The world press is actively discussing the results of the first US-Africa Leaders Summit since 2014, held on December 13-15 in Washington.
At first glance this event may seem successful. The forum was attended by delegations from 49 countries plus the African Union and the permanent secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area. Only the leaders of those countries that were not invited because of their “non-compliance with democratic standards” (Guinea, Mali, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Eritrea) were not in attendance. It should be noted that the leader of Chad, who also came to power in an unconstitutional way, was at the summit. Apparently, his “authoritarianism” did not interfere with US principles since the country is close in its political positions to the West, primarily to France.
If we talk about the most high-profile initiatives of Washington, then it should be mentioned that US President Joe Biden announced his support for the initiative to establish a permanent membership of the African Union in the G20, as well as the UN Security Council. He also stated that he plans to pay an official visit to the African continent. This is, of course, a noticeable shift in the position of the United States, but it must be admitted that America is a bit too late. Early on, at the G20 summit in Bali in November of this year, Chinese leader Xi Jinping expressed support for Africa’s membership in the G20. And Russia has been supporting the entry of African countries into the UN Security Council for many years, relying on the so-called “Ezulwini Consensus”, which implies the entry of two African states into the key UN structure.
But the US could not go forward any other way. America is forced to respond to the strengthening of the political and economic positions of China and Russia, as well as their seemingly political ally, but economic competitor – the EU – on the African continent, and in this case they do not act as leaders, but rather as those who are catching up. For eight years, especially in the Trump era, America ignored the African continent and was not even in a hurry to appoint African ambassadors to many countries. The US realized it was lagging behind only when the volume of trade between China and Africa approached $200 billion, and anti-Western demonstrations took place throughout West Africa with an appeal for Russia’s help. Furthermore, important and influential states such as Egypt and Algeria have declared their desire to join non-Western structures such as BRICS, despite the fact that all of Africa is set to build integration ties with the EU and the EAEU.
Now Washington has to catch up and announce the huge scale of “assistance” to the continent. At first glance, these plans do look impressive. Announcements include the allocation of $55 billion for the development of US-African cooperation for 3 years, and the total number of transactions concluded at the business forum is $15 billion, including $1 billion of investments from Visa for the development of mobile payment services; $80 million from General Electric and Standard Bank for healthcare development; $858 million from CiscoSystems and Cybastion for cybersecurity. Countries that will benefit include Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Republic of the Congo, Benin, Cameroon and Niger. Washington announced a regional subsidy of $500 million to Niger and Benin through the Millennium Challenge Corporation for the development of transport infrastructure, and grants were allocated through the Millennium Challenge Corporation to the Gambia, Mauritania, Senegal, and Togo.
There are other “bonuses” for Africans as well: $100 million has been allocated through the American International Development Finance Corporation for the development of the so-called clean energy and $350 million for the digital transformation of Africa. A memorandum was signed to support the development of the production chain for the assembly of electric vehicles between the United States, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zambia. The goal is to build a plant on the border of the DRC and Zambia for the production of batteries for electric vehicles. It is stated that in the period up to 2025, $ 4 billion will be allocated through the Agency for International Development and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the training of medical personnel in Africa. The first recipients are Ghana, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, and Nigeria.
Why did the US go for unprecedented generosity? And are there any political motives behind this?
Of course, there are! Washington is full of pragmatists and they want to get the maximum effect from investments that have been announced but not yet made.
At the political and ideological level, the United States and the ruling Democratic Party want to nullify the achievements of other countries on the continent in a single go and return American hegemony there, which is concealed under the banner of “leadership.” The return to American dominance on the continent will allow, according to Washington, to stake out the most important positions in the struggle for Africa for the entire twenty-first century and to cast aside competitors.
Actively condemning and demonizing China and Russia for their alleged plans to strengthen their military presence on the continent (which in fact is practically non-existent, with the exception of the Chinese base in Djibouti, used to rotate Chinese peacekeepers as part of a UN multinational force), the US itself is actively seeking to gain a foothold on it militarily, in order to build a system of total control over maritime communications and the Internet and put the continent under its military-political and informational control.
African leaders, before believing American promises, should remember that it was the United States that was the main player in the slave trade, it was to America that slaves from the African continent were mainly exported (appr. 17 million people). It was under the leadership of the United States that Libya was defeated, and the occupants of the White House in 2011 (representatives of the current ruling Democratic Party) watched the assassination of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi live on air with undisguised pleasure. And why? Only because Gaddafi dreamed of a united and sovereign Africa, wrested from the power of the dollar. And now Washington is trying to save it by actively printing dollars for some African countries.
With loud statements about its investments, the United States is deploying its biological laboratories in Africa for very dubious purposes, as was the case in Ukraine, after the appearance of which very strange new infectious diseases soon flare up. And then they generously offer their vaccines to fight them. What are the components in these vaccines, and how safe they are, I’m afraid, we will find out much later, as was the case with the covid-19 vaccines, which, as Western experts themselves now say, have many side effects … What is more, Joe Biden even during this summit is announcing the possible emergence of a new pandemic. How does he know about that?
And one more thing – the development programs of the so-called “green” or, more precisely, low-emission energy is strongly connected with the desire of the United States to impose its hydrocarbons on other countries, primarily Europe, by reducing their production in promising areas such as Africa. And this is despite the fact that the West itself is undergoing a serious energy crisis, provoked by its own actions. In other words, “beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”
Oleg Pavlov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”