The deaths of four US soldiers while on active duty in Niger recently has shone a light on Washington's hitherto unremarked focus on Africa as a key strategic and geopolitical objective. Though established in 2007, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has never been more vital in this regard, tasked with ensuring a US military presence on a continent that has seen its fortunes transformed over the past decade and more by China's arrival with a developmental model characterized by long term investment in infrastructure, services and education with the objective of harnessing long term sustainable growth the mutual benefit of investor and beneficiary.
Unlike in the 1980s and 90s, when IMF structural adjustment programs decimated the economies and societies of those African countries that were forced to rely on the World Bank for desperately needed loans and aid, Africa today is a continent largely on the upswing, enjoying an average rate of growth that puts many first world economies to shame.
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