U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken will visit Senegal on Saturday, the final stop on a three-country Africa visit this week that also took him to Kenya and Nigeria.
It’s Washington’s top diplomat’s first trip to the continent under the Biden administration, which in July said it plans to revamp U.S. - Africa relations, aimed at ‘substantially increasing’ trade and investment.
There’s been little sign of said revamp this week, which has focused on security, climate, and Covid. The press statement for Blinken’s trip didn’t even mention trade, or investment.
Some of this could be blamed on the distracting effect of upheaval from recent crises in Sudan and Ethiopia, but the apparent lack of interest is nothing new.
Washington has long been criticized for being slow to recognize Africa’s investment potential - for good reason. The most notable piece of legislation aimed at boosting trade is the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), from 2001.
Biden isn’t the first to promise a revamp. Obama’s ‘Power Africa’, and Trump’s ‘Prosper Africa’ are part of a number of initiatives launched in recent years, supposedly aimed at promoting trade and investment.
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