Trump Administration Announces New Plan To Promote U.S. Businesses In Africa The Trump administration is trying to counter what it calls Russia and China's predatory practices in Africa and promote U.S. businesses instead through an initiative called "Prosper Africa."

Trump Administration Announces New Plan To Promote U.S. Businesses In Africa

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China has been building up influence in Africa for the past couple of decades. Russia has stepped up its dealings in recent years as well. Now, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, the Trump administration says it's time for the U.S. to wake up and compete.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: National security adviser John Bolton is launching a new initiative called Prosper Africa to promote U.S. business ties to the continent and counter what he calls the predatory practices of Russia and China.


JOHN BOLTON: America's vision for the region is one of independence, self-reliance and growth, not dependency, domination and debt.

KELEMEN: Bolton isn't putting a price tag on this initiative, and he made clear that the Trump administration is looking for ways to cut traditional aid programs on the continent and peacekeeping operations. A former assistant secretary of state for Africa, Johnnie Carson, was not impressed.

JOHNNIE CARSON: I think the administration rolled out a strategy on Africa with four flat tires.

KELEMEN: Carson says the emphasis on countering China and Russia sounds like a return to the Cold War in Africa.

CARSON: Africans would prefer a strong partnership with the United States, a partnership that allows the U.S. to continue to do the important work that it does in promoting health care, promoting agricultural development, addressing Africa's power needs and promoting greater trade and investment.

KELEMEN: National security adviser John Bolton says it was a mistake in the past to always talk about ways to help Africa. Trump's transactional approach, he says, will be different.


BOLTON: Because if it's little straight-talking among friends about what's beneficial on both sides, you're much more likely to get a successful outcome than pretending that it's a one-sided relationship.

KELEMEN: The current top diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, knows that the U.S. is way behind China on this.

TIBOR NAGY: If somebody's knocking on the door of an investor and they open the door, and if it's only the Chinese investor standing there, of course they're going to do business with him. I just want to make sure that the next time there's a knock on the door, that the American investors are also there.

KELEMEN: His pitch is that U.S. investment would be better for African countries, helping them create jobs on a continent that's seen a surge in its youth population. Michele Kelemen, NPR News, Washington.


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