A Glance at China-US Approach, Rivalry in Africa

2023/04/07 | interview, political, top news

Strategic Council Online - Interview: An analyst of international affairs emphasized: Under the current situation, the US is not able to compete with China in Africa, but if it can advance its long-term plan in the form of sanctions or a war of chips, it can shock and deal a blow on China’s position in Africa and also affect the economy of that country.

In an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Amirhossein Askari referred to the competition between the US and China in Africa and attempts of both countries to increase their influence on the continent, stating: The visit of American and European officials to Africa shows the growing geostrategic role of the continent. The US competes with China and Russia on the African continent. Since Lavrov’s trip to Africa, Russia was able to attract the support of many countries on the continent and prepare the ground for forming an anti-Western bloc. Although it cannot be said that this block has been objectified under the current situation, its effects can be felt.

He added: On the other hand, the second phase of China’s Belt and Road Initiative is also forming an economic and military bloc, and in this situation, what Brzeziński feared and emphasized that the geopolitical triangle of Iran, China, and Russia should not be formed, has been relatively established and collaborations are also visible. In this regard, one of the main routes of the second phase of the Belt and Road Initiative leads to Africa.

The international affairs expert stated that the US military competition with Russia and the US economic competition with China are both objectified in Africa and added: The US cannot have a significant influence on the Iran-Russia-China triangle, which can either compete with Russia and China or attract Iran, but it has this capacity in Africa; because there is no actual opposing power that is inherently in conflict with the United States or the West in that continent. The US has the capacity in Africa to thwart Russia’s military ambitions and disrupt China’s ambitious economic plans as much as possible.

Askari continued: Robert Kaplan, an American strategist, also believes it is necessary to prevent the power gaining of the Iran-China-Russia triangle from the neighboring regions because it cannot be broken directly. In this regard, Africa to West Asia are areas where the United States can create a coalition with itself. In addition, the countries of those regions are economically fragile, and economic promises can attract them.

He pointed to the visit of Kamala Harris, the first vice president of the United States, to African countries and said: This African tour started from Ghana, which has one of the most fragile economies in Africa. During those trips, Mrs. Harris emphasized that the US is considering investing significantly in Africa’s private and public sectors. As Mrs. Harris announced, Washington plans to invest 139 million dollars in Ghana this year.

The analyst of international affairs, while explaining the dimensions of Beijing’s significant and macro investments in the countries of the African continent and the presence of more than one million Chinese in the “Dark Continent” to work on Chinese projects, reminded: China is the largest producer in the world and competition with it in the field of industry is very difficult for the US and the West. The beginning of the technology war was also intended to hinder the growing growth of China. Cheap Chinese goods are more attractive to all countries than expensive goods from the West, Japan, and South Korea, and we even see this preference among European countries. Under this situation, the US is trying to influence China’s economy and production through a technology war or, in other words, a chip war.

Emphasizing that the US investments cannot directly remove China from the competition arena in Africa or push it back, Askari noted: It is through the technological war that they can affect Chinese production, as in the latest developments of the chip war, the Netherlands and Japan also announced that they would limit sending chips to China. This decision will have a direct impact on Chinese production. If China’s production declines, China’s economy may lose ground against the West.

Referring to the influence and movements of Russia in the African continent and the possibility of that country competing with the United States in this field, he continued: Kamala Harris’s trip was made only a few days after the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to African countries. Russia is not an economic power, and it cannot be said that it has made financial investments in Africa that can compete with the West. At best, Russia has invested primarily in raw materials, such as iron, nickel, and tin, which it imports from Africa. Therefore, the US competition with Russia is not justified from an economic point of view, and it competes with Russia mainly from a military point of view.

The international affairs expert pointed to Russia’s establishment of the Wagner military group in Africa and the attempt to Russify the armies of African countries and make them dependent on Moscow and said: Although China’s influence in Africa has military dimensions, those dimensions and the effects of such power is considered more potential and for the future, but what the US finds itself in competition with is China’s economic movements.

Emphasizing that Ms. Harris’s trip to Africa is a dual approach with military and economic targets to neutralize the actions of Russia and China, Askari added: In this regard, the US has a difficult path ahead. Because China and Russia have no history of colonialism in Africa, this issue is a trump card for them. Still, the West and the US have many interventions in that continent. The US must be able to attract the public opinion of the Africans to itself, which is a challenging task.

He reminded: According to a thirty-three-year-old tradition, Chinese foreign ministers make their first foreign trip to Africa at the beginning of the New Year. This issue shows how much China has invested in Africa and assigns an essential position to it. Because in a healthy competition, the economy of the West and the economy of the United States cannot be desirable to Africans regarding the volume of production and their prices. Therefore, under the current situation, the US cannot compete with China in Africa. Still, carrying out its long-term plan through sanctions or a war of chips can shock and blow China’s position in Africa and the country’s economy.

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