Sino-US-African ties driven by commonality

By Joyce Chimbi Source:Global Times Published: 2017/3/19 22:13:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Donald Trump's ascension to power left the world reeling in shock and he has become one of the most trending personalities on social media.

Speculations continue as to what the future will look like with Trump in the driving seat, particularly in regard to the US relations with Africa and also with China.

There are those who think that Trump will take a tough stance toward Africa, reducing aid drastically and further straining relations by deporting thousands of Africans living in the US.

Given his abrasive nature, some expect that he will do little to salvage the already chilly relations between his country and China.

That, however, may not be the case. The global landscape has significantly shifted and competition between the two nations that have so much to offer is proving counter-productive.

Even more counter-productive is treating Africa as a pawn in geopolitical power plays.

Trump has been critical of both Africa and China. But, he has also categorically said that relations between China and the US must improve.

Within less than a month since he assumed office, Trump made phone calls to South Africa and Nigeria, economic powerhouses in Africa.

The power that Washington wields cannot be over-emphasized even though some critics could say that its mighty profile has waned considerably. It is still a force to be reckoned with.

So is China. Over the years, this Eastern nation has continued to make inroads by establishing as many economic partnerships as possible.

China is no longer an adversary to be contained and neither is Africa a basket case, it is a continent with great potential.

The fact that the power the US wields has been challenged by emerging global players like China has brought many countries back to the drawing board.

China has been working consistently with the global community to take care of the people, a perspective that has deepened relations between Africa and China.

Many dismissed China-Africa relations as unsustainable and skewed, but in the last five years, this point of view has significantly changed.

Africa has warmed up considerably toward the East since there is a middle ground on which the two meet to take care of their people.

This is where the US will need to cede some ground and support foreign policies that perpetuate cooperation as opposed to competitiveness.

Granted, there will always be domestic considerations when countries engage with each other as individuals or blocs, but these considerations must be driven by common interests as opposed to differences.

At the moment, it is unclear what Trump's policies are or how they will influence or hamper relationships with friends and foes but the president of the US is a shrewd businessman.

It is possibly under his regime that we will most likely to see China working with the US in a more constructive manner.

The economy of many countries including the US has not been the strongest in recent years. Cooperation is the most viable policy. This will mean a re-evaluation of various hardline stances and less hunger for dominance.

It will also call for countries to be more proactive and tolerant of each other.

In a big way, China has shown that this can be done by keeping hands off of domestic political intrigues.

The US has been significantly vocal about African politics placing sanctions on those who hold divergent political views.

Granted, Africa still has a long way to go where political growth is concerned, but it also needs space to find its own political path. It is the people of Africa who must decide upon this path.

China, too, has its own domestic challenges as does the US where two months after inauguration, a significant number of people still has not accepted Trump's presidency.

Political intrigues, differences and disagreements aside, Washington, Beijing and African governments have one important job - to take care of their people, to transform lives and to engineer sustainable development.

These three regions have a lot to bring to the table and they stand a better chance of getting the job done by working together.

By doing so, Africa will be taking care of her people living in the US and China. China will also be taking care of her people in Africa and the US and the same applies for the US.

No nation is an island and continued competition is not entirely destructive but it should certainly not override the greater good.

The author is a journalist based in Kenya. Follow us on Twitter @GTopinion


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