Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Biden Shores Up Imperialist Interests at U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

The United States is hosting a U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The Biden administration’s supposed interest in developing African leadership is just a new strategy for U.S. imperialism to plunder the continent and counter China.

Sam Carliner

December 13, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share
US President Joe Biden and DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi joke during a group photo at the G20 of World Leaders Summit on October 30, 2021
Image: Erin Schaff/AFP

President Biden is hosting a three-day long U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, and the U.S. Department of State is promoting it heavily. The administration is emphasizing how “more than 55 delegations and hundreds of young leaders, advocates, and entrepreneurs” will come to Washington, D.C. to discuss “shared challenges.” The White House even said that at the summit Biden will back a spot for the African Union in the G20. Like any strategy of U.S. imperialism, the Biden administration’s investment in the world’s poorest and Blackest continent is about the development of U.S. imperialism, not the power or leadership of the region’s working class.

As U.S. hegemony attempts to reverse its decades-long decline and counter a rising China, Africa is becoming one of the most important regions in this geopolitical rivalry. It is the most resource-rich continent in the world and its population of more than 1.4 billion people provides an easily exploitable labor force for multinationals to extract these resources. It is no wonder that Washington and Beijing are both putting strategic focus on making inroads in African markets. Indeed, just months ago, the Biden Administration released a National Security Strategy which included a focus on developing U.S. relations in Africa.

To be clear, the United States already has plenty of influence in Africa. As the world’s largest imperialist power by far, the United States has no shortage of military, economic, and diplomatic resources at its disposal to maintain its presence on the continent. In the 2010s, the United States greatly expanded its military presence there with AFRICOM, the U.S. command which oversees U.S. troops in Africa and develops close relationships with African militaries. Already, Biden has expanded AFRICOM, particularly through U.S. intervention in Somalia. The history of U.S. and other imperialist interventions in Africa have fueled instability and violence which threaten any perceived legitimacy of a U.S. presence on the continent. All this, while results of U.S.-funded development of the continent have been dismal. Despite the fact that the United States has invested an annual average of $40 billion in the African continent from 2000-2021, this money has simply kept African countries dependent on dollar remittances while providing no long-term infrastructure development.

Beijing has been able to take advantage of the role of the United States in Africa, which has been ruthless at worst, dismal at best. China does have a military presence in the form of its first foreign base in Djibouti, located in the highly strategic Horn of Africa. However, the main investments China has made in Africa are economic. The China Africa Research Initiative at John Hopkins University estimates that from 2000-2019, China issued an average of seven billion dollars in loans to Africa per year. Unlike with the much larger annual investment from the United States, China can point to infrastructure that has been built throughout Africa as a result of its investment in the continent. 

Of course, this development of infrastructure is strategic, not philanthropic. Without the African working class owning and controlling this infrastructure, the economic development of Africa can only lead to more developed proletarianization and exploitation of the population. But as for the interests of the African bourgeoisie and middle class, China’s investments have been more beneficial than those of the United States, and this concerns the Biden administration.

Gone are the days where the United States could be confident in its unchallenged position in the world capitalist order. U.S. imperialism will need to make a better case for what it, not China, can offer the semi-colonial world. The U.S-Africa Leaders Summit and the larger strategy towards Africa laid out in Biden’s National Security Strategy are signs that the United States will expand its economic and diplomatic efforts in Africa to more effectively compete with China.

Caught in the middle of this capitalist competition are the workers and oppressed of Africa who will be further exploited and precarized for the benefits of capitalist profits. The economic investment by the world’s two great powers may be beneficial for developing the African capitalist classes, and even the middle classes in some cases, but it is the working class who should have control of Africa’s abundant resources and receive the full rewards of any development of the continent.

The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit is one for the leaders of capital to meet and plan for how to best exploit African workers in the mutual interests of capital. Meanwhile, brutal U.S. military imperialism expands and fuels violence and instability across the continent. Since U.S. capital is building class solidarity to exploit and kill the working class in Africa, the U.S, working class must build class solidarity as well, rejecting U.S. imperialism in Africa in all its forms.

Facebook Twitter Share

Sam Carliner

Sam Carliner is a socialist with a background in journalism. He mainly writes for Left Voice about US imperialism. He also tweets about imperialism as @saminthecan.

Middle East-Africa

The crowd at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, holding a huge Palestine flag that reads "Free Palestine"

The Palestinian Cause Is a Winner of the World Cup

Palestine, while not having a team at the FIFA World Cup, won the hearts of fans and national teams, and grew in international support during the games.

Julia Wallace

December 19, 2022
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa in a suit

“Farmgate” Threatens the Very Foundations of Capitalist Stability in South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa faces an impeachment vote Tuesday. More than a simple case of corruption, it’s a political crisis of the ruling party and of capitalist stability in the country.

Sam Carliner

December 5, 2022

The Slave Labor World Cup

Qatar’s wealth and power are built on the labor power of migrant construction workers, who toil amid semislave conditions.

Santiago Montag

November 22, 2022
Government representatives sit at a long table in front of a COP27 banner.

COP27: Climate Talks Underway in Egypt amidst Intense Political Repression

Why is the UN holding COP27 in Egypt, where the al-Sissi regime is at the forefront of the repression of political and environmental activists and mostly inactive in the fight against climate change?

Wolfgang Mandelbaum

November 15, 2022

MOST RECENT

Protesters after the murder of Tyre Nichols.

‘We Shall Not be Moved’: Maintaining and Uplifting Black Struggle during Black History Month

This Black History Month, let's raise the banner of Black liberation and the need for a revolutionary socialist strategy that, among other things, shows the inextricable link between class exploitation and racial oppression.

Tristan Taylor

February 6, 2023
All That's Left, the podcast from Left Voice.

#AllThatsLeftPod: A History of the U.S. Revolutionary Left and Trotskyism

In this episode of the podcast, we're joined by historian Bryan Palmer to discuss the origins of the U.S. revolutionary left and Trotskyism, James P. Cannon, and socialists' role in class struggle in the 1920s and 30s.

Left Voice

February 6, 2023
High-angle view of protests in France on January 31 against President Macron's pension reforms.

Historic Protests in France: Where to for the French Working Class?

After two of the largest days of protest in over a decade, with unprecedented union support and student turnout, the workers and youth of France must push unions to take up a militant strategy to defeat not only this latest pension reform but also Macron and his government.

Antoine Ramboz

February 6, 2023
Polish soldiers, a zoom-in on a Polish flag on their uniform.

Poland Plans to Become the Most Powerful Military Power in Europe

The war in Ukraine has become a powerful driver of the militarization and rearmament of NATO member countries. Poland now plans to double its military spending with the goal of building the largest land army in Europe.

Otto Fors

February 6, 2023