This paper asks why the United States (US), China and the European Union (EU) have intervened in a number of armed conflicts in Africa in the twenty-first century. Scrutiny and comparison of the motivations and interests of the three non-African actors in intervening in African crises are assumed to contribute to understanding the changing geopolitical environment and the current conditions for conflict management in Africa. The focus is not on trade and aid. The paper launches the hypothesis that the explanations why the US, China and the EU have intervened are basically identical. In spite of different evaluations of the specific crisis situations, the interventions have been about taking care of the ‘national interest’ of each of the three non-African actors. National interest is defined as either ‘hard core’ (security) or ‘core’ concerns (security and economic wealth).