The administration of United States President Donald Trump has announced a major shift in America’s policy towards Africa.

The policy is geared towards combating “predatory” practices by China and Russia, and ending what Washington calls “unproductive, and unaccountable” United Nations peacekeeping missions on the continent

Under the policy, America will henceforth prioritize trade and security over human rights. According to US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, the policy will ensure that Washington no longer provides indiscriminate assistance across the continent. Bolton said the new policy will not tolerate the longstanding pattern of aid without effect, assistance without accountability, and relief without reform.

The Trump administration says the policy will, in addition to tackling the predatory practices of China and Russia in Africa, fight terrorism and cut what Washington calls wasteful spending for United Nations Peacekeepers on the continent. Bolton criticized China notably for its state-directed Belt and Road Initiative which aims to strengthen infrastructure, trade and investment links between China and 65 countries around the globe – most of them in Africa. The 65 countries collectively account for over 30 percent of global GDP, 62 percent of population, and 75 percent of known energy reserves.

The revisions to United States policy in Africa is informed by the conviction in Washington that China is overburdening African countries with debt. Zambia is one example cited. The country owes China alone an estimated $6 billion to $10 billion, leaving many economists and financial experts worried that African countries may soon need a new round of debt relief.

As part of the new policy, the United States has already requested a change of mission for to the UN mission to the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic. Washington has refused funding to the UN mission in the Central Africa Republic and it has threatened to reduce funding for the renewal of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

[President Donald Trump and China’s Recolonization of Africa. Photos courtesy of the White House and The Financial Times newspaper]

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