NEW YORK, August 5 (RIA Novosti) – This week’s US-Africa Leaders Summit is helping Washington catch up with China and the European Union, which have deep trade ties with the continent, while the US is losing ground, a South Africa-based economist told RIA Novosti.
“The US was under competitive pressure from the more formalized relationships that China and the European Union have with Africa,” said Christopher Wood, an analyst in economic diplomacy at the South African Institute of International Affairs. “The summit reflects some recognition of the improved growth potential of the continent, and the need to get in early in the Africa rising story.”
“It may also be an attempt to diversify US foreign policy away from an over-reliance on the Asia pivot. Asia is still a priority area, but there is substantial competition from China. Africa is a similarly fast-growing region where the US can play a key role without exhausting the same kind of resources necessary for an Asia focus.”
The August 4-6 summit has attracted nearly 50 African leaders to Washington for talks on development and trade on a resource-rich continent that has become a destination for much European and Chinese investment.
European Union trade volumes with Africa reached $200 billion in 2013. China’s soared from $10 billion in 2000 to more than $170 billion in 2013. In recent years, US-Africa trade has dropped to about $60 billion.