Follow CGSP on Social Media

Listen to the CGSP Podcast

U.S. Not Concerned About Chinese Competition in Africa… But It Probably Should Be

The difference between the U.S. and Chinese foreign policies in Africa was on stark display in July when president Barack Obama made his landmark visits to Kenya and Ethiopia. The president brought along with him a vast agenda that transcended trade, democracy, human rights, gay rights, women’s issues and on and on and on. Compare that to similar visits to both of these countries by either Chinese President Xi Jinping or Prime Minister Li Keqiang who focus their attention largely on trade and development.

In the run-up to the president’s trip, senior U.S. officials, including Obama himself, repeated their long-held position that the administration is not concerned in the least about China’s rapidly expanding presence on the continent.

Given that Chinese trade with Africa now dwarfs the United States, by 3-to-1, a growing number of analysts say it might be time for the US to take the Chinese in Africa more seriously.

This week, Eric & Cobus take a look back at the president’s trip and analyze the increasingly the divergent paths the US and China are taking to engage Africa.

Show notes:

  • Al Jazeera: Counting the Cost | AJE’s White House correspondent Patty Culhane interviews U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker:
  •  BBC News: North America Editor Jon Soppel’s exclusive interview with Barack Obama prior to the president’s departure for Kenya and Ethiopia:
  • BBC News: Young Africans to Obama: ‘Clean your own house first’:
  • The Atlantic: Obama Teaches Africa to Fish: The president visited the region as yet another donor, not an equal partner:
  • Global Times: Vying for influence dilutes Obama’s African visit:

What is The China-Global South Project?


The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalists and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Global South discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.