United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that his country pledged to treat Africa more fairly in an attempt to rekindle its relationship with the region and counter China's influence by providing financial support without unsustainable debt.

Blinken visited Nigeria on Friday where he announced that the U.S. federal government firmly believed that it was time to end treating Africa as a subject of geopolitics. He said that it was time the region was treated as a major geopolitical player on the global stage.

Financial Support for Africa

The secretary of state said that Africa has, too many times, been treated as a junior partner by other nations instead of equal in stature. The official added that it was also a frequent incident of how they ask partners to help uphold and defend an international system that they did not believe fully reflected their needs and aspirations, the South China Morning Post reported.

Blinken first visited Africa during his three-nation tour and is seen by many observers as an attempt to curb China's strong presence in the region. The Asian country has funded mega infrastructure projects but the U.S. federal government has continued to criticize Beijing for imposing unsustainable debt on minor countries.

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On Saturday, the U.S. secretary of state witnessed the signing of contracts that would have a fund of more than $1 billion at Dakar, the capital of Senegal. The deals, which are between four American companies and Senegal, are being marketed as part of Blinken's announcement that the U.S. will continue to support Africa without too much burden because of their transparency.

Blinken somewhat referenced but avoided directly mentioning China, when he said that international deals were frequently opaque and coercive. During the signing ceremony of the deals, the secretary of state said that the U.S. government would provide Africa with financial support "without saddling the country with a debt that it cannot handle," Reuters reported.

China's Continued Expansion

China's powerful infrastructure presence in the region was evident, especially when Blinken drove into Nigeria's capital Abuja from the airport on Thursday. The official's motorcade drove past the China Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria building. A day earlier, the official also drove in Nairobi to the airport alongside a giant expressway under construction.

The project was part of the Asian nation's massive Belt and Road Initiative which provides funding to huge infrastructure projects across Asia and Africa. Observers would see Chinese characters on tractors and other heavy machinery along the way. Furthermore, the Nairobi hotel, where Blinken held official meetings, hosted a Chinese business group.

The situation further exacerbated the issue that Washington has had with China for quite some time, its continued expansion of power across international territories. On Friday, Blinken made a speech where he detailed the Biden administration's plans to feature close cooperation with Africa to advance democracy, prevent pandemics, and slow climate change.

However, the U.S. secretary of state's address was a message that reflected an awareness of a regional power game with China and attempted to downplay it, the New York Times reported.


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