African leaders very often are unfairly criticized for their seeming pro China stance and preference of Chinese investment. Sadly, a number of critics never take time to wonder and ponder what the Chinese may be doing right which endears them to the Africans and what the United States perhaps isn’t doing.
Once upon a time, the United States was the undisputed sole economic partners of developing countries especially for Africa in the period leading to the fall of the Soviet Union and the period immediately after [the ’80s and ’90s].
Things however took a different turn for the U.S. in Africa following the controversial decision by U.S. led Democrat administrations to mix business in Africa with LGBT agitation, a position in sharp contrast with African age long tradition and custom.
The Obama administration on assumption of office on January 20th, 2009 pursued a vicious policy of mandating African countries to accept same-sex marriage or face economic isolation by the United States. This position soon backfired in Africa, the height of which was China surpassing the United States in 2009 to become Africa’s largest trading partner, a position which China holds to date.
U.S. President Joe Biden on December 15th, 2022 announced a further $2 billion humanitarian aid to Africa at the end of a three-day summit in Washington with about 50 African leaders in attendance. While it remains to be seen the details of this humanitarian aid announcement by the Biden administration, the antecedents of his formal boss Obama suggest assistance to African countries could once again be tied to phony unrelated uneconomical issues such as same-sex marriage.
The Biden/U.S. — Africa Leaders Summit is another sad reminder of why China seems to be doing better than the U.S. in Africa. Unlike the Chinese who took time to consult with African leaders on the agenda of the summit when they hosted a similar summit of African leaders in Beijing, the United States erred gravely by convening the summit in Washington without regard to their African counterparts to at least consult to ensure a mutually agreed agenda for the summit before its convening, and most importantly to stick to the economic investment prospect of Africa and not dabble into unrelated issues like same-sex marriage.
The Chinese for one were smart enough to understand the importance of treating Africans as equals in their relations, especially with the historic past of havocs of slavery and racism in mind. Evidently, China goes into relations with African countries with the understanding and respect of African culture as well as the knowledge that same-sex marriage is a cultural red line for Africans, a position by the Africans premised on moral, reproductive and health reasons.
Politically speaking, it is globally frowned at and considered undemocratic for any nation to meddle into the domestic affairs of another nation, let alone in the name of aid, trample on their values or dictate to the society what they should embrace or not. It also raises a question of encroachment on the sovereignty of a nation for any state to meddle in internal affairs of another in whatever form.
Speaking in an interview, an African who pleaded anonymity said, “African leaders should not accept any form of aid from Joe Biden if such aid is attached [directly or indirectly] to the acceptance, practice and promotion of same-sex marriage. African leaders should be on their guard and not allow themselves to be enticed into such abomination and aberration. They are expected to be firm, no matter the pressure”.