News / Africa

US Takes Different Approach to Africa than China

US Takes Different Approach to Africa Than Chinai
Luis Ramirez
August 06, 2014 11:50 PM
President Barack Obama's effort to engage Africa brought together the largest summit of African leaders ever held in Washington. But China has hosted such summits before, and the U.S. gathering highlights what some see as a belated U.S. effort to catch up and expand its economic ties with Africa. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
US Takes Different Approach to Africa Than China
Luis Ramirez

President Barack Obama's effort to engage Africa brought together the largest summit of African leaders ever held in Washington. But China has hosted such summits before, and the U.S. gathering highlights what some see as a belated U.S. effort to catch up and expand its economic ties with Africa.

The might of large American corporations like Coca Cola is powering the Obama administration's latest efforts to build its partnership with Africa.

The company at the summit announced it's boosting its investment by $5 billion in safe water and other programs.

China, too, has invested heavily -- doing twice as much trade with Africa as the U.S. But Beijing has been accused of ignoring governance and human rights issues.

Corporate investment

Obama announced $14 billion of American corporate investment at the Africa summit, but indicated the United States will have a different approach.

“Capital is one thing. Development programs and projects are one thing. But, but rule of law? Regulatory reform? Good governance? Those things matter even more, because people should be able to start a business and ship their goods without having to pay a bribe or hire somebody's cousin.”

This was a big summit, but Beijing started hosting equally large numbers of African leaders 14 years ago.

U.S. officials say there is no competition with China for Africa.

Human rights, governance

Analyst Richard Downie agrees. "I think at heart, the U.S. and China have mutual interests in Africa. They're both interested in peace, stability and security because that's the best environment in which to grow markets and do business."

He said the U.S. seeks a new kind of engagement.

“The U.S. has traditionally focused very much on development issues, on tackling some of the big public health crises in Africa, such as HIV/AIDS and trying to resolve some of the most persistent conflicts," said Downie. "So it’s really focused on the downsides, the problems of Africa rather than the upside, the economic opportunities that China is focused on.”

This summit focused on the upside, with economic issues taking center stage. There were no sessions devoted to rule of law and justice. White House officials said leaders had a chance to talk about those issues on the sidelines.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Mehmet from: Ankara
August 07, 2014 4:15 PM
turn africa into another detroit..that is the difference.

by: Peter Wu from: canada
August 07, 2014 11:33 AM
yeah, America, try to copy China now? too late and you dont have the money, dude! there is nothing left for america to do in Africa, get out of there.
if you want to help, ok, learn how to shut up first!
In Response

by: Peter wu from: Canada
August 09, 2014 2:46 AM
@mike, are you kidding me? Win win? Did Iraq war has a win win? Or Afghanistan has a win win? Or, Libya, Ukraine?
Where America goes where is chaos, death, everyone loses including America itself. America wasted trillions and thousands soldiers lives in Iraq, but after ten years there is still a mess in Iraq, ppl's life is much worse than under sadams rule!
Mike you are either a troll or an idiot!
In Response

by: Mike from: Canada
August 08, 2014 9:59 AM
When you deal with U.S., there is win-win situation. When you deal with China, China only takes and the other country loose, example Africa and South East Asia. Even Burma doesn't want to deal with China, next Vietnam.

by: Tony from: USA
August 07, 2014 8:49 AM
Hey OmBanana... LOL... you are right, the "pivot" to Asia didn't work... it looks like a stupid joke. and Yeah, we are all looking for new imports of Ebola from Africa... courtesy of the UN... LOL. This idiotic Administration has demoralized our best friends (Israel, Britain) and encouraged our worst enemies (Hamas, Palestinian Jihad, ISIL, Hizbulla, Iran.........)

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs