U.S. sets new Africa strategy, condemns ‘predatory’ economic policies by Russia, China

Special to WorldTribune.com

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The United States has denounced the “predatory” practices of Russia and China in Africa as it unveiled a refocus of its strategy that will include an end to “indiscriminate assistance across the entire continent.”

China’s military base in Djibouti. / AFP

National-security adviser John Bolton said on Dec. 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.”

Bolton said Russia is “seeking to increase its influence in the region through corrupt economic dealings.”

He accused Moscow of selling arms and energy in exchange for votes at the UN “that keep strongmen in power, undermine peace and security, and run counter to the best interests of the African people.”

China, he said, has used “bribes, opaque agreements, and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing’s wishes and demands.”

Bolton said that under the new “Prosper Africa” strategy, the United States would choose its partners in Africa more carefully and “encourage African leaders to choose high-quality, transparent, inclusive, and sustainable foreign investment projects, including those from the United States.”

“The United States will no longer provide indiscriminate assistance across the entire continent,” he said.

“Countries that repeatedly vote against the United States in international forums, or take action counter to U.S. interests, should not receive generous American foreign aid,” he added.

On Dec. 12, Assistant Secretary of State Tibor Nagy warned members of Congress of China’s increasing economic, military, and political influence in Africa.

In 2013, China launched its “Belt and Road” initiative, which looks to construct an infrastructure network connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

In 2017, Beijing opened its first overseas military base in the small country of Djibouti, which already is host to the only permanent U.S. military base in Africa.