As Russia-Ukraine war still rages on, Africa has emerged as the most important piece on the chessboard of geopolitics. The continent’s strategic relevance for the major global powers has provided the continent a unique privilege as they seek to woo the continent to gain geopolitical advantage over their rivals. This has led to Africa being the terrain of strategic confrontation between the US, Russia, and China. Now, as they race to woo African leaders with aid, grants or investments, Africa must see them for what they are.
US to step up Africa investments
A new study by Boston University has found that China’s overseas investments in the Covid-19 era have slid to a 13-year low.
China has invested heavily in the continent through its Belt and Road initiative. It has strategically invested in infrastructure projects including railroads, ports, dams, and hydropower-generation sources. This long game of China had practically thrown the US policy in Africa off its course, with the global superpower having to play only a catch-up.
Therefore, the US on its part has pledged to invest $55 billion in Africa during the US-Africa Summit in December last year. Furthermore, US Treasury Secretary Yellen assured the African leaders that Washington has many programs that will help Africa build infrastructure. Furthermore, the recent announcement looks like a well-thought-out US strategy to woo the Africa continent as China’s investments in the continent has reached a new low.
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West’s focus on economic interests after military debacle
Apart from the US, France is also looking for newer territories to exert its influence in Africa after being virtually driven out of the Sahel region.
As per a report, Macron will be visiting Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) shortly. To this point, Macron’s visit to Gabon is suspected of wanting to bring support to the President in office and influence the elections.
Read More: After France, Mali throws UN out
Additionally, the French oil and gas giant Total Energies’ Gabonese arm signed a deal with the government regarding the rearrangement of certain provisions of the Establishment Agreement, the duration of which is extended until 2042. In this regard, there is a possibility that the French President is visiting the countries in the African continent to secure the interests of its companies in the continent.
It has been widely established that the diminishing western influence in Africa has much to do with the rise of Russian mercenary group Wagner. With growing pro-Russian sentiments, France had faced a humiliating departure from Sahel and Wagner is now also making inroads into newer territories. Therefore, it seems like the West has accepted defeat militarily and so now it is trying to fill the void left by China in the economic sphere, as Chinese lending reaches an all-time low in the continent. Meanwhile the Africans leaders also should keep an eye on the west as they wont spare a moment to repeat history.
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