Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Monday unveiled the Biden administration’s Africa strategy in South Africa.
Why is this important: One of the elements of this strategy is not to force countries to choose between the United States and China or Russia. “The United States will not dictate Africa’s choices,” Blinken said. “Nobody else should do it either.
- His South African counterpart, Naledi Pandor, told a joint press conference that some actors – but not the Biden administration – are trying to “bully” African countries into certain decisions, but it won’t work.
- Pandor added that the conflict between the United States and China is economically “destabilizing” and that African countries should not be “partners”. “They are the two largest economies in the world. They have to find a way to work together so that we can grow.”
Yes, but: For all the rhetoric about not forcing countries to choose, Blinken’s remarks came four days after UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield. warned in Uganda that any purchase from Russia other than agricultural products could lead to sanctions.
- Most African countries, including South Africa, have refused to join Western sanctions or condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
And after: Blinken will travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda to try to calm tensions and the risk of full-scale war.
- An unpublished report submitted to the UN Security Council supports DRC claims that Rwandan forces are working with M23 rebels to mount operations in resource-rich eastern Congo, by the FT.
- The current conflict echoes Congo’s devastating wars of the 1990s.
Biden will host a summit of African leaders in December.