US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sought to contrast Washington's approach to Africa with that of Russia and China during a speech in Dakar, Senegal, on January 20, 2023 [Stefan Kleinowitz/AP Photo]

Yellen reasserts US commitment to Africa in Senegal visit

United States Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen has reaffirmed her country’s commitment to deepening relations and trade with Africa during a visit to Senegal, amid competition across the continent from China and Russia. “The United States is all in on Africa, and all in with Africa,” Yellen said on Friday morning at a business incubator in the Senegalese capital of Dakar, where she touted the fruits of a new “mutually beneficial” US economic strategy towards Africa.



“Our engagement is not transactional, it’s not for show, and it’s not for the short-term,” she said. Yellen’s three-country tour of the region comes just weeks after US President Joe Biden hosted the leaders of dozens of African nations, as well as the African Union, for the second US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC. The talks were a follow-up to the first such gathering hosted by former US President Barack Obama in 2014. They highlighted Biden’s efforts to strengthen ties with like-minded countries across the region.



The Biden administration unveiled a string of new economic investments and trade deals in Africa during the summit, and Biden personally expressed support for the African Union’s push for a permanent place at the Group of 20 (G20) forum of global economies.


China, which Washington has viewed as its main global competitor, has consistently outpaced the US in its investments in Africa in recent years. Russia has also been trying to rally support on the continent in response to pressure from the US and its allies over the war in Ukraine.

Last weekend, Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang ended a week-long tour of African nations, including Ethiopia, where he emphasised Beijing’s partnerships on security and economic development in the region.

Qin, whose trip included stops in Gabon, Angola, Benin and Egypt, also rejected the idea that China is competing in Africa with the US.


In an implicit contrast with China, which takes a hands-off approach in countries where it invests, Yellen said on Friday that the US has taken a “different” tack, prioritising “transparency, good governance, accountability and environmental sustainability”.

“While our approach may be exacting, we believe it delivers lasting results,” said Yellen, who is expected to meet Senegal’s Minister of Finance Mamadou Moustapha Ba and President Macky Sall later in the day.

She is scheduled to travel to Zambia on Sunday, and later to South Africa.



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