Top Biden administration dignitaries have been visiting nations in the continent
On March 26, US vice-president Kamala Harris landed in Accra, Ghana, kicking off a week-long trip to three African countries, including Tanzania and Zambia. The visit, she said, cements a “very important relationship” and aims to deepen ties.
Two months earlier, US first lady Jill Biden visited Namibia and Kenya on a similar mission. Starting March 15, US secretary of state Antony Blinken visited Ethiopia and Niger. Last August, he was in South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda.
Russia, on its part, has been militarily involved through private companies. Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov visited South Africa, Angola, and Eswatini in January seeking a firmer grip on their security and energy sectors.
At the same time, the world’s most powerful economy has also rolled out a policy to counter Chinese and Russian presence in sub-Saharan Africa. The policy states that China has been challenging “the rules-based international order,” and has been using Africa to “advance its own narrow commercial and geopolitical interests, undermine transparency and openness, and weaken US relations with African peoples and governments.”
It also states that Moscow “uses its security and economic ties, as well as disinformation to undercut Africans’ principled opposition to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine and related human rights abuses.”
In January, treasury secretary Janet Yellen visited Senegal, Zambia, and South Africa. Sounding resentful about the billions of dollars of loans China is pouring into the continent, Yellen asked African nations to “be careful” as they can be “opaque and ultimately fail to help the people they were meant to help.”
A great game is clearly unfolding in the booming continent.