PoliticsThe US strategy to get closer to Africa and away from China...

    The US strategy to get closer to Africa and away from China and Russia

    First it was the US Secretary of State who made a trip to Africa, now it is the vice president’s turn and later in the year the visit of President Joe Biden himself is expected.

    This flurry of visits by the highest US government officials reflects the growing awareness that the US needs to deepen its relations with the continent.

    All this happens within the framework of increased competition from other global powers, especially China and Russia.

    Vice President Kamala Harris kicked off her nine-day tour in Ghana this weekend, with subsequent visits to Tanzania and then Zambia.

    Ghana, which is focused on strengthening ties with the African diaspora and also maintaining its record of several peaceful and democratic shifts of power, represents the ideal platform for Harris.

    His trip, according to an official statement, is made with a view to “building on” the US-Africa summit held in December in Washington, where President Joe Biden declared that the United States was going “with everything in the future of Africa.” .

    But it is that future, fueled by a young and growing population as well as the continent’s immense natural resources, that has attracted a number of other powerful nations vying for influence.

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    While Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s visit to Ethiopia and Niger focused on the security issues of these countries, the vice president’s tour will take her to nations facing serious economic difficulties.

    Ghana’s once prosperous economy is undergoing its most difficult financial crisis in decades.

    The country is looking to restructure its debt amid inflation of more than 50%. Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta was just in Beijing, heading up negotiations with the Chinese government.

    “So far, the meetings in China are positive and encouraging,” the finance minister wrote on Twitter, expressing optimism that he would secure foreign guarantees “very soon”.

    The guarantees are necessary to have access to financial support from the International Monetary Fund, IMF.

    It’s unclear what kind of help, if any, Harris could offer, but the US will be under pressure to act as a ready and willing partner ahead of Ofori-Atta’s visit to China.

    University of Ghana economist and finance professor Godfred Alufar Bokpin does not believe the visit will pay “immediate dividends” in helping alleviate the country’s economic woes.

    “Having China on board is tricky,” he said, noting that Harris’s visit was “very important” to Ghana as it “takes our relationship with the United States to another level.”

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    The economist told the BBC that the interest the US is showing in the country and its credit crisis “is good” but is concerned about what he described as “unfavorable trading conditions”with creditor nations.

    Zambia is in a situation similar to that of Ghana.

    The copper-rich nation was the first African country to default on its debt when the covid pandemic hit.

    It is in lengthy discussions with China to restructure its debt and has also requested IMF support.

    The Reuters news agency quoted a senior US official as saying that Vice President Harris “will discuss the best ways in which the international community could address the credit difficulties facing Ghana and Zambia.”

    Like Professor Bokpin, Zambian analyst Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa believes that China wields more influence when it comes to debt restructuring. Although the US wants to project itself as a more reliable partner.

    There is a growing feeling on the continent that Africa should be free to choose its relations with the rest of the world.

    Zambia views the United States the same way it views China and Russia: as a friend.“Dr Sishuwa explained to the BBC.

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    “When a country seeks support from China, or Russia, or the US, that should not be interpreted as snubbing one or the other major power bloc.”

    He added that attempts to seek exclusive relationships with African countries could prove counterproductive and unsustainable.

    That is an echo of comments South African President Cyril Ramaphosa made during a visit to Washington last year when he said: “No one should tell us who we have to partner with.”

    Senior US officials have told the BBC that they have no intention of telling African countries who they should be friends with.

    However, the US is interested in highlighting its focus on democracy in its relations with African countries, something the vice president is expected to be discussing during her visit.

    Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema is scheduled to co-host a virtual democracy summit with four other leaders, including President Biden, shortly after welcoming Kamala Harris to his country.

    It is one of the principles, hand in hand with human rights and good governance, which according to the US form the basis of its relations with the continent, and which distinguishes it from China and Russia.

    Source: La Opinion

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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