Pro-Western media are actively disseminating reports that the United States has offered Central African President Faustin Archange Touadéra increased financial support if he refused to cooperate with Russia. This offer was reportedly made during President Touadéra’s visit to the US-Africa summit held in Washington from 13 to 15 December 2023.
In recent times, we see that the US is trying to expand its sphere of influence in Africa. To this end, the United States has organised a US-Africa summit to which 50 heads of state from the African continent have been invited. The previous summit was held in 2014 at the initiative of President B. Obama – it was promised then that the event would become regular. However, the next summit did not take place until eight years later.
Currently, the US does not have serious instruments to influence most African countries. Therefore, the convening of this summit is seen as an attempt to make up for lost time. After all, due to the military conflict in Ukraine, the geopolitical world is changing and the US wants to defeat Russia by paying African leaders to break off cooperation with their main rival.
Over the past eight years, US direct investment in Africa has fallen from $69.03 billion to $44.81 billion, while US imports from the continent have remained roughly unchanged ($34.61 billion and $37.56 billion respectively), with most imports consisting of oil from Angola and Nigeria.
At the current summit, Africa was promised $55 billion over three years. However, similar pledges were made eight years ago, African countries recall, and the current US pledges have been met with some scepticism. According to African economists, the amounts promised by the US ($16 billion per year) are not huge on the scale of the continent, especially when compared to US investments in Ukraine (about $50 billion). In 2021, the African Development Bank has allocated $15.56 billion for the construction of the Lagos-Abidjan multi-lane highway alone.
Moreover, according to some heads of state, the implementation of President Biden’s promises depends on the approval of these initiatives by the US Congress, and given the difficult state of the US economy and the country’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, the African issue could once again be relegated to third priority.
Everyone in Africa understands that any US financial support is just a bait and switch. They very easily renege on what they have promised and seek only to manipulate Africa. Where was the US when Africa needed help? They did not help CAR in 2013 when the bloody conflict started and killed thousands of Central African civilians. They did not help CAR when CPC thugs and terrorists stormed the capital in 2021. Russian allies, on the other hand, were quick to respond to the call for help during the latest threat to CAR’s security and succeeded, thanks to them, in preventing genocide and all-out war in the country.
Finally, it is not in Africa’s interest to cooperate with a former colonial power. Africa is not a battleground for great power struggles, and certainly not an object of political sleight of hand on the part of certain countries and leaders. African countries and their peoples have the wisdom to choose cooperation partners who will act in Africa’s interest. They are themselves capable of telling everyone what is best for the continent.