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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe Americas5 Things U.S. Policymakers Must Understand About China-Africa Relations

5 Things U.S. Policymakers Must Understand About China-Africa Relations

Author:  Jordan Link

Affiliation: China Policy Analyst at Center for American Progress

Organization/Publisher: Center for American Progress

Date/Place: October 5, 2021/USA

Type of Literature: Report

Number of Pages: 27


Keywords: Africa, China, USA, BRI.




As Beijing’s role in Africa is increasing, US policymakers must focus on developing a positive strategy for America’s future role in Africa rather than criticizing China’s engagement. The US’ limited and lack of focus on Africa has given space to China to engage heavily in the African continent. The Chinese role has weighted heavy in Africa, as Beijing’s influence has deepened in a variety of areas: trade and commercial ties, military-security relations, and technology. The claim that China engages in debt trap diplomacy lacks evidence. The Chinese economic activities in Africa are attractive and create jobs, but also harm the African environment. Instead of solely criticizing China, the US must refocus on Africa since Washington still has ample opportunities to do so. The following are urgent recommendations for the US to improve its economic and security partnerships with African countries in the context of US-China competition: Donating COVID-19 vaccine; Refocus existing aid and development programs in Africa by increasing two-ways investment and trade between the US and African continent; Increase funding and support for energy projects by undertaking a review of previous successful American programs, like bringing  market-based sustainable electricity development solutions; Announce the return of the US Africa Leaders’ Summit; increasing US Education funding targeted to encourage more Africans to enroll in US universities, and increase the International Visitor Leadership Program funding in key African nations; Encourage more government-to-government contact across departments by approving more high-level African delegations to visit Washington while also increasing high-level US government travel to African countries. Finally, the US should help African countries to mitigate risks catalyzed by China by developing local laws focused on transparency, labor practices, and environmental sustainability.


By: Imad Atoui, CIGA Research Associate



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