JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — The US is “playing catch up” with Russia and China again, some analysts say, as President Biden hosts 49 African heads of state and royals at the JOHNNESBURG Leaders Summit. USA and Africa in Washington this week.
Russia, China and several European countries recently courted leaders at their own African summits or advanced clandestine economic and sometimes military assistance on the continent.
This is, however, the first US Summit in eight years, and President Biden said he looks forward to “continuing to strengthen our shared vision for the future of US-Africa relations.”
This is happening against a massive cloud of Islamist terrorism sweeping across the African continent. Africa is now the center of operations for both the Islamic State and al Qaeda. Insidious economic infiltration and the inevitable coercion that accompanies it, under the guise of Russian and Chinese aid, is rampant, and Kremlin-sponsored private armies are shamelessly operating in an increasing number of countries as Russia encroaches on them. stripped of its mineral wealth.
AFRICA: THE NEW GROUND ZERO FOR JIHADI TERRORIST GROUPS, SAY EXPERTS
The goal of the summit, according to the State Department, is to encourage economic engagement and promote peace and security, among many other goals.
“The United States is clearly catching up in Africa, relative to other powers that tend to see the opportunities that Africa presents,” Cameron Hudson, a senior associate in the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and Environmental Studies, told Fox News Digital. Internationals based in Washington. .
Hudson, former director of African affairs for the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration, noted that “Washington continues to view its involvement in Africa from a problem-solving perspective…We tend not to see the need to build strong alliances with African states to counter the pernicious influence of rogue actors like Russia.”
The view from Africa itself is not much different.
“Just bringing together several African heads of state does not necessarily mean that the United States will be able to achieve its goals,” Gustavo de Carvalho, a senior fellow on African governance and diplomacy at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), told Fox News Digital. . from Johannesburg.
Referring to the Biden administration’s focus on the region, he added: “You often read that Africa is a theater rather than the focus itself. If the US incentives on the continent are simply to counter Russia and China, its ability and interests to effectively create a meaningful partnership will be diminished.”
The administration is also expected to push its agenda aimed at rolling back climate change at the summit. But, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a government that claims its poor people need the revenue is selling huge chunks of vitally needed rainforest to oil and gas explorers to soak up carbon emissions.
JOCKEY FROM RUSSIA AND THE UNITED STATES TO SUPPORT IN AFRICA
Many in Africa argue that they need to keep warm, cook and cannot afford to worry about saving the planet. Soweto is the largest municipality in South Africa, an area where historically the previous white apartheid government forced people of color to live. In the winter months, it is possible to see where Soweto is from the yellow sulfurous cloud that hangs over it, the fumes from thousands of fossil fuel fires. The cheapest way to heat yourself here is by burning coal.
“The concern of many African countries is related to the fact that developed economies, such as the United States, have historically been the main emitters of carbon and have contributed mainly to the current crisis of climate change,” said De Carvalho, describing a point of common African view. “African nations are demanding proportionality on many issues, including compensation for environmental damage. The US role should not simply be to put pressure on African countries, but to find common solutions to the environmental crisis we are currently facing.”
President Biden will also seek to address the Kremlin’s threat to food security in Africa in talks with leaders on Thursday. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Monday that “food security and the resilience of food systems is a critical issue for our African partners who have been disproportionately affected by rising food prices. food and fertilizer and disruptions in global supply chains as a result of Russia’s war against Ukraine.”
It is not known whether Washington can put much pressure on the African countries to which Moscow has provided much-needed grain in exchange for supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The State Department also plans to address good governance. Four countries where that is not happening — Mali, Sudan, Guinea and Burkina Faso — have not been invited to Washington, but several others with what observers say are appalling human rights and governance records will be able to enjoy the service. Silver at the White House at President Biden’s Welcome Dinner.
BLINKEN FLYS TO THE ‘SUPERPOWER’ BATTLEFIELD IN AFRICA
Then there is the leader of Africa’s arguably flagship country of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. He will not attend the summit and is under a cloud of money laundering allegations.
An alleged sum of more than $4 million is claimed to have been hidden in a sofa at the president’s game farm. Ramaphosa is said to claim the amount of cash is much less, nearly $600,000, and claims it has been stolen. Any such amount should have been reported to the foreign exchange control authorities, but apparently this was not the case.
Ramaphosa has been unable to explain why he, as the president of one country, needed to have a substantial amount of cash from another country hidden in his living room, claiming it was payment for the sale of buffaloes.
Johannesburg-based analyst Ebrahim Fakir believes Ramaphosa, who rose to power on an anti-corruption ticket after a tsunami of charges was brought against former President Jacob Zuma, should voluntarily resign.
“There are certain findings that he has contravened his own office, the constitution and certain provisions of the law,” Fakir, director of the AUWAL Socio-Economic Research Institute told local broadcaster SABC.
CHAOS SPREADS IN SOUTH AFRICA AS AUTHORITIES STRUGGLE TO CONTAIN LOOTING AND VIOLENCE
Another reason Ramaphosa is not at the top is that he is coming under increasing criticism over another corruption-related issue. Under his watch, businesses are struggling to survive as the state power company currently cuts off electricity to factories and homes for 7 to 9 hours a day. Corrupt politicians and managers have reportedly siphoned off the funds needed to maintain South Africa’s power plants to the point that, over the past year, there have been more power outages than even in Ukraine, a country at war.
Biden will be dangling some pretty big carrots this week to try and win over more friends in Africa. Sullivan said the president is likely to announce his first official sub-Saharan visit at the summit and offer US backing for Africa to get a permanent seat at the G-20 table.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
“The Biden Administration has recognized that it needs to modernize its approach,” says the CSIS’s Hudson, adding: “For this summit to be considered a success, African leaders need to leave with a stronger sense that Washington has changed its approach and is compromise the continent on a more equitable basis”.