The US Treasury Secretary said the Biden administration’s engagement with the continent was “not for show” or “short-term”.
United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reaffirmed her country’s commitment to deepen relations and trade with Africa during a visit to Senegal, amid competition across the continent from China and Russia.
“The United States is all in on Africa and all in on Africa. » Yellen she said Friday morning at a business incubator in the Senegalese capital of Dakar, where she touted the fruits of a new “mutually beneficial” U.S. economic strategy toward Africa.
“Our commitment is not transactional, it’s not for show and it’s not short-term,” she said.
Yellen’s three-country tour in the region comes just weeks after U.S. President Joe Biden hosted the leaders of dozens of African countries, as well as those of the African Union, for a second time. US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC.
These discussions followed the first such meeting hosted by former US President Barack Obama in 2014. Biden’s efforts strengthen ties with like-minded countries in the region.
The Biden administration unveiled a series of new economic investments and trade deals in Africa at the summit, and Biden personally. expressed support for the African Union’s efforts to secure a permanent place within the Group of 20 (G20) forum of global economies.
China, which Washington considers its main global competitor, has consistently surpassed the United States in its investments in Africa in recent years. Russia has also tried to rally support on the continent in response to pressure from the United States and its allies on the issue. the war in Ukraine.
Last weekend, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang finished a week-long tour of African countriesnotably in Ethiopia, where he highlighted Beijing’s partnerships on security and economic development in the region.
Qin, whose trip included stops in Gabon, Angola, Benin and Egypt, also rejected the idea that China would compete with the United States in Africa.
“What Africa needs is solidarity and cooperation, not competition between blocs. No one has the right to force African countries to take sides,” the Chinese foreign minister said from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.
In implicit contrast to China, which takes a hands-off approach in countries where it invests, Yellen said Friday that the United States had taken a “different” approach, prioritizing “transparency, good governance, responsibility and environmental sustainability.
“While our approach may be demanding, we believe it delivers lasting results,” said Yellen, who is expected to meet Senegalese Finance Minister Mamadou Moustapha Ba and President Macky Sall later in the day.
She is expected to travel to Zambia on Sunday, then to South Africa.
During her speech in Dakar, the US Treasury Secretary said African governments need “fiscal space” to be able to make “significant” public investments.
“We believe the international community, including China, must provide meaningful debt relief to help countries regain their footing,” she said.
Yellen also called for ending the Russian invasion of Ukraine, politically murky territory because some African heads of state have not condemned the war because of the relations they have with Moscow.
“Russia’s barbaric aggression against its neighbor is particularly felt by Africa and its residents,” Yellen said.
“The war in Russia and the militarization of food have exacerbated food insecurity and caused untold suffering. And the global economic difficulties caused by the actions of one man – President (Vladimir) Putin – are creating an unnecessary drag on the African economy.”