19 Jan Deeper ties on Yellen’s mind as U.S begins year of African engagement
DAKAR, Jan 19 (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will kick off a year of visits by top U.S. officials to Africa on Friday aiming to firm up U.S.-Africa ties after decades in which China has dominated investment across the continent.
In a speech to be delivered at a business event in Senegal’s capital Dakar, the first leg of her three-country trip, Yellen will map out the U.S. vision for strengthening African relations, eyeing the massive economic opportunities created by its demographic boom.
With stops planned in Zambia and South Africa, Yellen’s visit comes after a lengthy meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Zurich on Tuesday, when both sides underscored the need for greater coordination on global challenges such as climate change and food security. U.S. officials said the increased engagement by President Joe Biden and U.S. officials was aimed at deepening existing ties with Africa, but they are also pitching what they say is a more sustainable alternative to China’s collateralised loans and non-market approach.
“We’re here for the U.S.-Africa relationship. And that’s kind of it, full stop. It’s not about … U.S.-China dynamics,” one senior Treasury official told reporters. The concept of “playing out broader geopolitics between ourselves and another third country on the African continent is exactly the opposite of the kind of relationship that we want to build and strengthen with Africa”, a second senior Treasury official added.
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