US treasury secretary on 11-day African tour to counter China inroads

US treasury secretary on 11-day African tour to counter China inroads

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen started Wednesday an 11-day trip to Africa, aimed at deepening economic ties on the continent where China has become a key player.

Yellen’s travel to Senegal, Zambia and South Africa comes after a detour to Switzerland where she was to meet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on macroeconomic issues.

The visits to Senegal, Zambia and South Africa will discuss trade expansion, investment and the United States’ commitment to African economies.

Yellen’s trip comes after President Joe Biden pledged at the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in December that he and members of his Cabinet would visit Africa in 2023, which has been widely interpreted as an attempt at countering Chinese inroads on the continent.

According to senior US Treasury officials, the purpose of the trip is to exchange ideas with African government officials, private sector leaders, entrepreneurs and youth, and to deepen economic ties between the United States and Africa, charting new opportunities for trade and investment.

In Senegal, Yellen is scheduled to visit a business incubator providing credit and sector-specific technical assistance to young women entrepreneurs in the capital, Dakar. She will also attend a business forum with leaders from the American Chamber of Commerce in Senegal and take part in the groundbreaking ceremony to launch a rural electrification project being led by US engineering firm Weldy Lamont.

In Zambia, the second leg of her Africa tour, Yellen will meet with President Hakainde Hichilema, along with his finance minister and the nation’s central bank governor. She’ll also tour two agriculture-related sites in an effort to promote climate-resilient agriculture and food production and mitigate the effects of the Russian war in Ukraine. Among other issues, the treasury secretary plans to discuss the enormous economic effects of the war on the global wheat, energy and fertilizer supplies.

In South Africa, she will meet with the country’s finance minister and reserve bank governor and also plans to visit a Ford Motor Co. assembly plant outside Pretoria. Yellen’s Africa tour coincides with a visit by IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva to Zambia next week while Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang just completed a five-nation Africa tour.

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