Chinia, Russia 'corrupt' in Africa

Trump's national security adviser John Bolton speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washing

"Under our new approach, every decision we make, every policy we pursue, and every dollar of aid we spend will further United States priorities in the region", Bolton said in a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

National Security Adviser John Bolton unveils the Trump Administration's Africa Strategy at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.

The Trump administration plans to significantly cut US support for United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa as part of a broader strategy that seeks to better promote American interests on the continent, National Security Adviser John Bolton said Thursday.

In response, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang stressed, "What China cares about is African countries' needs, such as industrialization and agricultural modernization".

National Security Advisor John Bolton made specific mention of the countries during the announcement saying they "are rapidly expanding their financial and political influence across Africa".

"We will only back effective and efficient operations, and we will seek to streamline, reconfigure, or terminate missions that are unable to meet their own mandate or facilitate lasting peace", Bolton said.

China also established its first overseas military base there, miles away from the USA base Camp Lemonnier, which supports US forces that carry out anti-terror operations.

What's new is a more explicit commitment to pursuing programs that unambiguously advance US interests, and an emphatic desire to prevent Beijing and Moscow from making moves in Africa unchallenged. Lacking the financial muscle of its main rivals, the U.S., Europe and China, Russia is carving out a niche by shoring up strongmen in unstable but potentially resource-rich states who have a taste for Russian weaponry.

He said that China used "bribes, opaque agreements and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing's wishes and demands".

While these complaints mostly boil down to the traditional United States strategies not working as well in Africa, some analysts are warning that Bolton's speech is likely to fuel concern among Africans that the USA has a "new strategy" aimed at dominating them. For the US military, Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti has always been the anchor for missions around the volatile Horn of Africa and a launching pad into neighboring Somalia.

African nations will ultimately benefit from this competition, Judd Devermont, who was the USA national intelligence officer for Africa until earlier this year, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

"Africa's incredibly important to the United States", he said.

"Bolton talks as if the US strides across the world in a way that the U.S.no longer does, for multiple reasons, and not just Donald Trump, because China is in the ascendancy", said John Stremlau, a professor of global relations at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Russia, too, he said, seeks to increase its influence in the region through "corrupt economic dealings". Between 1955 and 2006, USA aid to Africa was roughly equal to the amount of assistance provided by all other donors combined.

It is not yet very clear how exactly Trump plans to counter Xi's multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and other development projects in Africa. "What sets the US apart has been a broader engagement, beyond government, looking at development, civil society and, frankly, serving as something of a moral authority on human rights, democracy and governance issues".

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