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Q&A: Judd Devermont on How African Governments Can Position Themselves in the U.S.-China Standoff

The overwhelming majority of African countries enjoy robust ties with both China and the United States but those relations are under increasing strain as Washington’s relations with Beijing further deteriorate. In recent months, a number of African leaders have expressed their desire to stay out of what’s commonly referred to as the new “Cold War” but that’s becoming increasingly difficult as Beijing turns to Africa for support in its campaign to push back against U.S. and European critics of its policies in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, the South China Sea and the use of Huawei 5G technology among a number of other contentious issues.

As the U.S.-China conflict intensifies, it will be incumbent on African policymakers to articulate how they plan to preserve their countries’ core national interests amid this increasingly contentious rivalry. Simply saying they want to stay out of any U.S.-China dispute will not suffice for much longer if they want to avoid becoming collateral damage.

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