National Security Institute Publishes New NSI Decision Memo: “Will the U.S. Compete with China in Africa?”

December 7, 2021
Contact: John Poulson


National Security Institute Publishes New NSI Decision Memo: “Will the U.S. Compete with China in Africa?”


Arlington, VA –  Today, the National Security Institute (NSI) at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School publishes published its latest NSI Decision Memo, “Will the U.S. Compete with China in Africa?” by Lester Munson, NSI Senior Fellow and former Staff Director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Morgan Viña, NSI Visiting Fellow and former Chief of Staff for International Security Affairs at Department of Defense.  This paper comes ahead of the Biden Administration’s Summit for Democracy being held December 9 – 10, where the administration has opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to democratic development in Africa.


This NSI Decision Memo, which offers an analysis of the benefits of U.S. engagement with Africa, also:


  • Summarizes China’s geopolitical goals in Africa;
  • Evaluates previous U.S. policy in Africa; and
  • Proposes steps the United States can take to counter China’s influence in Africa.


“China’s recent pledge of $10 billion in new trade assistance to Africa builds on decades of strategic investment in the continent, and further highlights the unfocused efforts of the U.S. and its partners,” said John Lipsey, NSI Director of Policy.  “This paper poses a critical question at a key time that policymakers on both sides of the aisle must confront.”


“Sub-Saharan Africa is a geostrategic beehive for Chinese development and defense operations,” said Lester Munson and Morgan Viña.  “The Biden administration is concentrating U.S. foreign and defense policy towards the Indo Pacific, but it needs to play where China is, and that is globally.”


The paper is available here.


Lester Munson’s bio can be found hereMorgan Viña’s bio can be found here.


About the National Security Institute

The National Security Institute serves as a platform for research, teaching, scholarship, and policy development that incorporates a realistic assessment of the threats facing the United States and its allies, as well as an appreciation of the legal and practical challenges facing U.S. intelligence, defense, law enforcement, homeland security, and cybersecurity communities.  NSI draws on the experience of its fellows, as well as its highly distinguished advisory board and faculty, to produce timely research and policy materials that deliver insightful analysis and actionable recommendations to senior policymakers in the White House and key departments and agencies, as well as those on Capitol Hill.


About George Mason

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states.  Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility.


About the Scalia Law School

The Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University is defined by three words: Learn. Challenge. Lead. Students receive an outstanding legal education (Learn), are taught to critically evaluate prevailing orthodoxy and pursue new ideas (Challenge), and, ultimately, are well prepared to distinguish themselves in their chosen fields (Lead).  It has been one of America’s top-ranked law schools for the last fifteen years.