Turn on Africa, Out Tillerson


Since the US President Donald Trumps used those unfortunate words for African Countries relation with the continent has been cold as well as limited. The visit by Trump’s previous secretary of state did not help to alleviate the confusion. Now the fact that Tillerson was fired immediately after his return from Africa may be taken as an offence by those visited countries. So far, it does not know how the Africans are going to take that. But what I know is considered to be very derogatory to Tillerson that he received a call from Trump minutes later in a tweet, in addition to 4 hours later after his arrival to US soil from Africa. Tillerson issue a different aspect of this topic It was known among policy circles in DC that Trump and Tillerson had different agendas on certain issues. Besides, Tillerson tried to clean the mess Trump created more than once. Knowing the escalating competition in Africa, Tillerson was wise enough to handle something. A former CEO with vast international experience, Tillerson was expected to ameliorate relations with Africa.

Back to Africa, Rex Tillerson could not have transpired at an appropriate time for the superpower other than now. The visit has not gone well with China. China has increasingly had a grip on African continent seeks, thus sparking an all-out confrontation between the two Powerful nations. The visit is meant to underscore America’s wish to reassert itself after years of Chinese dominance. It is a coincidence also given that the Russian Foreign affairs Minister also visited some African countries at the same period.

Africa’s Influence in the World

The reason behind their visit is apparent. By the year 2030, Africa will represent almost a quarter workforce of the world’s population. It is a fact that in the year 2050, Africa’s people be expected to be more than 2.5 billion. The number of people under the age of 30 years and below scheduled to be 70%.

Nigeria’s population for context estimates to have a larger society than the United States and a more substantial economy than that of Australia by 2050. It is just a proof of the estimates from the World Bank, whereby six out of 10 fastest growing economies in the world expected to come from Africa. Therefore, the dominant countries have now realized that Africa is indeed a significant part of the future.

The sentiments of the US foreign minister depict a lot of change in the administration of president Trump, which has said minimal opinions publicly about the African policy. During the transition, African continent seemed hugely in the context of halting some of the United States signature developments and aid program that was to transpire in Trump’s regime.

Lavrov Positivity

Russian foreign minister’s visit in four African countries is of less impact, but at the same time plays a pivotal role in portraying respect to Africa. During his visit in one of the five countries namely Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Angola; he categorically emphasized the role of international support on Africa, which in my opinion is not bad as long as there is no interference with the political environment. The positive aspect of his visit, attached to how he insisted that African problems need African solutions and that the International community ought to respect the continents conflict resolutions.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s statement is less contradictory to those of China’s policy of not interfering with political matters in countries it gives loans. Russia is keen on reaffirming its

Soviet ties with Africa. In this case, Ethiopia is the target since it has long-standing and diplomatic relations since the 19th century.

Taking a keen look at the countries visited by the foreign ministers, absolutely there is some benefit they are up to attain. Namibia, for instance, is rich in Uranium and this shows the positivity aspect to why the two countries may have a binding economic agreement.

Offside Trap

Some African countries have ended up finding themselves in the middle of the supremacy battle between US and China. Cutting to the chase, Kenya was in the central position of a bare-knuckle war of words between China and the United States, following the negative remarks that were by US foreign minister on Africa’s appetite for loans from China. The Visit by Tillerson has not been taken lightly by China since it has sparkled all-out confrontation.

Tillerson said that there is the need for African countries to consider the terms of their agreement with China on the loans so as not to forfeit their sovereignty. The move, however, made China respond asking the United States to shy away from matters that do not concern them. Despite the fact, that Tillerson’s remarks in Ethiopia summed African continent, the weight of singling out Kenya depicted volumes of concern. It shows the significance of Kenya’s strategic geographical position in Africa is one of the advantages to the superpowers concerning economics and geopolitics.

Image Rescue

Kenya, been caught between the spat while the US foreign minister still in her soil made efforts to save the image. Kenya’s foreign affairs cabinet Secretary Amb. Monica Juma stated categorically that the relationship between Kenya and Beijing derives motivation from the interest and value of the country. Well, this is not a bad move since it is an intelligent way of not letting go the relationship ties. Amb. Monica Juma might have borrowed from the African proverb, “You cannot bite a finger that feeds you.” It might have worked to Kenya’s advantage.

Political Pressure

Kenya’s political environment has been wanting since the August 8th elections 2017. China by having close economic ties with Kenya failed to intervene due to her strict policies. Russia on the other side kept it cool. The United States, on the other hand, was seen to be pushing for dialogue and pressure to the opposition leader Rt Hon Raila Odinga to legitimize the presidency of Hon Uhuru Kenyatta. There are speculations that from power players that it is the United States that piled pressure on the two princes from the Odinga and Kenyatta dynasties to call for an impromptu truce that transpired few hours before the landing of the United States foreign minister.


As a way to attract the attention of the African countries, in a move to heal the rift, United States foreign minister dished out goodies in Africa. It includes promising $533 million in aid. The amount is indeed a drop in the ocean in comparison to the grand amount of money China has been giving to Africa regarding a loan for the last decade.

Concisely, the supremacy battle between the superpowers in Africa is for uncalled. There is an African saying that says “One fingernail cannot kill a louse”. All these superpower countries need to acknowledge the existence of each other and not to dismiss each other’s importance. In my personal opinion, I tend to believe that the United States feels threatened by the move taken by China in Africa. China of late is the most significant trading partner of numerous African countries.

It is due to this reason that the US feel. According to the US foreign minister, his tour in the few African countries has the objective of lower investment and trade barriers in Africa. It shows a move to counterattack the smooth run that China has been enjoying thus the justification of the stoppage. Fighting China by the US is not a remedy to realize their agenda. Instead, the noble thing is for all the stakeholders to enhance mutual and viable relations that foster economic development. That is the only circumstance where both African countries and the superpower countries will benefit mutually.


Yazar Hakkında

Mevlüt Selman Tecim, 1994 yılında Bursa'da doğdu. 2015 yılında Yıldız Teknik Üniversitesi Siyaset Bilimi ve Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümünden lisans derecesi ile 2017 yılında ise Londra Üniversitesi, SOAS (Orta Doğu ve Afrika Çalışmaları Okulu), Afrika Çalışmaları Anabilim Dalı, Afrika ve Kalkınma Çalışmaları programından yüksek lisans derecesi ile mezun oldu. Hâlihazırda TRT World Afrika Masası Prodöktürü olarak çalışmaktadır. Şuana kadar birçok Afrika ülkesinde gönüllü projelerde ve haber yapım süreçlerinde görev üstlendi. İleri seviyede İngilizce ve orta seviyede Sevahilice bilmektedir. İlgi alanları; dış yardımlar, Doğu Afrika jeopolitiği ve dış politikasıdır.

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