US Lashes out at 'predatory' China, Russia in Africa

US Lashes out at 'predatory' China, Russia in Africa

Bolton outlined a three-pronged approach to the region, which includes advancing US trade and commercial ties, countering extremist organizations and violent conflict and ensuring USA aid is used efficiently and effectively.

Africa is a pivotal part of President Xi Jinping's "Belt and Road Initiative", with Chinese-backed investments ranging from Ivory Coast power plants to a Rwandan airport and a railway in Kenya. "Its investment ventures are riddled with corruption", Bolton said.

It took more than a year for Trump to meet an African head of state and to fill key USA diplomatic posts for Africa, with some ambassadorships still vacant.

Bolton criticized Beijing's engagements are "very systematically created to tilt whole regions of the world" in China's direction, especially those rich in mineral resources, and said the USA must "wake up" and foster independence for African nations.

The Trump administration unveiled a new Africa strategy based on "America First" principles, focused on enhancing trade ties, combating terrorism and cutting back on aid programs the administration deems inefficient.

However, unlike China's leader Xi Jinping who visited Africa nine times to promote large investment projects, the White House had seemed so far more eager to deploy its army in the continent - as the USA troops are stationed in 50 out of 54 African states.

AFP/File / ASHRAF SHAZLYWorkers offload USA aid destined for South Sudan from the World Food Programme (WFP) at Port Sudan on March 19, 2017: the United States warned it was considering cutting off aid to South Sudan unless its "morally bankrupt leaders" end their infighting. But China's growing military presence, joined with an economic strategy that involves hefty local infrastructure investments and port deals, has been a source of USA military concerns.

He took special aim at China, accusing it of wielding "bribes, opaque agreements, and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing's wishes and demands".

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Bolton also told African governments to expect a tighter-fisted approach to aid, with an end to "indiscriminate assistance across the entire continent".

Trump has vowed to slash foreign aid across the world and is not known for his interest in Africa, notoriously being quoted by lawmakers as calling some African countries "s***holes" when discussing immigration to the United States.

"The predatory practices pursued by China and Russian Federation stunt economic growth in Africa, threaten the financial independence of African nations, inhibit opportunities for US investment, interfere with USA military operations and pose a significant threat to US national security interests", Bolton said Thursday in a speech unveiling the Trump Administration's Africa strategy at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington. None were from the U.S. China State Construction Engineering Corp. got the deal. Bolton accused the two US adversaries of "predatory practices", which use their investment and trade to leverage influence over African governments.

He warned that the US will "reevaluate its support for United Nations peacekeeping missions" as well as aid to countries whose governance it finds troublesome, including South Sudan.

What's new is a more explicit commitment to pursuing programs that unambiguously advance US interests, and an emphatic desire to prevent Beijing and Moscow from making moves in Africa unchallenged.

"The diminished USA role in Africa has made things easier for us - we don't have to glance over our shoulders and worry what they are thinking over the Atlantic about Moscow's actions", Zdanevich said by phone on Thursday. Between 1955 and 2006, US aid to Africa was roughly equal to the amount of assistance provided by all other donors combined. "They're major players putting [in] lots of money and advancing their goals, and we lacked from this administration [information] on how they are going to navigate that", he said.

In subsequent remarks to reporters, Bolton said China's so-called "debt diplomacy", which begins with attractively financed projects before becoming mired in "onerous" terms and conditions, amounts to a "bait and switch" tactic of which developing countries have grown increasingly wary.

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