Many of China’s investments in Africa stem from the need for energy resources. However, a new report from Brookings Institution suggests that China’s energy supplies are unstable compared to the stability that countries such as America enjoy. For example, the recent turmoil seen in Libya (which supplied 3% of China’s crude oil in 2010) and the political unrest seen in the Middle East (which supplied 46% of China’s crude oil in 2010), have both highlighted the possible volatility of supply that China could face.
As consumption of oil continues to increase within China, the greater demand puts pressure on Chinese authorities to invest in stable oil supplies. Chinese researchers have pinpointed the Arctic, which contains an estimated 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil, as a possible option for investment.
As a result, China’s investment in Africa’s energy resources could continue to decrease, as they have done over the past four years. In 2006, 32% of China’s supply of oil was exported from Africa, and in 2010 this amount decreased to 22%. With the recent political upheaval within Africa, it seems inevitable that this percentage will continue to fall, and China’s dependence on African oil will decrease.