Increasing energy security in importing countries, while creating sustainable development in exporting countries: The case of international energy relations between the EU, China and Sub-Sahara Africa

Hosh M. K. Farah

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this thesis is to map the international trade in energy, and more specifically examine the strategic policy directions of the EU and China, in their resource endowments in SSA, while taking into account the consequences that their strategies are having on SSA. The thesis offers an understanding of the intertwined policies as well as the means and methods utilized in the quest to increase energy security. The analysis is conducted both at a theoretical and an applied level, in order to further the understanding of the consequences arriving from the different policy directions, as a result the research is both descriptive and explanatory in nature. The main findings are: That the power of the EU in relation to SSA has decreased relative to the power of China. The EU has been unable to exercise the same influence negotiating bilaterally, compared to the influence formerly applied under free market competition and through institutions, because of fragmented coherence between national and supranational energy agendas, and between IOCs and government institutions. China has by offering bilateral deals, without “political” strings attached been able to increase its supply from the region, but their tie-inn arrangements, are fostering negative backlashes, because of negative social consequences. In order to capitalize on the energy trade the SSA countries have to shift focus from a heavy reliance on resource intensive exports, towards a promotion of a more long-term sustainable labor intensive export. This can be done by implementing macroeconomic and interventionist policies that increase investments in other industries than resource intensive. To a larger extend, the EU and China, have to incorporate socio-economic variables into their energy strategies, creating a more solid foundation for increased social cohesion in the exporting countries, hereby raising their own supply security. The originality of this study is based on filling the gap between energy security and the creation of sustainable development. The EU has to find a new way of balancing a prioritization of its external energy policy with a more focused policy agenda on development. At the same time China needs to take into consideration the long term sustainability of their strategy, by reevaluating the impact their tie-inn arrangements have on the level of energy security. SSA countries have to increase their understanding of the workings of the Chinese and European resource endowment strategies, and use the opportunities that exist in the trade off, while at the same time trying to minimize the harmful consequences.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages104