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Gashaw Jember

Phone: (+61 4) 2211 0189

Start date

Jun 2015

Submission date

Jun 2018

Gashaw Jember


Explaining the geopolitical dynamics of contemporary US engagement in Africa


The end of the Cold War shifted the balance power from a bipolar system to a United States (US) - dominated unipolar system. Although the Pentagon developed a grand strategy to deter rivals from challenging the US, over the past two decades other powers, like the European Union (EU), China, Russia and India slowly become great powers asserting their dominance and challenging US hegemony. The interests of great powers and the effects of great power rivalry are often experienced in developing world regions, such as Africa, where key geo-political, security and economic interests are at stake. At the same time, less powerful states have found collective strength through forming regional organisations, such as African states via the African Union, to help defend regional interests in the face of great power interference.

In these contexts, this thesis will investigate and analyse what the US strategic objectives in contemporary Africa are, how the US faces a challenge from other great powers and African governments when it advances its economic, security and geopolitical interests in Africa, and how this in turn impacts the realisation of US strategic objectives in the continent.

Why my research is important

This project aims to:

(i) Investigate the challenges, constraints, reactions and dynamics of the great powers when they are advancing their strategic objectives in the contemporary developing world. (ii) To identify the US contemporary strategic, economic, security and geopolitical objectives in Africa. (iii) To analyse great powers’ (China, EU and the US) competition in contemporary Africa, and how does this impact the realisation of US strategic objectives. (iv) To understand how African countries as a collective entity under AU leadership can advance Africa for Africans solutions and maintain collective sovereignty, security and cooperation for its members, and how this move impact the realisation of US strategic objectives in the continent.