AFRICA POLICY OF THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: PRIORITIES AND CHALLENGES
Since the early 2000s, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been paying special attention to the development of political and economic ties with African countries. Fundamentally, Africa policy of the UAE has come to reflect imperatives of external and internal security (e.g. countering Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood movement, ensuring food security) and commercial interests of the ruling elite (servicing trade and financial flows between East, West and South). Economic cooperation between the UAE and Africa is already comparable in scale with that of other major partners of the continent – European countries, China, India, and the United States. For some countries in Africa, the UAE has become a leading trading partner. The UAE also increasingly began to act as a direct investor in Africa. Transport, port infrastructure, airports, telecommunications and tourism have become the main areas of application of Emirati investments. The UAE also developed military ties with
Africa. In particular, the UAE engaged in military construction on the Red Sea and in the Gulf of Aden and also intervened in the conflict in Libya. Africa policy of the UAE is characterized by a bold combination of economic and military-political cooperation. The intensive use of mechanisms of soft and hard power by the UAE in Africa has dramatically strengthened the position of Abu Dhabi on the continent, but has also significantly increased political risks as the country has become entangled in Africa’s conflicts and domestic politics.