US President Barack Obama began his African tour in a bid to strengthen ties and investment opportunities. But experts say the task might prove difficult as China already has significant influence in the region and US is forced to play catch-up.
Obama arrived in Senegal on Wednesday and is also set to visitÂ South Africa and Tanzania.
The presidentâ€™s tour is happening as US is taking on a biggerÂ military role in Africa, RTâ€™s Gayane Chichakyan reported.
â€œWe hear about new drone bases popping up on the AfricanÂ continent in countries whose governments receive aid from the USÂ in one form or another. We hear US arming and training USÂ security forces in a number of states in Africa, then we learnÂ how some of those forces commit horrible atrocities and yet theÂ US does not stop to take a second to look who they empower,â€Â Â Chichakyan said.
Just a few recent examples of US-backed violence include, a UNÂ report about US trained troops in Congo guilty of mass rape andÂ other atrocities and a Human Rights Watch report documentingÂ abuse, rape and torture of at least 1,000 Somali refugees byÂ US-backed Kenyan police forces.
One of the reasons why US wants to strengthen ties with Africa isÂ to push out Chinaâ€™s growing influence from the region, an expertÂ told RT.
â€œThey want to of course maintain relations with all theseÂ different African states and at the same time to edge out theÂ Peopleâ€™s Republic of China that has been gaining considerableÂ amount of influence in Africa. Just over the last few years ChinaÂ has become the number one trading partner of the AfricanÂ Union,â€ editor of Pan-African News Wire Abayomi Azikiwe said.
Another reason for increased US involvement is the fact thatÂ Africa is an extremely rich continent and US wants to keep itsÂ oil imports secure.
This is Obamaâ€™s second trip to sub-Saharan Africa since he firstÂ assumed office in 2009, but it might fall short as China hasÂ already been making great strides in Africa.
The time Obama has spent in Africa falls short of significantÂ when compared to Chinaâ€™s engagement in the region. Chinaâ€™s topÂ leaders, including the president, vice president, premier, deputyÂ premier, cabinet ministers and top Communist Party officials haveÂ visited around 30 African countries in comparison to Obamaâ€™sÂ soon-to-be four.
China’s current President Xi Jinping has visited three AfricanÂ countries since taking office on March 14, 2013 and formerÂ Chinese president Hu Jintao has been to 17 African nations in aÂ single 10-month stretch between July 2006 and February 2007.
Ayo Johnson, the founder of African News Wire, told RT the futureÂ of Africa will depend on how effectively countries shake theÂ influence of foreign powers. The continent, because ofÂ international economic difficulty, is on the verge of being ableÂ to determine its own future.
â€œItâ€™s not just about the US, itâ€™s the carrot-and-stickÂ approach,â€ he said. â€œThey are in a very unique position.Â They can choose supplies, they can influence geopolitics, andÂ very much they can control their own affairs moving forward. IÂ think the Americans know that very clearly â€“ that Africans cannotÂ be pushed and it will be based on their terms, as opposed to theÂ other way around.â€
Watch Chichakyanâ€™s full report for more information. (RT News).