AFRICA – As we know, China has been overshadowing America in regards to trade with Africa over the past decade. Moreover, the volume of China’s trade with Africa was 300% more than that of the US in 2018.
US assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, Tibor Nagy, was quoted as saying,” For too long when investors have knocked the door, and the Africans have opened the door, the only person standing there was the Chinese.” He further said,” My job is to make sure when there’s a knock on the door, there’s an American as well.”
The trades between Africa and the US drastically dropped after 2014, mainly because of the interest that was shown by China and other countries which invested in Africa. Even President Donald Trump removed all the US ambassadors around the globe when he was elected in 2017.
On the other hand, China has appointed senior foreign officials in African countries. Lina Benabdallah, an expert in Africa – China relation mentioned,” In South Africa, China is a highly ranked diplomat- that shows it really matters to Beijing.”
Lina adds,” I think it’s because competition from all other countries has been on the up from the last decade.”
Relations between the US and Africa have taken a foul-mouthed turn since Donald Trump has come into power. He has reportedly described the countries in Africa as “shithole countries” and then called Africa a place where his friends went to get rich.
Reuben E Brigety, a former US ambassador to Africa under President Obama, has commented on Mr. Trump’s words on Africa, saying,” The fundamental problem is that you can’t wish away the president – he has described all of Africa in the vilest terms. ”However, the US State Department has assured that it values the partnership with Africa and the department is as strong in its commitment as ever.
The US has maintained to be the largest source of direct investment in Africa till now but its input is declining. With China announcing other $60 billion worth of investments in Africa last year, it can take the top spot in the coming years.
There is an interest, for the diplomatic presence in the continent, from some emerging powers like India and Turkey. The Indian government has plans for 18 new embassies in Africa in the coming years.
With all these countries competing for having business opportunities in African countries, the United States will have to exhibit renewed efforts in its relations with Africa.