US Treasury Secretary to Start Tour of Three African Countries Next Week – Media
15:06 GMT 14.01.2023 (Updated: 13:33 GMT 15.01.2023)
© AP Photo / Carolyn KasterTreasury Secretary Janet Yellen pauses during a bilateral meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland at the Treasury Department in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023
© AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster
The visit follows the 2022 US-Africa Leaders’ Summit, which took place from December 13 to 15. It involved 49 delegations from African states as well as one from the African Union and was the second event of its kind, with the first held in 2014.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will start her three-country Africa trip on Tuesday, media say. The official’s journey will last 11 days.
The visit comes a month after the 2022 US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, DC, widely regarded as part of US attempts to counter China’s growing influence in Africa.
Yellen is planning to visit Senegal, Zambia and South Africa.
Senegal is this year’s African Union chair and is projected to become Africa's fastest-growing economy in 2023. According to the US Treasury, Yellen will meet with the Senegalese President President Macky Sall and deliver "major remarks on the US-African economic relationship."
After that, the Treasury secretary is also planning to meet with Zambia's President Hakainde Hichilema, who was imprisoned as the opposition leader before winning the presidential election in 2021. The US had strained relations with the government of Hichilema's predecessor, Edgar Lungu, whose rule was characterized by extensive cooperation with China.
According to Michelle Gavin, a senior fellow at the US Council on Foreign Relations and formerly the US ambassador to Botswana, "Zambia is the best democracy story we have right now on the continent."
In 2020, Zambia defaulted on the debt and later applied for debt restructuring under G20’s Common Framework. Janet Yellen is among Western officials that accused China, which holds around 30% of Zambia’s external debt, of intentionally stalling the Common Framework project.
In response, China said that Zambia's and other African countries' debt problems are mainly caused by multilateral financial institutions, to which the continent's states owe the most in terms of external debt.
China Rejects Africa 'Debt Trap' Allegations, Calls for Dropping 'Geopolitical Games' on Continent
13 December 2022, 10:17 GMT
The final destination of Yellen's journey is South Africa. While holding talks with local officials, she is expected to advocate for quicker transition of the coal-energy-relying country to green energy. Rich states promised $8.5 billion of help, mostly in loans, for the country, which has been struggling with power shortages since 2007.
South Africa is the 2023 chair of BRICS, the bloc of the world's major developing economies, which consisted of Brazil, Russia, India and China before South Africa joined in 2010. Last year, a number of countries all over the world (such as Algeria, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates) expressed their intention to join BRICS, which is widely viewed as a club of countries that seek to confront US dominance. It was recently reported that South Africa's governing party, the African National Congress, supports BRICS expansion.