America in Africa

America in Africa

Al-Arabiya, Saudi Arabia, August 18

In the wake of the Russian-Ukrainian war, Washington and Moscow have both found themselves returning to the drawing board and mapping out their respective alliances around the world. In this context, US President Joe Biden recently realized the importance of America’s presence on the African continent, as he announced his country’s hosting of the second US-Africa summit in Washington from December 13 to 15. This is a clear indication of the changes taking place in the US strategy toward the African continent under the current administration. In addition, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently visited a number of African countries, including Senegal, Kenya and Nigeria. America is also seeking to ease tensions on the African continent between Congo and Rwanda over the latter’s support of the March 23 rebel movement, as well as the visit of the head of the US Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, to Somalia. The reboot of Biden’s “Prosper Africa” initiative, which would allocate about $80 million from Congress to boost trade and investment between Washington and Africa, is another byproduct of this strategy. Similarly, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been extended to 2025, giving African countries a tariff exemption on about 6,500 products exported to the United States, while granting more than 50 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to 43 African countries. The Biden Administration is also seeking to enhance American military influence on the continent by stationing about 6,500 American soldiers in the region, in order to train local forces of allied countries, in pursuit of a number of security tasks, such as combating terrorism. America’s orientation toward the African continent may give an indication of Washington’s continuous attempts to isolate Russia diplomatically and economically; a strategy that has been limited to date. America is trying to counter Russian and Chinese influences in Africa and return to the continent after years of marginalization pursued by former President Donald Trump, who ignored the continent as an arena for international competition between global and regional powers. Africa has become a site of conflict between America and Russia, whose trade exchange volume with African countries has increased by more than 34% since the beginning of 2022. It has also become a region of dispute with China, whose close relations with Africa have increased in recent years, making China Africa’s largest trading partner. Africa is a fertile continent, and its importance has increased due to the global food crisis that affects the entire world. The continent has natural resources, large areas with fertile lands suitable for agriculture and investment, in addition to great gas wealth. The white man seeks to recreate history by turning to the world’s poor countries with the hope of exploiting their natural resources. Will history really repeat itself? – Samir Faraj (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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