The US-Africa Trade Summit is rapidly approaching, and diplomatic tensions started to mount between the great powers. Indeed, the fact that the Summit will be hosted by South Africa in December of this year, creates tensions between the United States and China.
South Africa is one of the founding members of the BRICS alliance. For China, this is a conflict of interest because this summit is seen as an attempt by the United States to counter China’s growing influence in Africa.
The stated purpose of the US-Africa trade summit is to promote economic cooperation and trade between the United States and African countries. The summit is expected to bring together government officials, business leaders, and civil society representatives from both the United States and Africa to discuss ways to boost trade, investment, and job creation. The summit is also seen as an opportunity for the United States to counter China's growing influence in Africa.
Several African countries, including Nigeria, Algeria, and Angola, have boycotted the summit, arguing that it is a divisive event that undermines African unity. They also argue that the United States does not have a genuine interest in African development, and that the summit is simply a ploy to promote US economic interests.
South Africa has defended its decision to host the summit, arguing that it is an opportunity to attract much-needed investment to the country and to boost trade between Africa and the United States. The South African government has also said that the summit will be an opportunity to discuss important issues such as climate change, food security, and peace and security.
The diplomatic tensions over the summit highlight the growing rivalry between the United States and China for influence in Africa. China has become Africa's largest trading partner, and Chinese investment in Africa has increased significantly in recent years. The United States is concerned about China's growing influence in Africa, and the summit is seen as an attempt to counter China's growing presence in the region.
More importantly, this summit could create tensions between China and South Africa. Both countries are founding members of the BRICS alliance, and the fact that South Africa decided to create a trade partnership with the United States could be compromising for the bloc because it could jeopardize the de-dollarization strategy that the other BRICS members have been working on for several years. This summit could break the trust that China has in South Africa.
China is currently in a much weaker position than the United States. Indeed, the Chinese economy has not grown since the pandemic. And macroeconomic conditions worsened to the point that Chinese statistical agencies decided to no longer publish official reports about their economy. Thus, the summit could influence many wannabe BRICS members to retract their membership from the alliance.
The summit is also taking place at a time when Africa is facing a number of challenges, including rising inflation, food insecurity, and climate change. The African Union has warned that the continent is facing a "perfect storm" of crises, and that urgent action is needed to address these challenges.
It remains to be seen how the US-Africa trade summit will impact Africa. Some experts believe that the summit could lead to increased US investment in Africa and boost trade between the two continents. Others believe that the summit will be divisive and undermine African unity. Only time will tell what the long-term impact of the summit will be.