September 27, 2022

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US Secretary of State visits Africa to counter Russia's influence

US Secretary of State visits Africa to counter Russia’s influence

JOHANNESBURG – AFP

The South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the visit of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Sunday, before heading to the Democratic Republic of Congo and then Rwanda.

The visit comes on the heels of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s tour of Africa.

South Africa has taken a neutral stance since the start of the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24, refusing to join Western condemnation of Moscow.

On Monday, Pretoria announced in a statement that Blinken would meet with Secretary of State Naldi Ponder to make several announcements regarding the US government’s new African strategy.

According to the talk, it deals with “recent and current developments in the global geopolitical scenario”.

The U.S. State Department said at the end of July, “Blinken will try to demonstrate that African countries have a fundamental geopolitical role and are critical partners in addressing the most pressing issues of our time and in fostering an open and sustainable international system to manage the effects of climate change, food insecurity and global pandemics.”

After Johannesburg, Blinken will visit the Democratic Republic of Congo and then Rwanda, which is facing renewed tensions with its neighbour, which it accuses of supporting the “March 23 Movement” (M23) rebels, which Kigali denies.

This will be the US secretary of state’s second trip to sub-Saharan Africa since taking office, following visits to Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal last year.

Before the Russian attack on Ukraine, US diplomacy in Africa focused on competing with China, which made major investments in infrastructure on the African continent, without linking its investments to democracy and human rights as the US does.

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