US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that the United States sees Africa as a “geopolitical superpower” that can bring tangible benefits to strengthen US influence as rival China invests heavily.
Days before China holds a big Africa meeting in Senegal, where Blinken is going later on Friday bloc Ecowasin Abuja, Blinken didn’t specifically mention China but said he knew Africans are “wary of the threads” that often go hand in hand with foreign engagements.
“I want to be clear – the United States doesn’t do that.” I don’t want to restrict your partnerships with other countries, “said Blinken.
” We don’t want you force a choice. We would like to give you the choice.
“Our approach will be sustainable, transparent and value-based,” he said.
He said that other nations’ infrastructure agreements are “opaque, compulsive, burdensome” can be countries with unmanageable debts, are environmentally destructive and do not always benefit the people who live there. “
” We will do things differently, “he said.
He said the Biden administration “firmly believes the time has come to stop treating Africa as a geopolitical issue – and treat it as the main geopolitical actor it has become.”
He acknowledged the reasons for cynicism, saying that too often Africans “have been treated as junior partners – or worse – rather than equals”.
“And we are sensitive to centuries of colonialism, and slavery Exploitation that leads to painful legacies that endure today. “
Blink, to its The three-nation trip also included Kenya, pledging cooperation in areas such as the fight against Covid-19 and climate change.
Threats to Democracy
Biden – a virtual summit next month who holds democracies – has vowed a new commitment not only to Africa but also to democracy, after arguing that his predecessor Donald Trump was not focused either.
One day after the meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Blinken met religious and civil society leaders to go beyond mere dealings with governments in Africa The Trump administration’s decision to blacklist Nigeria for religious freedom, encouraged by evangelical Christians, was reversed.
“Your leadership is one that we hope al le move on, not just in Nigeria but beyond, “said Blinken, calling the diversity of the most populous country in Africa a” very wonderful and powerful thing “.
In a tone that he has consistently struck with The Government Blinken admitted in his speech that the United States, after the mob attack by Trump supporters on the US Capitol on the 6th African problem – it is a global problem. My own country is struggling with threats to our democracy. And the solutions to these threats will come from Africa as well as everywhere. “
” We need to show how democracies can quickly and effectively deliver what citizens want, “he said.
Biden has China as the biggest US challenge of the 21st building lightning – and makes little fuss about democracy.
Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, who spoke with Blinken at a press conference on Thursday, expressed concerns regarding China, saying that Beijing was providing the necessary funding.
“We would have gone with anyone else who provided something for us at a competitive price,” he said.
” Sometimes it is good for you when you are the attractive bride and everyone is there to offer you wonderful things. “