African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 400

Full Length Research Paper

Preference over outcomes: Explaining US-Sino oil diplomacy in Sub-Saharan Africa

  Fanie Herman* and Tsai Ming-Yen  
National ChungHsin University, Graduate Institute of International Politics, 250 Guo Kuang Street, Taichung City, Taiwan, ROC.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 23 May 2011
  •  Published: 31 August 2011



The start of the twenty first century signaled a new beginning for the United States and China in their quest for oil diplomacy with African oil producing countries. One of the characteristics of this venture is the difference in approach both countries follow to attain this natural resource. This research work, therefore, examines the diplomatic measures of the US and China in their negotiations with oil producing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, hereafter referred to as (SSA). In particular, the results they expect or the preferences over outcomes are analyzed. It is not the intention of the study to present a comparative analysis of US and Chinese import figures or to look at their reciprocal relationship. The question is what strategic choices do the US and China make in their interaction with oil producing countries and in what way does such interaction shape oil diplomacy? An important finding is that the US and China develop different strategic paths and policy frameworks which strengthen the assumption that the two countries compete for SSA oil. Along these lines, the study investigates the oil diplomacy of the US and China in SSA using the strategic-choice approach as an analytical framework.


Key words: Oil diplomacy, US-Sino oil security, sub Saharan Africa, strategic-choice, competition and cooperation.