African Engagement or Counterplay? US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Tour Amidst China and Russia’s Influence

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed the US commitment to strengthening ties with Africa, despite global issues, during his visit to the continent. Blinken embarked on a four-nation tour, visiting Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Angola, while concerns arose over a political development in neighboring Niger.

As Russia and China continue to deepen their partnerships across Africa, US President Joe Biden, who had previously promised to visit the continent, has not maintained close relations with African countries.

China and Russia have been increasing their influence in Africa, each following distinct approaches to establish their presence on the continent. Both countries are considered formidable adversaries by the US, leading to questions about their objectives and impact on Africa.

Is the US concerned that China and Russia might dominate Africa through groups like BRICS? Is that why they have sent high-ranking officials to visit West Africa?

The US ambassador started his tour in Cape Verde before traveling to Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Angola.

“Our futures are interconnected, our prosperity is intertwined, and African voices are increasingly influential in global discussions,” Blinken stated at the beginning of the talks in Cape Verde.

He praised Cape Verde as a “beacon of stability” and a nation with a “strong, principled voice.” This Portuguese-speaking archipelago, home to approximately 500,000 people, has collaborated with the US on naval operations and law enforcement.

Secretary Blinken visited Nigeria on January 23 and met with President Bola Tinubu. During their conversation, Blinken discussed the threats to democracy and security in the region.

Furthermore, Blinken expressed America’s dedication to being a dependable security partner for Nigeria. The Nigerian military is engaged in a long-standing battle against Islamist rebels, receiving support from the United States, Britain, and other allies.

Due to recent military takeovers in some countries within the Ecowas regional bloc, countries in the Sahel region have experienced increasing levels of instability.

Blinken emphasized that the United States is a more reliable security ally to Africa than Russia, which he claimed took advantage of countries affected by coups and conflicts in the Sahel region.

During his tour, Blinken also addressed the challenges facing democracy in the area, despite not visiting nations that recently experienced coups.

Despite facing strong competition from China and Russia, the US has diligently worked to maintain its influence in Africa.

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