US national security adviser John Bolton railed against what he called “predatory practices” by China and Russia in Africa, which pose a threat to the established but neglected American presence on the continent. “China uses bribes, opaque agreements and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing’s wishes and demands,” said Bolton. “We are already seeing the disturbing effects of China’s quest to obtain more political, economic and military power.”
Bolton also said that the Trump administration would rescind from aid relationships with corrupt governments and look more closely at UN peacekeeping missions in regions such as the Congo that has so far failed to contain violence. “Unfortunately, billions and billions of US taxpayer dollars have not achieved the desired effects,” he said, citing $8.7 billion spent last year on African development, security, and food provision.
Successive US presidents have been criticized for not paying enough attention to Africa, allowing China to present itself as a provider of low-cost, no-strings-attached investment. “The Trump administration’s new Africa Strategy reflects a more accurate understanding of the fast-changing dynamics within Africa,” said Landry Signe of the Brookings Institution, “but the strategy doesn’t seem sufficient to effectively address the United States’ threatened economic, security, and influence interests.”