Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Trump's new Africa strategy takes sharp aim at China, Russia

Trump's new Africa strategy takes sharp aim at China, Russia

For its part, the USA has three core interests in Africa - advancing commercial ties, countering radical Islam and ensuring that US aid was well spent, according to Bolton.

He declined to provide specifics regarding the funding for the new strategy, despite President Donald Trump's guidance for government-wide budget cuts. "Its investment ventures are riddled with corruption".

One country that is offering alternatives is Russia, whose president, Vladimir Putin, is planning to host the first ever Russia-Africa summit with more than 50 African leaders next year. But framing the dynamics in Africa too narrowly could undermine both USA and African interests, Judd Devermont, the director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told VOA.

National-security adviser John Bolton said on December 13 that the new strategy would look to counter the efforts of Moscow and Beijing, which he accused of "deliberately and aggressively targeting their investments in the region to gain a competitive advantage".

AFP/File / ASHRAF SHAZLYWorkers offload U.S. aid destined for South Sudan from the World Food Programme (WFP) at Port Sudan on March 19, 2017: the United States warned it was considering cutting off aid to South Sudan unless its "morally bankrupt leaders" end their infighting.

A report issued by Citigroup this week pegged China's total loans, equity investments and aid to Africa at US$60 billion in 2015, up from a third of that amount in 2012, and said Beijing is likely to speed up belt and road-related infrastructure projects on the continent amid trade tensions with the US.

"Africa is incredibly important to the United States", Bolton told the audience at the Heritage Foundation on Thursday.

The plan, drafted by the White House National Security Council and due to be presented this week at a Washington think tank, will signal a shift by the administration seeking to push back Chinese influence in Africa.

The US has accused China and Russian Federation of pursuing "predatory practices" in Africa as President Trump's national security adviser announced its new strategy in the region.

"Some of the current uproar over Chinese investment in Africa is overblown and ill-informed", he warned, saying many of China's infrastructure projects address desperate needs. "No real resources are going to flow" and those that do will probably be strategic, he said, targeted at places where the US has a military presence or terrorism concerns.

For example, he said, a port in Djibouti on the Red Sea might give control over to a Chinese state-owned enterprise.

KELEMEN: The current top diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, knows that the way behind China on this.

In his presentation, Bolton also said the USA would pull support for United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa deemed "unproductive".

In November, the Pentagon said it would "preserve a majority of our USA security cooperation, partnerships and programs in Africa that strengthen our partner networks and enhance partner capability and ongoing programs". "They're major players putting [in] lots of money and advancing their goals, and we lacked from this administration [information] on how they are going to navigate that", he said.

"This sounds like a real return to the policies of realpolitik during the Cold War, when allies were based on their opposition to communism or the Soviet Union rather than good governance, human rights, economic prosperity and so forth", Cooke said.

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