US Treasury chief heads to Africa to 'deepen' economic ties
The US Treasury Secretary plans to discuss the implementation of the US-Africa Strategic Partnership on Food Security during a visit to Africa.
US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen will visit Senegal, Zambia, and South Africa from January 17-28 to discuss the economy and food security, the Treasury Department confirmed on Friday.
In a statement, the Department pointed out that "while in Africa, Secretary Yellen will highlight the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to deepen US-Africa economic ties, including by expanding trade and investment flows and promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth."
During her visit, Yellen will raise food security issues and "underscore the spillover effects" of the Ukraine war, which the United States says "have disproportionately hurt developing countries in Africa and globally," the Department indicated.
"The Secretary will note the steps the US has taken to boost food security, including through over $13.5 billion in assistance, a call for international financial institutions to develop and implement an Action Plan to Address Food Insecurity and new support to the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program," the statement also read.
The Treasury Department added that Yellen plans to discuss the implementation of the US-Africa Strategic Partnership on Food Security launched at the African Leaders Summit.
According to the Department, the trip follows the US-Africa Leaders Summit held last month in Washington, where US President Joe Biden announced over $15 billion in two-way trade and investment commitments, deals, and partnerships, in an attempt to keep up with the growing Chinese and Russian cooperation with the African nations.
#China is reinforcing its economical presence in #Africa, as the #US scatters to boost its declining investment in the continent, amid fears of losing its influence. pic.twitter.com/G25CD8KtwW— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) August 17, 2022
Read more: US-Africa Summit attempt to assert competition against China: Experts
Chinese FM: Africa 'debt trap' allegations 'unreasonable'
On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang refuted claims that a "Chinese debt trap" was emerging throughout the continent.
During a visit to the African Union's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Qin considered that the so-called "debt trap" is faulty rhetoric that has been pinned onto the relationship between China and African nations.
In this regard, Chatham House, the international affairs think tank in London, highlighted that China is responsible for just approximately 12% of Africa's total foreign debt, which is estimated at $700 billion.
South Africa accepts docking of Russian ship despite US warnings
A few days ago, the Maritime Executive reported that the acceptance of a port call by a sanctioned Russian freighter has raised concerns among US officials.
The Russian Ro-Ro/freighter Lady R is a ship owned by sanctioned Russian shipowner Transmorflot which has recently rebranded as MG-FLOT.
It is one of seven companies that were sanctioned by the US Treasury in May 2022 due to the conflict in Ukraine.
But even though the firm was blacklisted, Lady R continued its trade activities and made several port calls across the world, including Alexandria, Kolkata, and Kochi.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the visit of the Lady R ship caused strained relations between Washington and Pretoria.
The newspaper cited a senior US official as expressing Washington's concerns about the claimed support provided by the South African armed forces to the Russian ship, including allowing it to enter and transport cargo at a naval base.
According to the US official, when the United States learned last November that Lady R was heading to South Africa, the US Embassy alerted the South African government to the fact that the ship was under sanctions.
The official stated at the time that the Embassy had not received any response to its warning about the ship from the South African government.
On January 7, Thandi Modise, South Africa's Minister of Defense and Military Veterans criticized the US for attempting to intimidate African nations into not doing business with Russia, according to Eyewitness News.
Modise underlined that African nations should reject the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act, which aims to penalize any African companies or individuals conducting business with Russia.
"We cannot be bullied simply because we are a growing economy. We have national interests, we have regional interests, [so] we must make sure we stand our ground where it counts," she considered.
Read more: West is losing influence in Africa: Eritrean ambassador to Russia
US-Africa Summit comments show US' inability to equal dialogue: Russia
In mid-December, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova considered that the anti-Russian and anti-Chinese statements made by the US during the US-Africa Summit prove its inability to have equal dialogue and fair competition.
"Once again, Washington demonstrates its inability to equal dialogue and fair competition, and its assurances of the freedom of choice of African countries testify to double standards," Zakharova said in a statement.
According to the Russian spokesperson, a striking example is "the so-called Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act," which provides for collective punishment for any cooperation with Russia.
"Such a restriction of basic political and economic freedoms speaks of unfair competition and a crude imposition of the Western agenda on other countries," she said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson emphasized Russia's solidarity with African friends who, she said, "despite the colossal pressure from the West, including the threat of ending financial support, take an independent position, primarily in the context of the situation around Ukraine."
Zakharova stressed that Moscow supports the right of countries to choose their political and economic partners and to follow their own values and civilization path of development without having concerns about being punished.
Read more: South Africa ANC party calls for more Global South inclusion in BRICS