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12 Mar, 2024 11:11

US State Dept requesting funds to counter Russia and China in Africa

The money is intended to be used to “revive democracy and protect human rights” on the continent
US State Dept requesting funds to counter Russia and China in Africa

The US State Department has requested $322.5 million for the 2025 fiscal year to bolster operations in Africa, including in response to Chinese and Russian activities, according to a press release on Monday.

The funds are slated “to support 2022 Africa Leaders Summit deliverables, including commitments to build more stable, inclusive African economies; tackle the climate crisis; revitalize democracies and champion human rights; counterbalance the influence of the People’s Republic of China and Russia; and renew alliances and partnerships across the continent.”

The department has also requested $2.9 billion to “renew, strengthen, and leverage U.S. leadership in multilateral diplomacy including contributions to the United Nations (UN), UNESCO and NATO as well as timely payment of UN peacekeeping assessments.”

During a Congressional hearing on March 7, the head of US Africa Command, Gen. Michael Langley, said that Russia was actively seeking to broaden its influence in African nations, with several countries nearing a critical juncture where they could come under its sway.

Josep Borrell, foreign policy chief of the European Union, also sounded cautionary note about Russia in Africa, stating in February that the EU is in a “dilemma” over Russian presence in the Sahel region, particularly Mali, where he believed Moscow’s influence had increased.

The second Russia-Africa summit was held in St. Petersburg in July, with representatives of 49 states from the continent in attendance. During the two-day event, Russian President Vladimir Putin made commitments to strengthen ties with African nations, including the launch of a program to provide humanitarian aid to a number of states experiencing food insecurity. Putin said that Africa had become one of the poles of the multipolar world, and that Moscow’s cooperation with the continent has reached a new level in recent years.

The African continent will host the third Russia-Africa summit in 2026. The specific country where the summit will take place has not been revealed.