DENVER (Africa News Matters) —
There are no doubts about the strategic importance of the African continent to the world’s superpowers. Just as Russia, China, and India have upped the ante in relations with African nations, the United States, considered grossly lagging in its strategic relations with the continent, appears ready to change its ways.
The Obama administration accomplished a lot to boost US-Africa relations with its signature 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders summit. President Joe Biden and his administration have announced what may be a U.S.-Africa Leaders’ summit 2.0., or 3.0. We’re told preparations are underway, with the summit scheduled for the fall of 2022.
As president, Joe Biden is yet to visit the continent. Whether Biden will visit the continent during his first term remains an open question.
As president, Barack Obama visited the continent twice. These official visits to the continent by American presidents, my colleague Raevyn Goates noted in 2016, can accomplish many things, including cementing and growing the relationship with the continent, rather than letting them dwindle.
If you recall during the administration of former President Donald Trump the talk of “a new scramble for Africa” garnered its own headlines in Washington and around the world. Trump and Co., led by national security adviser John Bolton, famously tried to frame a new diplomatic push to counter Russia and China in Africa. How that effort ended is anyone’s guess.
While the push to do something about the rapidly deteriorating relations between African nations and Washington was a priority, things were messed up by Trump himself, when he said some negative things about African nations. While first lady Melania Trump visited the continent, as president, Trump never stepped foot on the continent. This was a missed opportunity.
In spite of the Trump era snafus, we’re told the investment side of things made some headways and boosted military and economic ties with African nations.
But the real questions remain about the many opportunities America has squandered in its relations with the African continent. These opportunities, the Rand corporation tells us, let others, including China and Russia especially, plant deep roots on the continent. These roots may now be difficult to off root, and America may now just have to pick up the crumbs.
The Scramble for Africa Intensifies
Here you’ll see some of the leaders and nations visiting the continent in recent weeks and months. This gives an indication of who is making the continent a priority.
Time for a new US engagement with Africa — The Hill
Russia’s Lavrov courts Africa in quest for more non-Western friends — Reuters
Lavrov Visit to Africa Seen as Effort to Counter Western Narratives — Voice of America (VOA News)
Macron three-nation Africa tour begins in Cameroon — Aljazeera
Macron embarks on African visit to ‘renew relationship’ with continent — France 24
Exclusive: Internal report shows EU fears losing Africa over Ukraine — DEVEX