US President Donald Trump outlined his Africa policy in sharp terms asking African nations to stick to the US and look askance at help from China and Russia. In addition, taking a cue from its civilisational rivals, the US is pivoting from helping Africa through aid to providing assistance in the form of industrial development.
America’s $50 billion programme for Africa named Prosper Africa will provide technical assistance to companies seeking to grow or to enter into Africa. The initiative was announced in Mozambique, where 11 African heads of state and more than 1000 business leaders are meeting for a US-Africa business summit.
Africa is projected to have more than 1.5 billion consumers by 2025 and the Chinese have established considerable influence and leverage over African nations through a combination of aid, industrial and infrastructure development, and education and cultural programmes. Trump’s Prosper Africa is a bid to counter not only the Chinese influence, but also a developing Russian interest in Africa.
Specifically, the Trump administration seeks to search for business opportunities, reduce trade barriers, connect companies to financing, and boost commerce, US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Karen Kelley told the summit.
Already Texas energy company Andarko has given approval to start building a $20 billion gas liquefaction and export terminal in Mozambique. The project is the biggest such project ever approved in Africa.
According to US media, the US International Development Finance Corporation will double the amount of money available for investment in low-income countries including African nations. The DFC, a governmental agency created through a bipartisan move in Congress, will start operations in October 2019.
The US DFC’s stated mission is to “provide financially sound alternatives to state-led initiatives by countries like China and to help countries sidestep “opaque and unsustainable debt traps laid by Beijing throughout the developing world.”