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The monthly bulletin of LEAP (European Laboratory of Political Anticipation) - 15 Feb 2024

Chinese investments in North Africa and the Middle East: A shift in the centre of gravity

Egypt lies at the crossroads of trade routes, providing a link between two major regions: North Africa and the Arab countries. This strategic geographical position puts Egypt, in North Africa, in direct contact with the Middle East, while at the same time bordering one of the world’s most important shipping routes, the Suez Canal. These characteristics make it an ideal location for Chinese investment, as the country seeks to play an increasingly important role in these two highly topical regions.

The need to secure maritime transport through the Suez Canal, which is regularly attacked and faces increasing difficulties in the context of the conflict with the Houthis[1], accentuates the importance of this strategic location. What’s more, the conflict between Israel and Palestine could compromise the balance that Beijing is helping to establish in regions that are vital to the smooth running of world trade. Another trend that is facilitating these investments is the decline in American influence in the Gulf States and European influence in North Africa, allowing Chinese interests and capital to gain a firmer foothold. Finally, since 1 January, Egypt has been a member of the BRICS+[2], further strengthening its role on the world stage.

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