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US foreign policy

‘Pivotal moment’: US renews focus on Africa

Asked about Russian interference in Africa, a second US official said Washington was concerned about “malign influences on the continent.”

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Africa is at a “pivotal moment” and the next decade will determine which path the continent takes, senior US officials said Friday.

“President Biden believes that Africa has many dynamic and fast-growing economies, and populations can and should mean a bright future for the continent,” a senior Biden administration official told reporters during a phone call.

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US officials are looking at ways to establish new partnerships with African countries and “enhance security, democratic progress and the rule of law,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

The call came shortly after a statement from the National Security Council said NSA Jake Sullivan held a call with Sudan’s PM Abdalla Hamdok.

US Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman will head to Sudan next week “to reaffirm US support for the civilian-led transition and discuss regional security challenges,” the NSC said.

The US official said Feltman was not scheduled to visit any other countries during his trip.

“For now, we’re not expecting him to travel anywhere beyond Sudan. Although, you know, depending on conversations he has on the ground there, that that may determine if he’s going to make any additional stops in the region,” the official said in response to a question from Al Arabiya English.

Russian interference

Asked about Russian interference in Africa, a second US official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Washington was concerned about “malign influences on the continent.”

Citing Mali, the official called on the Malian transitional government to move to an “actually, fully-elected democratic government.”

“The longer that this transitional government is in place, the more you will see instability. We don’t think looking to outside forces to provide security is the best way to do that,” the official said.

On Thursday, Chad’s foreign minister said that Russian paramilitaries were in the region and were causing a “very serious problem.”

Read more: Protesters block Port Sudan airport, key bridge over peace deal with rebel groups