• Leonid L. Fituni Russian Academy of Sciences


The article exposes the regional context of geostrategic rivalry between the United States and China in Northeast Africa (NEA) against the backdrop of the emerging formation of a new bipolar world order and the messianic ambitions of the superpowers. The author predicts a significant increase in NEA’s geo-economic and strategic importance, due to the dominant vectors of global development and aspects of national interests of each of their superpowers. The article offers a detailed analysis of the evolution of NEA’s confessional space through the last 50 years and of the role of religious factors in the superpower rivalry in the region. The author arrives to the conclusion that the ruling, business and religious elites of the region have taken a wait-and-see attitude in the battle unfolding between the superpowers and do not want to unambiguously associate themselves with either side.

Keywords: bipolar rivarly, confessional landscape, elites, sanctions


Abramova Irina, Fituni Leonid, The African Segment of Multipolar World: Dynamics of Geostrategic Significancy, Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, Vol. 62, No. 12, 2018.

African Futures 2050, Institute for Security Studies, Johannesburg, 2011.

Bolton John R., “Remarks by National Security Advisor Ambassador John R. Bolton on the Trump Administration’s New Africa Strategy”, The White House, 2018. Available at:, (date accessed: 25.11.2020).

Brooks David, “America Is Having a Moral Convulsion”, The Atlantic, October 5, 2020.

Brown Davis & James Patrick, Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project - Demographics v. 2.0 (RCS-Dem 2.0), COUNTRIES ONLY, February 10, 2019.

CEBR, World Economic League Table 2021, December 2020, 12th edition. Available at:, (date accessed: 31.12.2020).

China Statistical Yearbook 2018, National Bureau of Statistics. Available at:, (date accessed 31.12.2020).

China's Belt and Road Initiative and Building the Community of Common Destiny, Wang L. & Zhao J. (eds.), Social Sciences Academic Press. Beijing, 2019.

Dmitriev Ruslan and Gorokhov Stanislav, Geostrategic Competition of Non-State Actors in Africa: The Roman Catholic Church in the Fight for the ‘Continent of Hope’, Journal of the Institute for African Studies, Vol. 49, No. 4, 2019.

Engelhardt Tom, “The End of the American Century”, The Nation, June 19, 2020 .

McBrearty Sally, Brooks Alison A., The revolution that wasn't: A new interpretation of the origin of modern human behavior, Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 39, No. 5, 2000.

Mineral Commodity Summaries, January 2020, available at:, (date accessed: 31.12.2020).

Niall Ferguson, “Team ‘Chimerica’”, The Washington Post, November 17, 2008.

Niall Ferguson, “What ‘Chimerica’ Hath Wrought”, The American Interest, January-February, 2009.

Packer George, The Unwinding: Thirty Years of American Decline, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. New York, 2013.

Ploch Lauren, Countering Terrorism in East Africa: The U.S. Response, CRS Report for Congress, 2010. Available at:, (date accessed: 31.12.2020).

Sahle Yonatan, Hutchings W. Karl, Braun David R., Sealy Judith C., Morgan Leah E., Negash Agazi, Atnafu Balemwal, Earliest Stone-Tipped Projectiles from the Ethiopian Rift Date to >279,000 Years Ago, PLoS ONE, Vol. 8, No. 11, 2013.

Scerri Eleanor M. L., Thomas Mark G., Manica Andrea, Gunz Philipp, Stock Jay T., Stringer Chris, Grove Matt, Groucutt Huw S., Timmermann Axel, Rightmire Philip G., d’Errico Francesco, Did Our Species Evolve in Subdivided Populations across Africa, and Why Does It Matter?, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Vol. 33, No. 8, 2018.

Slack John F., Kimball Bryn E., Shedd Kim B., “Critical Mineral Resources of the United States – Economic and Environmental Geology and Prospects for Future Supply”, U.S. Geological Survey Professional Professional Paper No. 1802-F, 2017.

Yi Wang, Work Together to Create a Community of Shared Future for Mankind,, (date accessed: 31.12.2020)

“Xinhua China sets up base in Djibouti”, 2017. Available at:, (date accessed: 31.12.2020)

Zakharov Ivan, The Role of Christian Churches in Geo-Economical and Geopolitical Rivalry of European Nations in Africa: 20th – 21st Centuries, Journal of the Institute for African Studies, Vol. 49, No, 4, 2019.

“2020 Evidence Summit on Strategic Religious Engagement”, USAID, available at:, (date accessed: 31.12.2020).

“Final Report and Recommendations of the Senior Study Group on Peace and Security in the Red Sea Arena”, available at:, (date accessed: 31.12.2020)

“Organizational Directory”, U.S. Department of State, Global Information Services A/GIS, 2/5/2021. Available at:, (date accessed: 31.12.2020).

“Statement of General Stephen J. Townsend, United States Army Commander United States Africa Command before the Senate Armed Services Committee”, AFRICOM, 30 January 2020. Available at:, (date accessed: 31.12.2020).

“The Chinese Communist Party’s Ideology and Global Ambitions”, remarks delivered by National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien on June 24, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. Available at:, (date accessed: 31.12.2020).