U.S.-China great-power competition in Africa is well under way. In recent years, China has significantly advanced its strategic economic, political, and military interests across the continent. Beijing has used its wide-ranging Belt and Road Initiative and other means of economic engagement to expand influence and market access globally, including in sub-Saharan Africa. This is not news. Less reported is that China is increasing its influence over governments and elites across Africa, impairing budding democratic practices along the way.
America’s increasing focus on rivalry with China ensures that U.S. Africa policy will continue to be viewed, at least in part, through a China lens.
Chinese government-linked entities are exploiting and exacerbating “governance gaps” in vulnerable countries, using corruption and a lack of transparency to conclude deals that undermine political accountability and ensure China’s long-term influence. Beijing is also coopting journalists and using targeted propaganda and investments in the media sector to shape the information environment to its advantage in places across Africa.
America’s increasing focus on rivalry with China ensures that U.S. Africa policy will continue to be viewed, at least in part, through a China lens. It is critical, however, that the new Biden Administration avoid approaches that have led to failures in the past, including adopting an overly “securitized” approach to the continent and making generalizations about “debt-trap diplomacy” while overlooking Beijing’s efforts to undermine governance and coopt African elites.
Read the full article from American Purpose.
More from CNAS
PodcastSamuel Bendett on AI Development in Russia
What is happening in Russia right now with regards to development of artificial intelligence? In today’s bingecast, Samuel Bendett and Robert J. Marks discuss Russian military...
By Samuel Bendett
CommentaryThe United States Can’t Afford the Brutal Price of Chinese Solar Panels
Buying Chinese solar panels to reduce emissions is like using gas to put out a fire....
By Henry Wu
CommentaryIsrael’s growing ties to China are testing its relationship with the U.S.
As a sovereign, high-tech, democratic powerhouse, Israel has a fundamental stake in the contest between China and the free world....
By David Feith
VideoBank of Russia Hiked Rates
Elina Ribakova discusses how the spike in Covid-19 cases and new restrictions could affect the Russian economy with Bloomberg's Alix Steel and Guy Johnson. Watch the full vid...
By Elina Ribakova