US to Reorient Trade Deals, Aid to Africa
The Trump administration has unveiled a new strategy toward Africa, saying that U.S. interests and priorities must come first in all dealings with the continent.
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton outlined at the new strategy in Washington Thursday.
He said trade and commercial ties must benefit both the U.S. and African countries. And he said the U.S. will no longer provide "indiscriminate aid" and will no longer support "unproductive, unsuccessful and unaccountable U.N. peacekeeping missions."
"We will target U.S. funding toward key countries and particular strategic objectives. All U.S. aid on the continent will advance U.S. interests, and help African nations move toward self-reliance," Bolton told an audience at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
Part of Bolton's speech dealt with China, which has invested tens of billions of dollars in Africa over the past decade, much of it on large-scale infrastructure projects.
Bolton said China is using big loans and opaque agreements to make Africa "captive to Beijing's wishes and demands." He singled out cases in Zambia and Djibouti where he said Chinese enterprises are set to take over a state power company and a key port, respectively.
Bolton said that in contrast, the U.S. will pursue bilateral trade agreements with African countries that help support American jobs and expand access for U.S. exports, while promoting sustainable growth in Africa.
Bolton also said the administration is developing a new foreign assistance strategy to improve the effectiveness of U.S. foreign aid. The U.S. has provided more than $8 billion in aid to Africa in each of the past two fiscal years.
Bolton said the U.S. will not fund "corrupt autocrats who used the money to fill their coffers at the expense of their people, to commit gross human rights violations."
He said the U.S. is reviewing assistance to South Sudan to ensure its aid does not prolong a civil war there, now entering its sixth year. "We will not provide loans or more American resources to a South Sudanese government led by the same morally bankrupt leaders," he said.
Bolton also promised continued U.S. support to fight ISIS, al-Qaida and their affiliates on the continent.