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For the First Time in a Long Time, China Isn’t Looming in the Background of an Africa Summit… This Time It’s the U.S.

Venue for the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia. Photo via

Over the past few years at various African summits organized by the Japanese, Europeans or Americans, China has emerged as a kind of benchmark that other foreign powers are now measured against in Africa. Beijing’s dominance in African trade, infrastructure development, and technology adoption are all seen by these traditional powers as a challenge that needs to be overcome.

But a different vibe is coming out of Sochi where final preparations are underway for the start of tomorrow’s two-day Russia-Africa summit. No one’s really talking about the Chinese. Instead, the focus, at least among some think tanks, commentators and certain segments of the international press appears to be more on how Putin is perceived to be taking advantage of a distracted, divided and more isolated United States in a bid to re-establish Moscow’s presence and influence in Africa.

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