The United States Secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, who recently held a virtual meeting with some African leaders, cautioned the continent of China’s growing influence. During the virtual meeting, the two African leaders present are President Buhari of Nigeria and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Nigeria. While talking to the two leaders, Blinken pushes for a tighter Africa-US relationship.
Both the United States and China have an economic interest in Africa. However, China has taken the lead on the continent in the past decades. There is an increasing geopolitical competition between the two countries; seemingly, the main arena of such competition is the continent of Africa.
The United States seems to be using a ‘gentle’ approach to winning Africa, albeit China’s firm entrenchment through debt, political influences, and increasing military bases.
The US secretary of state urges Africans to be more scrutinizing when entering into bilateral relationships, “You should be looking hard at whether when other countries come in to build a big infrastructure project, are they bringing their own workers with them or are they giving jobs to people in the country where they’re making investments?”
Blinken further added that the US is not trying to persuade Africa to choose between them or China, “We’re not asking anyone to choose between the United States or China, but I would encourage you to ask those tough questions, to dig beneath the surface, to demand transparency and to make informed choices about what is best for you and your countries,”
However, Biden’s administration might face stiff challenges in Africa, partly in sensitive areas of cultural and values differences. The majority of Africans reject many liberal values that Biden’s administration might use as part of its negotiation tools when dealing with Africa. One of the key issues is the debate on LGBTQIA+ lifestyle choices on the continent.