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Is it Possible to Keep Geopolitics Out of Development?

File image of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken watches as Motorola Solutions VP for Africa and the Middle East Patrick Fitting and Senegal's Economy Minister Amadou Hott, fist bump after signing an agreement during a commercial diplomatic event with US companies on November 20, 2021. Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP

This week, my colleague CAP Editor in Chief Eric Olander unearthed a startling statistic: China’s trade with Africa so far this year already exceeds all trade between Africa and the United States for the whole of 2021.

Think about that – these haven’t exactly been a smooth few months, trade-wise. Lockdowns in China have kept more than a quarter of the world’s container ships idling off its eastern seaboard. Of the remaining ships, several are stuck in Ukrainian harbors due to underwater mines. The aftermath of floods in Durban is holding back millions of tons of cobalt and copper ore from the DRC and Zambia. And that’s only been the last two weeks – we’re also still dealing with a pandemic.

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