Expert on US-China competition in Africa during the new Biden era

Expert on US-China competition in Africa during the new Biden era

The US Elections 2020 have been closely followed by numerous Africans. Dr Bob Wekesa from the African Centre for the Study of the United States at Wits University explains the impact of the elections and how China heavily factors in.

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On Thursday, Chinese foreign minister, who is also a top Communist Party of China official officiated an event in Beijing commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the Forum in China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

FOCAC is the main foreign policy mechanism through which African countries engage with China.

At the same time, wrangling was going on in the US as President Donal Trump refused to concede defeat at the hands of Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., the man he denigrated during the campaigns as “sleepy Joe”.

During the Trump administration ties with Africa were somewhat neglected. Image: Twitter/ @JoeBiden
Source: UGC

Whether the event in Beijing's toast to FOCAC was coincidental or planned is a matter of conjecture. What is clear is that Beijing seems to be on firm ground in its engagement with Africa compared to Washington.

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As a shambolic post-election period dogs Uncle Sam, Beijing has been building on productive relations since 2000.

In his speech, Wang essentially reset the relations indicating that in the coming months, the relations will be guided by four policy agendas. These are:

  • Africa-China solidarity under the rubric of “community with a shared future”,
  • Chinese assistance to Africa with regards to COVID-19, especially with availing vaccines when they become available,
  • China’s support for African infrastructure
  • Industrial development, commitment to multilateralism.

Africa is basically torn between the US and China particularly in matters trade and economics but also as related to global geopolitics.

A new administration in Washington may indicate a reset of the relations. But will it pan out?

Much has been said about the possibilities of greater engagements between Africa and the US during the Biden administration.

This is with the hindsight of neglect for the relations at the White House level during the Trump administration.

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In these circumstances, many African countries effectively turned East to China for all manner of bilateral and multilateral engagements.

The US will need a solid framework of engagement with the continent if it is to match the coherence from Beijing.

Earlier, reported that Joe Biden has, according to predictions, won Pennsylvania and the election after amassing 273 of the 270 electoral votes needed.

The election took place on Tuesday, 3 November and has vote counting has been delayed due to mail-in ballots and the enormous amount of people who voted.

The race was down to the wire, with a few key states still counting votes, with the margins so narrow, no clear winner could be decided.

However, the election is not over and there may be months ahead before the decision is official due to recounts and challenges to the voting process. The official results will only be revealed on the 14 of December barring any further delays.

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