Michelle Gavin, Michelle, Africa discussed on The World Next Week

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This event is presented by the council on foreign relations. Welcome everybody welcome to this castle in our relations virtual roundtable on major power rivalry in africa. thank you for joining us today for those who don't know me. I'm post says senior fellow for conflict prevention council and directorates center fall preventive action. Today's roundtable is the latest in a series of meetings. We all night on implications of growing strategic competition between the major powers and specific regions which is being made possible by generous grant from the carnegie corporation of new york. Some of you may eventually tuned into early roundtables that we held on the middle east and asia. Today we're gonna focus on africa with a particular focus. I think on china's going presence and influence on the confident but we also going to look at other parents. Well we have two excellent Speak with us to discuss these issues with us. Let me first introduce michelle gavin. She is senior fellow. Africa's studies year at the council. She has many years of government service focusing on africa. I on capitol hill as an aide to send two senators russ final in kansas saw followed by stints at the nfc for africa in the obama administration off that she was appointed as us ambassador devout swan era where she concurrently served as u s representative to sack the southern african development community before joining the cat so she also headed up the africa center in new york. I would also be remiss in not mentioning that. She's just authored a report on major power rivalry in africa. Full of the council on that is available on the council's websites. And i commend you to read that. She has joined today by kobo. Who likes to go by just zoo. Thank you for that Dr globo he is the head of the wits school of governance at the university of Around in south africa where he joins us today. He was formerly in associate professor of strategy international business at ovitz business skull if all joining wits he co founded the center for the study of governance innovation at the university of pretoria in south africa and became its deputy director between twenty twelve in two thousand. Fourteen mizzou is also a member of the presidential economic advisory council in south africa. Having previously said is headed the division responsible for south africa's trade policy at the department of trade and industry. Welcome and thank you both for being with us today. So his typical tables. I'm going to engage in about thirty minutes of Discussion without fake us. And then i'm gonna open it up full. Qna from those attending the su- just reminded the meeting is on the recold will be recorded and posted on our website at a later date. Okay so why. don't we get started. Let me turn to you first. Michelle if you could just sort of set. The scene for awesome if a sense of how this rivalry. That's the right term for. It is is shaping up today in africa who the main axes over chinese one of the principal goals. What are they trying to accomplish. Points in contention if you could just sort of set sentencing for us. I sure i can try my best at. Thanks so much for having me. I think that you know to sort of contextualized this argument. That's very much part of kind of the mainstream debate about us. Africa policy right now of major power rivalry. What's important is is to understand that the rest of the world right is keenly aware of the importance of africa strategy writ large for a host of reasons for strategic reasons for economic reasons and but there has been kind of a trend in the us foreign policy community to think about africa as a sort of a place apart from maybe the most pressing foreign policy priorities at the time. I don't think that's the way the rest of the world Tends to see the continent. And so i think that's kind of an important backdrop when when we think about how the us engages this debate today at because you do have a really a host of actors with very active strategies seeking access seeking influence on the african continent and the the to clearly most at influential most sweeping in scope are the us and china but obviously european union has a very long standing complex deep and significant relationship with african states. You have the increase activity of gulf factors Not just in the horn of africa but certainly most prominently in the horn. At for many years. Japan has worked hard to try a establish a robust partnership with a number of african states. India plays a role. So this is. It's very much a global community right seeking seeking fruitful partnerships. What's interesting. I think this debate right now in the us is that you had starting with the trump administration is very express articulation that major power rivalry particularly rivalry with china. Although russia was was a part of this agenda as well should be kind of the dominant lens through which we understand our engagement on the continent and this was made sort of expressly clear national security strategy. But it's it's in some ways carried over into the biden administration was very different in many respects from the trump administration. But if you look at even the confirmation processes principles in the the biden administration. I'm you see this very deliberate and purposeful articulation of the notion. That at chinese influence in africa is problematic is sometimes even malevolent and that the us must work to counter growing chinese influence. All of the chinese are incredibly influential on the continent. The point i try making in the paper and then something. I'd like to talk about today. Is is naked at this is untrue. The chinese have for decades right had a a sweeping and complex engagement strategy that is.

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