By Fidel Amakye Owusu

1. Last week’s US-Africa Summit was a diplomatic success.

2. President Biden’s political correctness and experience came to bear as the unsavoury words used by the last occupant of the White House in similar occasions were absent.

3. The host declared that “the United States is all in on Africa’s future.” In fact, the US has always been interested in Africa, especially since the mid-20 century.

4 What is unique about this declaration is the fact that the US recognizes that it has not done “enough” in Africa in recent decades. China, Russia and other powers seem more focused on the continent than Washington has been.

5. While the Summit produced $15 billion worth of investment deals and $55 billion of pledged assistance over 3 years, some important issues need to be considered if the US could make some positive impact in the long run.

6. What are these?

7. The US should not repeat the Cold War politics in Africa as it competes with China and Russia.

8. That had meant supporting governments and leaders irrespective of how they treated their populations and stole from them. With that, human rights abuses, corruption, authoritarianism among other ills are ignored as long as leaders and governments tilted towards Washington.

9. While post-Cold War US, and particularly the Biden administration generally do not seem to prop up authoritarian regimes, the heavy presence of China and Russia and the determination of Washington to overtake them make it difficult to rule out the return of “containment” politics in Africa.

10. Ignoring these values in order to win the hearts of African governments may be dangerous.

12. As I have written earlier, the young African population has expansive access to information, and may respond negatively to nations that support their domestic oppressors.

13. The case where Mobutu Sese Seko and Hisene Habre of Zaire and Chad were hosted in the White House during the Cold War may not be taken lightly this time round.

14. Why aren’t China and Russia held in the same way by Africans?

15. Africans are aware China and Russia are not democracies or true democracies. Yes, the US is measured differently.

16. The US, while engaging with governments of Africa must put the people first.

17. Here is the catch; if this could be well achieved, the US must increase investments and support that match or (if possible) surpasses other competitors.That’s only when governments will take it engagements on the continent more seriously together with its values.

18. There must therefore be a balancing act of cooperating with governments while ensuring that it does not compromise on its values.

19. Many more…

By Fidel Amakye Owusu – International Relations and Security Analyst and Writer

Article Reproduced with Permission from Fidel Amakye Owusu

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