Secretary of State Antony Blinken asserted on Friday the United States sees Africa as a significant global force. He said Africa could provide practical advantages that represent democratic principles.
The senior US diplomat said President Biden hopes to organize an African leaders’ conference. This would come days before China has a key conference on Africa in Senegal, where Blinken went on Friday.
Blinken made no specific mention about China in his speech at the HQ of the West African group ECOWAS in Abuja. However, he acknowledged Africans have been cautious about the ties that frequently accompany foreign participation.
“Let me be clear: the US does not wish to impede your ties with other nations,” Blinken stated. “We wish to strengthen your relationships with us. We don’t want to force you to decide. We aim to provide you with options.”
Transparency and Value-Driven
He went on to emphasize their strategy would be long-term, transparent, and values-driven. According to Blinken, other countries’ infrastructural deals may be opaque, coercive, and load countries with unsustainable debt.
They may also be ecologically harmful and fail to help the majority who live there. However, Blinken added, things would be done differently in the United States.
He admitted many Africans were pessimistic. Blinken also stated African countries have often been regarded as inferior partners, rather than full partners.
Finally, he said people in the United States are sympathetic to the sad legacy involving centuries of colonial rule, enslavement, and exploitation.
However, he stated the Biden presidency feels it is time to stop seeing Africa as a geopolitical problem and begin addressing it as the important geopolitical force it has become.
Blinken, who was on a three-nation trip that included Kenya, pledged collaboration on issues like combating COVID-19 and global warming.
Vipi WaKenya! Glad to be in Kenya, a nation with which we have a deep and long-standing friendship. Looking forward to meeting with government officials and civil society to discuss our shared interests and affirm our strategic partnership. pic.twitter.com/g09ovojXag
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 16, 2021
Democracy is Slipping Backwards
After accusations that Donald Trump was unconcerned about either Africa or democracy, Biden pledged a renewed commitment to both. Biden will host a virtual meeting next month in an effort to demonstrate solidarity in the face of an increase in authoritarian governments.
He emphasized democratic backtracking is a worldwide issue, not simply an African one. He also said America is facing democratic challenges and the remedies to these problems will come from Africa, as much as they will from anywhere else.
He stated America must demonstrate how democracies can give what voters desire quickly and effectively. With Beijing’s tremendous expansion and growing assertiveness at home and abroad, Biden recognized China as the most significant US threat of the twenty-first century.
With little regard to democracy, China increased its participation in Africa in the quest for resources and as part of an infrastructure-building blitz.
On Thursday, Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama rejected worries about China during a media briefing with Blinken, saying Beijing supplied critical finance.
Antony Blinken has signed bilateral agreement with Nigeria. He left katsina to Ogun state for another meeting. Hope Sokoto man will be happy . pic.twitter.com/DkRXfUTuHX
— Woye (@woye1) November 18, 2021