Africa’s external relations are currently undergoing major changes. Non-traditional state actors like China and India are reviving their ties with African economies and thereby affecting power relations between African states and traditional partners. Meanwhile, high commodity prices and improved credit ratings make external finance available for African governments. This article examines how non-traditional state actors affect the possibility of African governments setting and funding their own development priorities. It argues that while the current situation may increase the policy autonomy for African economies this is largely a consequence of the increased availability of external finance - and not just from non-traditional state actors.