Africa News blog

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Has Clinton visit helped offset China’s clout in Africa?


U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 10 day trip to Africa ends this week with many commentators viewing it at least partly as being aimed at offsetting China’s growing economic clout on the African continent.
In public, Clinton has delivered Washington’s traditional messages on the importance of fair elections and of fighting corruption and human rights abuses.

But the fact that top oil producers Angola and Nigeria are both on the tour has made clear the importance of the visit from the perspective of ensuring access to resources – an area of huge importance to China too.

China’s trade in Africa hit $107 billion in 2008 and there are now 750,000 Chinese workers living and working in Africa. Sources in both Washington, D.C. and Africa confirmed that Clinton’s subtle diplomatic strategy is to offer African leaders infrastructure assistance in exchange for oil resources and increased energy investments on the African continent.

China, meanwhile, may be marshalling reserves to help kick start African economies and fuel demand as well as to secure access to its resources.