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

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid