China, which Mr Blinken believes is the biggest challenger to US power, has built a massive presence in Africa, with state-owned companies building infrastructure across the continent, the Chinese military strengthening a base in Djibouti and the Communist Party. opening a pan-African leadership school in Tanzania. But some Africans have had backlash against the labor and lending practices of Chinese companies.
Read more about Asia-US relations
Middle Eastern countries are also playing an increasing role throughout Africa: Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are influential in the Horn of Africa, and Turkey has its largest embassy in the world in Somalia, where it is also the most important. port and airport.
Mr Blinken insisted at a press conference before his speech that the government’s Africa strategy was not aimed at rivalry with China and Russia. But a White House document released the same day said the effort to strengthen “open societies” was in part to counter “harmful activities” by China, Russia and “other foreign actors.”
Mr Blinken said in his speech that the US strategy “reflects the complexity, diversity and power of the region” and “focuses on what we will do with African nations and peoples, not for African nations and peoples.”
He also said pandemic recovery, health security, climate adaptation and environmental conservation are pillars of the Africa strategy — in line with what President Biden has listed as his global priorities.
The Biden administration has made the promotion of democracy a focus of its foreign policy, a return to the Democratic and Republican governments before that of President Donald J. Trump, who eschewed the target.