September 30, 2022

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Africa. The new US strategy (against China)

The new US strategy for Africa seeks to shift attention away from competition between powers and create more structured partnerships with countries on the continent

US Secretary of State, Anthony BlinkenHe is taking the opportunity of his trip to Africa these days to reveal the new strategy of the Biden administration for the continent.

Much is already known about the strategy, also thanks to an informed article by Foreign Policy Which has garnered a lot of attention in recent days. It will address “strengthening democracy, governance and security. Concern for pandemic recovery and economic opportunity; solving the climate crisis and “fair” energy transition for the continent; promoting open societies.”

Put it like that, it’s a comprehensive plan that reinforces the call announced two weeks ago for the big meeting that Joe Biden It plans to bring all African leaders to Washington from December 13 to 15. Add to that the Vice President’s virtual post from 2 weeks ago Kamala Harris At the African American Business Summit in Marrakesh. The trip of the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfieldin Uganda and Ghana; Visit of the Director of the United States Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, in East Africa last month; Well, then the stage of the American push on the issues of the continent becomes clear.

Administration officials say one of the main goals of the new strategy is to increase focus and funding for diplomacy and development, in an effort to forgo military involvement in parts of Africa, particularly the Africa region. The past two decades – with Washington’s foreign policy focused primarily on counter-terrorism.

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There is also a change in National Security Council personnel dealing with Africa that must be emphasized and accompanied by this new African commitment from Washington: Good Devermont (Former Director of CSIS Africa Program, Global Expert on the Continent), who joined the team to contribute to the strategy, is now Director first for African affairs; Dana Bankswho previously held that role, will remain on the National Security Council to oversee the US-Africa leaders summit in December (a sign of how much Washington is interested).

On his African tour, Blinken will cover South Africa, the Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Lately, even the French president, Emmanuel MacronThe Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrovthey made official tours of Africa, attesting to the centrality of the continent in the confrontation between the powers.

A very important topic also for Italy, for example the President of FederPetroli Italia pointed out, Michel Marseillehighlight in note Press how the activities that Russia intends to carry out with some African countries compete with the Italian strategy and risk “destabilizing the energy policy” devised by the Draghi government to replace Moscow with suppliers after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Lavrov was in the Republic of the Congo on July 25, where an Italian government delegation was on a mission at the end of April to talk about new energy supplies.

It also means that it is no coincidence that the new US strategy has now arrived. Washington is trying to thwart Russian and Chinese efforts to bolster its geopolitical weight in Africa. On the other hand, Lavrov’s trip had a clear intention The magic of diplomacyAn attempt to illustrate how the West failed to isolate Moscow from the world stage after the outbreak of the Ukrainian war. At the same time, he intended to free Russia from responsibility for slowing down food supply chains. Reflection is also part of Chinese activities constantly.

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Developing African countries need help and support Suppliers Two factors, they accept this type of narrative out of conviction and pragmatism. The United States and its Western allies often struggle to (re)build certain relationships. And so the reassurance that comes from Russian – or Chinese – propaganda becomes an easy ideological sting. The absence of hesitation on issues of rights abuse by governments such as Russia and China (which claim non-interference as a diplomatic faith) becomes the preferred contact ground for some countries.

Biden administration officials have stressed that they want to avoid classifying African countries in a global competition between the United States and China — and, to a lesser extent, Russia. This is an image in which the Trump administration has justified such commitments as African (albeit smaller than the current one) before it. Circle Addressed only to “America First”. Many local leaders have objected to the kind of simplification that makes Africa a mere competition area.

A diplomatic source from the European Union who has been active for years on African dossiers explains a Formiche.net That this kind of approach may be true: China has been able to penetrate the continent to the sound of investments, especially infrastructure-oriented, which have often overtaken Western investment, but to put the entire African commitment on the simple level of who invests and finances that local leaders do not understand well, The source explains: “African countries want the West to think about partnerships with them that come from the emergency and humanitarian aid model, they want to value their internal human capital, and they hate it being a battleground for power rivalry.”

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