Blinken outlines new US policy for sub-Saharan Africa

The United States released a new Africa policy on Monday to counter the presence of China and Russia in Africa.

The policy launch comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits South Africa, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The new policy, U.S. Policy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, reframes the region’s importance to U.S. national security interests and articulates a new vision for how and with whom the United States engages, while identifying additional areas of interest.

He said the world recognizes the importance of Africa which is driving several engagements on the continent and this “presents new opportunities and challenges for American interests in the region.”

However, China and Russia see the continent as an arena to challenge the rules-based international order and pursue their self-interests, the policy states.

“The People’s Republic of China (PRC), by contrast, sees the region as an important arena for challenging the rules-based international order, advancing its own narrow commercial and geopolitical interests, undermining transparency and openness, and weakening U.S. relations with African peoples and governments,” the policy reads.

On the other hand, Russia views the region as a permissive environment for parastatals and private military companies, often fomenting instability for strategic and financial gain, the report said.

He adds that “Russia is using its security and economic ties, as well as disinformation, to undermine principled African opposition to Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine and human rights abuses. which are connected with it”.

The document indicates that some of the United States’ longstanding approaches have become insufficient to meet new challenges in a more contested and competitive world.

To advance its priorities through the new policy, the United States will employ four goals in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years. These include fostering openness and open societies; provide democratic and security dividends; advancing pandemic recovery and economic opportunity; and conservation, climate adaptation and a just energy transition.

Additionally, “we will expand our commitments, continuing to invest in larger states while deepening our relationships with small and medium African states to advance our shared priorities, including the AU Agenda 2063.”

The United States will likely achieve its goals if African civil society, including journalists and activists, as well as multilateral bodies and democratic institutions, uphold shared democratic values, such as transparency, accountability, diversity, equality and equity, women’s rights and inclusion.

It will also enhance Diaspora Engagement to strengthen dialogue between U.S. officials and the Diaspora in the United States and support the United Nations Permanent Forum for People of African Descent.

“The United States will leverage all of our diplomatic, development, and defense capabilities, strengthen our commercial and trade ties, focus on digital ecosystems, and rebalance toward urban hubs, to support these goals,” he said. he declares.

China has become the darling of many African countries with massive infrastructure projects and low-interest loans, all of which have helped increase Chinese influence on the continent.

In Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, Chinese loans are being used to finance huge rail and road projects, most of which are also being built by Chinese companies.

Russian influence on the continent manifested itself when most African countries refused to outright condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine or support sanctions against Russia for the invasion.

Russian private military contractors, including the famous Wagner Group, are also active in many African countries, including the Central African Republic and Mali.

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