The US ambassador to the UN has told the BBC’s Newsday radio programme that her country does not see its recent engagement with the continent as a “scramble for Africa”.
It comes after US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, visited the continent and weeks after President Joe Biden hosted a summit in Washington for Africa leaders. Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, and his Chinese counterpart have also visited several African countries this month.
“We have been on this continent for many decades,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in an interview with our correspondent Anne Soy, explaining that she has spent most of her diplomatic career in Africa.
Like Ms Yellen, Ms Thomas-Greenfield has just completed a tour of Africa.
“There are extraordinary opportunities on the continent,” Ms Thomas-Greenfield continued, highlighting the contribution of the continent’s youth.
However, the US does not see it as its role to boss Africa around: “We are not telling African countries who they should be friends with,” Ms Thomas-Greenfield said.
African countries like South Africa have recently faced criticism for close relations with the likes of Russia, amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Ms Thomas-Greenfield also warned against the use of Russian mercenary group, Wagner, in Africa, describing it as a criminal organisation.
“The kind of activities that they carried out in Mali – human rights violations including rapes of women; the kinds of attacks that they have carried out in the Central African Republic including targeting humanitarian workers and the UN, that is not an organisation that would bring, in my view, any value to the fight against terrorism.”
Wagner has been linked to African countries that are currently facing a surge of militant Islamists, such as in Mali, Mozambique and other nations.