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Blinken heads to South Africa in the midst of a new 'cold war'

US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken arrived in South Africa on Sunday. Analysts say it is an attempt to counter the influence of China and Russia in the region.

Relations between the United States and South Africa strained during the presidency of President Donald Trump. President Joe Biden went to great lengths to fix them, but Russia's invasion of Ukraine was controversial.

It was the Secretary of State's second visit to Africa, and his first to South Africa, the continent's most developed economy and an important ally of democracy, was China. and a series of visits to the region by senior Russian officials.

After ignoring Africa for some time, the US is now trying to catch up and counter the growing influence of Beijing and Moscow in the region, analysts say. war.

Washington also wants to build support for Ukraine. Many African governments are hesitant to condemn Russian aggression, partly because the continent is

Stephen Gruzd, director of the African Governance and Diplomacy Program at the South African Institute of International Affairs, said: He said he suspected South Africa would come to criticize Russia and China, which are partners in the BRICS group.

I don't think he will find an audience that will accept his message that we must yield to the Ukrainian-Russian conflict," said Gurdzd. He said.

Meanwhile, Bob Wekesa, director of the Center for American Studies and Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, said China's influence in Africa has grown significantly, with many African leaders He said he has unconditional expectations of - Accompanying infrastructure investment. Russia, too, has invested in the African continent to a much lesser extent, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visiting four countries in Africa last month.

FILE - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Jean-Claude Gakosso, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Congo, hold a joint press conference in the town of Oyo on July 25, 2022.
File - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Jean-Claude Gacosso Foreign Ministers Ministers of the Republic of the Congo hold a joint press conference on 25 July 2022 in the town of Oyo.

Even if it is not the Cold War as we have seen since the end of World War II, it is a form of geopolitical competition, and therefore the United States , must prepare to be seen as competing with other powers for influence in Africa," Wekesa said.

His Nontobeko Hlela, a researcher at the South African office of the Tricontinental Institute for Social Research, notes that former US President Donald Trump's negative comments about Africa and other developing countries have helped improve relations. said it was of no use to

"The United States will have to work hard to retract some policy decisions and statements made by former White House residents," he said.

While in South Africa, Blinken visits the famous town of Soweto in Johannesburg. She was once a symbol of liberation and where Nelson Mandela, the first democratic president lived, will also participate in South Africa's Women's Day celebrations.

On Monday, he will meet with his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor to launch a new US strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa. Climate change, trade, health and food insecurity will all be on the table.

Top American diplomats then head to the conflict-ridden Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.