts of China’ engagement in the oil sector in Africa. The authors use the ‘Rising Powers Framework’ for assessing these issues and to elaborate the links to trade, investments and aid.