US and China will have representatives at the inauguration of Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi on Saturday.
- The US and China sent envoys to a combined 10 African countries in January alone.
- China’s foreign affairs minister toured north and west Africa, seeking support over Taiwan and Palestine.
- The US sent envoys to west and southern Africa in a continuation of promises made at the US Africa Leaders Summit in 2022.
There is apparently no time to waste, with China and the US having dispatched envoys to 10 African countries so far this year.
Both global powers will have representatives at the inauguration of Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi on Saturday.
China is sending the vice-chairperson of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Shen Yueyue.
President Xi Jinping only congratulated Tshisekedi on Wednesday.
The US has a bigger entourage that will include Lucy Tamlyn, the ambassador to Kinshasa; Mary Catherine Phee, the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of African Affairs, US Department of State; Monde Muyangwa, the assistant administrator of the Bureau for Africa, US Agency for International Development; and the deputy chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Chidi Blyden.
Since coming into office as China’s foreign affairs minister in 2013, Wang Yi has visited Africa every January.
He only missed out in 2023, when he was briefly replaced by Qin Gang for seven months.
Wang’s Africa tour last week started in Egypt amid calls for a peace conference to end the war in Gaza.
China and the US both want to see a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestine crisis.
From Egypt, Wang made a trip to Tunisia and held talks with President Kais Saied.
They also spoke about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In Togo, Wang met his counterpart, Robert Dussey, and the latter said his country was in support of China’s claim over Taiwan.
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province and would move ahead with plans to govern it, even if that means going to war.
The US and China are at loggerheads over the US’ congratulatory message to Taiwan’s president-elect William Lai.
China argued the message was “a gravely wrong signal” in violation of the US’ policy of not having official ties with Taiwan.
On the last leg of his tour, he headed for Cote d’Ivoire on Thursday.
China also has diplomats in Uganda attending the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) Summit.
It enjoys observer status at the NAM; hence the country’s special representative, Liu Guozhong, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and vice premier of the State Council, attended.
In the DRC, Shen will attend the inauguration ceremony.
US moves in Africa
Zambia is a central part of the tiff between the US and China regarding the G20 debt restructuring framework.
On Wednesday, US Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs Jay Shambaugh spoke with Zambian Minister of Finance and National Planning Situmbeko Musokotwane about “Zambia’s ongoing debt restructuring under the common framework and efforts to finalise negotiations with all remaining creditors”.
They also spoke about Zambia’s cholera outbreak and “reiterated the US government’s commitment to partner with Zambia to end the outbreak”, according to a US Treasury Department statement.
Last week in Nigeria, US Marine Corps General Michael Langley, and Sergeant Major Michael Woods discussed opportunities to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two nations, efforts to counter violent extremism in the region, and Nigeria’s leadership when addressing regional security.
Cooperation and training between the US and Nigerian militaries is vital in addressing the evolving security landscape in west Africa and advancing common interests.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also due in Nigeria this week.
He will also visit Cabo Verde, and Cote d’Ivoire.
“Throughout the trip, the secretary will highlight how the United States has accelerated the US-Africa partnership since the US Africa Leaders Summit, including in areas such as climate, food, and health security.
“He will also emphasise our future-focused economic partnership, and how the United States is investing in infrastructure in Africa to boost two-way trade, create jobs at home and on the continent, and help Africa compete in the global marketplace,” said Matthew Miller, US State Department spokesperson.
According to Afrobarometer, US-China competition was a win-win in the eyes of ordinary Africans.
Surveys conducted in 34 African countries showed such an approach will appeal to many Africans, who perceive US and Chinese investments and support as practical development concerns rather than a geopolitical fight.
Former Nigerian foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama cynically viewed Africa as the bride accepting the billion dollar best of two suitors -China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the US’ Build Back Better World.
The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
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Publish date : 2024-01-19 09:26:12