There is nothing new in the new strategy unveiled by the United States for Africa and that Washington should not try to win the continent's favor by maligning China and Russia, according to a Zambian expert.
When unveiling the new strategy for Africa last Friday, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said the Trump administration plans to counter the rapidly expanding economic and political influence of China and Russia in Africa, accusing the two nations of using corrupt business practices with little regard to the rule of law.
There is nothing new in what the United States is offering Africa in its new strategy and that the move is a mark of growing uncertainty by the Trump administration on what China is doing for Africa, said Misheck Mwanza, director of Zambia Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies.
"Looking at the whole speech, one can easily tell that the influence of China has not sat well with the U.S., and the fact that the U.S. is not making a critical departure from what they have been doing all along is not helping the situation," he said.
Mwanza, a former diplomat, said Washington's new strategy lacks depth and only seeks to downgrade and undermine China's influence in Africa.
He said previous U.S. strategies for Africa have not produced any tangible benefits.
Mwanza cited the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) initiative, which was unveiled to enhance market access to the U.S. market by selected sub-Saharan African countries, as one example.
"We failed to penetrate the U.S. market because the little that was being generated was subjected to rigorous scrutiny. What capacities has the U.S. created now for Africa to produce those products that can enter their market?" he said.
Mwanza urged African nations to come up with their own development strategies that suit their local needs instead of being dictated to by foreign nations, adding that there is also need for African countries to ensure a win-win situation in their engagement with other countries.