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The United States Set on Rebuilding African Partnerships

by Thaabit Kamaar

Photo by [The Guardian]


The second US-Africa Leaders Summit kicked off this week in Washington DC. The Obama administration convened the inaugural meeting in 2014 between the United States and the 49 African Leaders.

The summit aims to boost cooperation, trade and entrepreneurship and repair and strengthen bilateral relations between the US and African nations.

Dr David Monyae, an Associate Professor of Political Sciences and International Relations, said the Biden administration is trying to repair Trump’s “America First” foreign policy with Africa, including its allies in NATO and the EU.

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China’s Presence in Africa

The US views China as their primary global and economic competitor. And as of late, the Chinese have surpassed the US in foreign investments in the African continent.

China has invested substantial amounts in crucial and strategic infrastructures, making considerable political inroads across the continent.

However, the US criticised China’s lending and investments as predatory and death traps for African nations.

Dr Monyae said the US should not concern itself with other global investors and business partners in Africa. Instead, they should look towards competing with nations, such as China and Russia, by boosting their investments and mutual interests in the continent.

“It’s good for Africa if all these countries compete … China might have its own issues, but it’s up to Africans to confront China in their own right without someone supervising that relation.”

What’s in it for Africa?

Dr Monyae said investors and companies from China, the US and the EU come to Africa to maximise their profits. And as such African nations need to adopt a similar mindset and ensure they benefit, demand and take full advantage of their agreements.

One such advantage is the US’s desire to have the African Union as a permanent member of the G20. This notion from the US can be perceived as an indication of the importance of Africa in global affairs.

Dr Monyae thinks African representatives should be at various international organisations, such as the UN Security Council, where critical decisions are made. And not Africa be present for present’s sake.

“At the moment, [the institutions are] undemocratic and illegitimate. The nature of the involvement is not a question of bringing Africans into these institutions if they don’t have veto power. It’s a question of democratisation and normalisation of the institutions of global governance. Involving Africans as equals.”

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