America's influence declining in Africa
U.S. Secretary of State visited three nations in Africa last November, amid declining US influence in the continent and growing anti-US sentiments among the people of Africa.
During his three-nation tour last week — to Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal — America’s top diplomat was unable to escape obvious signs of the intense competition between the U.S. and China, the AP news agency said in a report.
The geopolitical power struggle between Washington and Beijing has been playing out largely in China’s favor for the past two decades, especially in Africa.
Before leaving the continent at his last stop in Senegal, Blinken said he had been well received by all three leaders he met. But, he allowed that “we have to be judged on what we do, not simply on what I say.”
The decline of Washington's influence has been evident for some time but have been highlighted in recent months as President Joe Biden has promoted an “America is back” narrative, intended to signal a U.S. return to the international arena and institutions that his predecessor had eschewed.
In Nairobi, much of the secretary’s visit and drives through the Kenyan capital took place in the shadow of or literally underneath a massive, Chinese-financed elevated expressway construction project.
In Abuja, Blinken's motorcade from the airport passed the giant and unmissable headquarters building of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria, where a top official spoke only partially in jest of playing the U.S. and China off of each other and China's attractiveness as a partner.
While the Biden administration’s efforts to help African nations combat the coronavirus pandemic and encourage climate-friendly policies appear to be making some initial progress, the broader picture is less encouraging for the U.S.
In Ethiopia, the U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, was rebuffed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in calls for an end to a blockade of the northern Tigray region, home to rebels who are now advancing on the capital.