China, Russia and the US’s top officials scramble for appointments with Africa

The Brief No. 40

23 January 2023

Last week the new Foreign Minister of China, Qin Gang made his first international tour as the foreign minister to Africa.  The visit was significant, it was symbolic in a way; it emphasized China’s foreign policy priorities. 

This week two very senior officials from Russia and the US will be in Africa almost the same time.  The US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen kicked started her visit in Senegal on Saturday.  Her visit comes to as Biden’s administration continues to advance its charm offensive in Africa. 

Sergei Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of Russia will also be in Africa this week, his second tour since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.  He is likely going to try to convince Africa why Russia went to war.  The destruction the war is causing in Ukraine, mayhem and human suffering is negatively impacting Africa’s opinion of Russia’s involvement in the war.  Lavrov is also likely to provide certain guarantees to Africa including uninterrupted food supply particularly grain and energy supply. 

What are other reasons behind these visits?

  • For China and Russia, these tours are part of a recruitment drive for more African countries to join BRICS ahead of the BRICS Summit in South Africa later this year.
  • To intensify efforts to influence AU’s foreign policy consensus as US pushes ahead with its invigorated foreign policy in Africa. President Joe Biden has proposed that the AU becomes a permanent member of the G20.
  • The visits also mark a new scramble by China, Russia and the US as the competition development alternative energy infrastructure in Africa begins. Africa, led by South Africa, has committed to transition to clean energy harnessing its vast natural energy resources in this regard.

Afrasid is available for analysis and commentary.