News / Asia

Clinton Answers China's Challenge in Africa

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the University of Dakar, in Dakar, Senegal, August 1, 2012.U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the University of Dakar, in Dakar, Senegal, August 1, 2012.
x
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the University of Dakar, in Dakar, Senegal, August 1, 2012.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the University of Dakar, in Dakar, Senegal, August 1, 2012.
Terry Wing
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told leaders in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, on Wednesday that Africa’s best hope for economic prosperity lies with democratic institutions and open markets. 

Underlying her message was a challenge to China’s increasing influence on the continent.

Dakar was the first stop on an 11-day Africa tour for Secretary Clinton, and the unabashed theme of her trip is to make sure African leaders know the difference between deals made with the United States and those made with China.
   
The challenge that Clinton faces is daunting.

China’s Economic Clout
 
China surpassed the United States in 2009 to become Africa’s largest trading partner.  Chinese aid and investment in Africa have also grown rapidly.   

Chinese officials announced last month that some 2,000 Chinese companies now have dealings in Africa, with investments totaling $14.7 billion - an increase of 60 percent in two years.
 
Washington was also caught by surprise last month when Chinese Premier Hu Jintao announced to 50 African leaders at a forum in Beijing his promise to provide $20 billion in foreign aid -- twice as much as was promised three years earlier.
 
At the heart of China’s aggressive move in Africa is its plan to gain access to the continent’s rich energy and mineral resources needed to drive its own rapid economic expansion.  
 
African leaders, like South African President Jakob Zuma, have been impressed by what they call China’s willingness to treat them like equals.   It was a pointed criticism at Western ways of the past. 

Addressing Senagalese leaders on Wednesday, Clinton said those days are over.
 
“The days of having outsiders come and extract the wealth of Africa for themselves, leaving nothing or very little behind, should be over in the 21st century," she said.
 
Clinton’s Warning

Clinton cited pledge made by U.S. President Barack Obama during a landmark speech on Africa during a 2009 visit to Ghana.  Obama said that the United States would offer Africa "partnership, not patronage." 

Clinton said the president's comments then should be headed now when African leaders consider doing business with Chinese companies.
 
"Throughout my trip across Africa this week, I will be talking about what that means - about a model of sustainable partnership that adds value, rather than extracts it," she said.
 
Clinton never mentioned China by name during her Dakar address.  Still it was obvious who she was talking about when she drew political comparisons the two rivals. 
 
“Over the long run you cannot have effective economic liberalization without political liberalization. Without the rule of law, people with a good business idea or money to invest cannot trust that contracts will be honored and corruption punished… or that regulations will be transparent and disputes resolved fairly," Clinton told her Senegalese hosts.  

WShe encouraged African leaders to view democratic reform as a key to sustainable development, and not as an afterthought.

The American Advantage

In the past U.S. officials, including Clinton, have expressed deep reservations over China's exploitation of Africa's raw materials without regard for human rights and democratic principles.

In Dakar, Clinton acknowledged that U.S. policies haven’t always lined up with its principles.  But she said Washington wants to build relationships that are not “transactional or transitory,” and are built on values not shared with its Asian competitior.

“They are built on a foundation on shared democratic values and respect for the universal human rights of every man and woman,” Clinton said.

Clinton’s message is what Washington sees as its competitive advantage over China – the belief that Africa’s best chance for achieving good governance and better living standards lie with partners like the United States.

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets Kofi Annan and his wife Nane Lagergren at the funeral of Ghana President John Atta Mills, in Accra, Ghana, August 10, 2012.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, left, meets with Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama, at his residence in Accra, Ghana, August 9, 2012.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a clinic at Delft township on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, August 8, 2012.
  • South Africa's Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, left, and Hillary Clinton visit the Delft South Clinic in Delft South, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, August 8, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton meets with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel at his home in Qunu, South Africa, August 6, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton and South Africa's Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane see a rare snow flurry as they leave business meetings in Pretoria, South Africa, August 7, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton walks out with African Union Chair-Designate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma after their meeting at Brynterion Estate in Pretoria, South Africa, August 7, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton dances with Emille Phiri, chair of the Lumbadzi Milk Bulking Group, Lilongwe, Malawi, August 5, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton meets with Malawi's President Joyce Banda at the State House in Lilongwe, Malawi, August 5, 2012.
  • Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki, with Hillary Clinton (R) and his vice president Kalonzo Musyoka (L), leaves after a meeting at State House in Nairobi August 4, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton is met by Uganda's Foreign Affairs Minister Okello Oryem upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, August 3, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton shakes hands with Bishop Elias Taban in Juba August 3, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton meets with South Sudan President Salva Kiir, August 3, 2012, at the Presidential Office Building in Juba.
  • Hillary Clinton, accompanied by President Macky Sall, speaks at the Presidential Palace in Dakar, August 1, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton shakes hands with staff from the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, August 1, 2012.
  • The shadow of Hillary Clinton on a Senegalese flag before she spoke at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, August 1, 2012.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Eric from: US
August 04, 2012 10:32 AM
VOA journalists/State Department, dream on! Mere words and PR campaigns will never change what's going on in reality on the ground. Never forget; when white's deal with blacks, there is a legacy of the past 100, 200, 300 years of hard data to draw from about the behavior of whites towards blacks; we can harp on the good actions of the few (a skill the West has finessed), but to those who lived under the boot of oppression our "genes/psyches" are encoded with the evils perpetrated on our forbearers and still manufactured today. With Asia we have only harmony.


by: Jeff from: USA
August 02, 2012 11:31 AM
without actual means to improve normal African people's life and living, all those talks are just empty and sometimes may be very dirty.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid