To say that China is deploying treasures of diplomacy in Africa to assert itself as the central partner of African states would still be an understatement. If part of the Chinese diplomatic effort is concentrated in the Indo-Pacific zone along the “New Silk Roads”, the effort carried out in Africa is unprecedented, and aims no more no less than to replace the role predominantly of the former colonial powers in these countries. Chinese strategy on this continent is based on a series of loans at preferential rates, economic partnerships, political support and economic aids, to the point where it now exceeds the weight of Europeans and the United States. And of course, this is accompanied by offers to modernize defense equipments, Africa representing an important export outlet for Chinese defense companies.
Thus, Nigeria, which armed forces are still facing repeated attacks by Boko Haram, has just received from China about fifteen new new armored vehicles composed of heavy VT4 combat tanks, 105mm SH5 self-propelled guns and tank destroyers SH1 arrived at the port of Tican in Lagos at the beginning of April. The order for the armored vehicles has so far not been the subject of any official announcement, and the Nigerian authorities have confined themselves to declaring that the armored vehicles will rejoin their assignment units, and that the personnel expected to use them will be dispatched in China to receive the necessary training. The amount and overall composition of the order placed by Lagos with the Chinese group Norinco is therefore unknown, but it is very unlikely that the country's armed forces will deploy a force of only a few units of each of these armored vehicles.
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