News / Africa

Analysts See Opening for US to Challenge China in Africa

Analysts See Opening for US to Challenge China in Africai
X
July 02, 2013 1:31 AM
President Obama is on the last leg of his three-nation tour of Africa, aimed at promoting U.S. trade with the continent. As Washington turns a fresh eye toward a continent that Mr. Obama describes as about to “take off," U.S. government officials and investors alike will find that geopolitical rival China has already made huge strides there. Natalie Liu has more from Washington.]]
Natalie Liu
President Obama is on the last leg of his three-nation tour of Africa, aimed at promoting U.S. trade with the continent.  As Washington turns a fresh eye toward a continent that Obama describes as about to “take off," U.S. government officials and investors alike will find that geopolitical rival China has already made huge strides there. 

China’s footprint in Africa is huge.  The 20-story African Union tower (in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia) which Beijing donated to the continental group is a testament to the size of Beijing’s ambition.

“Every country, as it achieves global greatness, seeks to leave behind major landmarks that become evidence of its ascendance into global power," said Wole Soboyejo.

Winston Wole Soboyejo spoke to VOA via Skype.  He is a professor at Princeton University.  

“We must make sure that we combine these monuments with the development of people, because ultimately, it is people-centered development that really matters," he said.

China has long described its relationship with Africa as a relationship between “brothers” in the “anti-colonialist struggle.”  Beijing’s recent rise as a commercial power interested in Africa’s rich natural resources has aroused a degree of concern on the continent.  

Longtime Chinese activist Wei Jingsheng says Chinese investment in Africa often is tainted with corruption, a trait that travels abroad with Chinese state-owned or private enterprises which have become all too used to it at home.

“These people - they’re used to doing business in a corrupt manner inside China, they take it with them to Africa - it inevitably causes resentment and resistance from ordinary people in Africa," said Jingsheng.

Wei says U.S. and European corporations have been slow to invest in Africa because of the high risks involved, leaving an open door for China.

“Now both U.S. and European countries realize this approach is problematic, that Africa has almost been turned into China’s backyard; Americans and Europeans now are rushing to find ways to change the situation.  I’m not sure what they’ll do," he said.

Professor Soboyejo, a native of Nigeria, says many Africans would welcome a greater U.S. involvement on the continent.

“Many people view and appreciate many things in the U.S. - for example, they admire the U.S. educational institutions, they admire many things about the U.S.’s ability to manage its environment, they admire the quality of certain things that come out of the U.S. such as its movie industry, its ingenuity in IT," he said.

He also says the United States can win new friends and build opportunities for investment in Africa by stressing its commitment to free expression and its tradition of welcoming immigrants from many different backgrounds.

“I think with those kinds of investments by the U.S., with those kinds of connections by the U.S., you will see that Africa will become an increasingly vital trade partner in ways that will benefit both sides," said Soboyejo.

President Obama seems to agree that the time is right.  In a speech this weekend in South Africa, he said Washington is ready to up its game with new trade and investment and the possible renewal of AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act), the act that removed tarrifs for many exports from the continent.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid