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Democracy and climate change are at the core of Anthony Brinken’s trip to Africa-zimo news

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken began in Nairobi on the evening of Tuesday, November 16. This is his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa since he took office. Displacement centered on democracy and climate change, but the crisis in Ethiopia and Sudan should bring security back to the menu.

The US Foreign Secretary has ambitions to differentiate the Biden administration from his predecessor, Donald Trump, who made no secret of his lack of interest in Africa and is the only president who has not surrendered to the African continent in decades. Mr. Brinken will visit three countries that are considered key to President Joe Biden’s African strategy by Saturday: the first is Kenya, which is one of Washington’s oldest allies, but China is making progress there; then It is Nigeria, the most populous country on the African continent; and finally Senegal, a model of democracy and stability.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the last region in the world visited by Mr. Brinken. His travel in the first few months of his tenure was hindered by the Covid-19 pandemic and the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.His visit is less than a month away from the virtual summit “For Democracy” Organized by Joe Biden, after the COP26 climate conference, Washington joined the call to abandon fossil fuels.

As for Africa, “The current approach emphasizes the revitalization of democracy and the goals of climate change and sustainable development”, Ervin Massinga, a senior official of the State Department, explained. According to him, Brinken will also discuss the development of Covid-19 vaccine production capacity in Africa. Mr. Biden hopes to differentiate himself from China through this initiative, and China has taken the initiative to propose its own vaccine.

Suspend aid to Sudan

Nevertheless, in the background there will still be a crisis of Washington’s active involvement in diplomatic activities. These crises have affected two countries where the United States once had high hopes: Ethiopia and Sudan.

Addis Ababa has long been a close ally of Washington and is now frustrated with the obstacles to food aid delivery in the northern area of ​​Tigray, where federal forces clashed with insurgents, where famine threatens tens of thousands . people. Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Abiy Ahmed) launched the opposition of the federal army more than a year ago. The front re-conquered Tigray, advanced to neighboring areas, and threatened ever since March to Addis Ababa.

“This is not the Ethiopia we saw two years ago, when we praised it as the most dynamic economy in Africa”, Recently highlighted Linda Thomas Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations. Joe Biden recently stated that he is prepared to deprive Ethiopia of the benefits it receives from the American African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which exempts many African countries from tariffs. So far, he has ruled out sanctions against the Ethiopian government or insurgents, hoping to encourage a political settlement.

At the same time, the United States suspended about 700 million U.S. dollars (approximately 610 million euros) of aid to Sudan, beginning with a military coup at the end of October that prevented the democratic transition. From the overthrow in 2019, dictator Omar al-Bashir (Omar al-Bashir) has been in power for thirty years.

Risk of “regional collapse”

Johnny Carson, the former senior diplomat in charge of African affairs under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, believes that Mr. Brinken’s visit to Kenya should not be “Missed Opportunity” Invite leaders of neighboring countries to seek regional solutions to the crisis in Sudan and Ethiopia. “The Horn of Africa is extremely fragile. The democratic transition that we thought would be carried out in Ethiopia and Sudan is derailed.”, Mr. Carson, now at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) explained. “In fact, if these countries collapse in the coming year, we will see a larger regional collapse”, He warned.

Mr. Brinken is expected to hold sensitive talks in Nigeria. Due to human rights concerns, the United States has suspended the delivery of helicopters to Nigeria. Another problem that should be solved in his travels: trade. AGOA will expire in 2025. Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden does not seem to be eager to replace it, because the United States is becoming increasingly unfavorable to trade agreements and risking favorable trade relations between Africa. And China.

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The world of AFP

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