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Blinken's Africa Tour : a new USA foreign policy phase in the continent?

Last month the American Undersecretary of the State Antony Blinken announced and undertook a tour in the African continent, visiting for the first time Kenya, Nigeria e Senegal. The USA's agenda in Africa, not only for the particular and complex period due to the explosion of the Covid-19 pandemic but also for the numerous geopolitical developments happened in the last years in the continent, needed, according to the summits, an innovation and above all it needed to reiterate the active and, in certain extent, salvific presence of the USA, an historical position that we have already seen in the modern epoc. But before providing an analysis on the results and on the meaning of the Undersecretary of the State African tour, it is necessary to consider on the one hand the salient points of the USA's agenda and on the other hand which crisis and criticalities is facing the entire continent.

First of all let's start with the message released at the end of last week in Africa by Anton Blinken for the NPR: " I hold to be true that Africa will be fundamental per the future, not only for that of the african people but for that of the entire world. This is the reason why Iìve been here this week to visit three democratic countries, pulling for the economic development, climate change and innovation's motors." At the end of the visits in Africa, we can underline the main points of the so called Agenda Blinken in four crucial contents: business reationships, the struggle against the pandemic, of course, climate change with the related consequences on the continent and last and above all democracy's promotion that, according to the American undersecretery of the State's words, still remain the most important instrument for the stability and progress of the State.


For that which concerns the first point, business relationships, the attention was placed not only on the economic development but also on contents such as the infrastractural growth and the reinforcement of the key sectors, which are still not proprly used in bilateral relationships. Africa's value in the American foreign trade's financial report amount to less that 2% of the total at the moment, a sum that surely weakens the solemn words of the American undersecretary of the State, displayed before. It is concerned with aspects taht in this sense offer an easy reminder to the economic and politic competition, in primis the Chinese one, but also that of other countries extremely active such as Russia and in particular Turkey. Even if the American foreign policy in Africa doesn't concern the competition with China, Blinken himself hasn't hesitated to offer a cheap shot to the cooperation models of other countries, by substaining that too often in this years the international infrastractural agreements didn't take into account the economic, social, political and environmental needs of the individual country; obviously the guarantee is that the United States are working and will work in the future in a completely opposite way.

About the situation of Covid-19 pandemic, Blinken wanted to underline how the struggle against the virus' spread is a priority in the USA. After all Washington is one of the three most important contributors of COVAX, the initiative created by OMS, together with European Union and China. In order to promote this cooperation the Global Covid Corps has been announced, an initiative created to face the logistical necessities for what that concerns the vaccines' delivery.

Anyway, it is on sociopolitical matters that we have registered a real gear shift, in paticular in comparison with Trump's previous administration. Blinken wanted, once again, during his vistis, to focus the attention on the necessity of democratic istituition's presence e how the USA expect results from nation such as Nigeria, for what that concers corruption, human rights respect and the struggle against extremist groups. They are arguments that are really important if we observe the state of the continent. In the last years a huge number of coups d'etat took place like it didn't happen from decades, it is obvious if we think at the situation of States such as Guinea, Mali, Sudan and of course Ethiopia. There has also been opposite examples, such as democratic transitions in Zambia and Niger, but the african trend is definetely oriented at the opposite side of the coin, thet of a even more increased emergency of military and authoritative extremistic groups.



It is not a coincidence that the USA decided to act in a so active way in order to relaunch their role in Africa. In the continent the competition is become strong and we can say with security that by now the role of Beijing is become primary, for example it is from 2009 that China replaced Washington as first State for bussiness exchanges in Africa. Blinken's tour in Africa seems to confirm the will of Biden's amministration to invest more from the point of view of both the political and economical involvement, but it is still not clear enought which could be the instruments used in order to do so. In this direction the recall at the importance of democracy is seemed like a monitor to the visited State, Nigeria, Kenya and Senegal, next to the election in the following years, but also and maybe above all towards related Countries such as Sudan and Ethiopia, that are facing the deepest crisisin the continent. But, on the other side, we have also to underline how Blinken never cited directly the cometitor on the continent, such as Russia, China or the Turkey, but he only underlined the urgency of a cooperation between Usa and the african Countries, based on common interests. So it is not a surprise the reaction not particurarly welcolming from the summits and the african public opinion towards this African Tour of november, despite the fact that from one side there is satisfaction for the change happened compared to the last administration, but on the other side it is not still clear how and if this change will happened in the next future.

                                                                                                                                Translated by Veronica Luzzi


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  • L'Autore

    Giulio Ciofini

    Laureato in Scienze Internazionali e Diplomatiche all'Università di Bologna

    Autore, Framing The World, Mondo Internazionale

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From the World Sub-Saharan Africa Sections International Security Framing the World


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Africa USA Stati Uniti Antony Blinken Politica estera Relazioninternazionali Relazioni Internazionali

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