Africa seeks joint partnership, not big brother influence, experts say after US-Africa-Xinhua summit | Daily News Byte

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This photo taken on December 19, 2022 shows a view of the Nairobi Central Business District in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by John Okoyo/Xinhua)

“American aid is always accompanied by conditions that clearly interfere in the internal affairs of the country … when this does not work, America continues to threaten officials with sanctions,” said Jean Emmanuel Pondi, a professor of political science and international relations at the University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon.

NAIROBI, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) — African experts hope that the commitments made by the United States at the US-Africa Leaders Summit held last week will lead to concrete actions rather than empty promises.

Forty-nine of the African Union’s 55 member states and members of civil society and the private sector were invited to attend the summit, where the United States sought to reshape its partnership with Africa in the face of deepening ties and diversifying the continent. engagement with other countries.

This was the first US-Africa summit eight years after former US President Barack Obama hosted it. During the leadership of President Donald Trump, no summit of this level was held.

The summit in Washington was the first major gathering of African leaders under US President Joe Biden. It also came months after the United States announced its revamped African policy in August.

Photo taken on Dec. 8, 2022 shows the US Capitol building in Washington, DC, the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

Aside from discussions on catalyzing investment in critical sectors including health, infrastructure, energy, agribusiness and digital technology, Biden also hosted a small group of African leaders at the White House to discuss their countries’ upcoming 2023 presidential elections and free US support. , honest and credible polls in Africa.

Although African countries need support to fill the deficit caused by various challenges, including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, African experts argue that Africa does not want any “big brother influence”.

They said the United States failed to understand that African leaders know their countries’ needs best and do not need to be lectured about their internal affairs.

Kevins Adhere, an international relations expert based in Kenya, told Xinhua that human rights, US national security interests and democracy promotion do not attract many African countries. Instead, Africa is interested in a joint partnership where the continent is an equal player on the international stage.

“The improvement of governance on the continent should not be based on the views and feelings of external partners such as the United States.” Rather, it is a function of the internal desire of African countries to modernize their governance frameworks to ensure development for the people,” Adhere said.

Many of those pledges made by the United States reflect Washington’s past promises to strengthen its partnership with the African continent, according to Adhere.

A local employee works at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Sebeta town in Oromia regional state, Ethiopia, May 31, 2022. (Xinhua/Michael Tevelde)

“Two factors are likely to hinder the fulfillment of promises. The first is the reliance on the Western private sector, which has often viewed Africa as a risky place to invest,” he said.

“Second, the insistence of the United States to use its own value judgment and system in creating cooperation agreements with African countries.” “Africans want to be treated as equal partners and would not like to be seen in Western perspectives,” he added.

Eric Ndushabandi, director of the Rwanda-based Peace Research and Dialogue Institute, said the summit was an attempt to restore the confidence of African leaders in the United States.

However, with the African continent in dire straits, especially after the wrath of the COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged drought, African experts have also expressed concern over geopolitics and US demands as the United States embarks on a charm offensive to lure Africa.

“American aid is always accompanied by conditions that clearly interfere in the internal affairs of the country … when this does not work, America continues to threaten officials with sanctions,” said Jean Emmanuel Pondi, a professor of political science and international relations at the University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon.

African experts also argued that while the summit seeks to advance partnerships between the United States and Africa in mutually agreed upon areas, the United States should also keep an open eye on the continent’s cooperation with other partners.

“All partners are welcome based on their utilitarian value.” Africa wants to engage with the United States on its own terms, not those set by the United States,” Aher said.

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