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The View From Washington on the Future of U.S.-Africa-China Relations

There’s an emerging consensus in Washington, D.C. that a future Biden foreign policy towards Africa is probably going to look a lot like the policies enacted by the Obama administration. Two aspects of this new/old approach stand out from what the U.S. is currently doing on the continent:

  • LESS FOCUS ON CHINA: While confronting China around the world will remain a top priority for the White House, it’s widely expected that the focus on Beijing will be reduced in places like Africa.
  • RETURN TO VALUES-BASED DIPLOMACY: The U.S. will move to rejoin multilateral organizations as part of a broader effort to put democracy promotion, governance and transparency as key foreign policy pillars.

But with the election still unresolved at home, it’s not going to be easy for the incoming president to quickly implement these changes as he’ll be confronted with a number of other, more pressing challenges.

Aubrey Hruby, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, and Landry Signé, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, are among Washington’s leading analysts who frequently advise high-level government officials. They join Eric & Cobus to share a few insights on what they’re hearing about what’s to come and how the U.S. should best re-position itself against China and other international actors in Africa.

Show Notes:

About Aubrey Hruby and Landry Singé:

Aubrey Hruby is a nonresident senior fellow with the Africa Center. Hruby is also co-founder of Insider and the Africa Expert Network (AXN) and an active investor in African start-ups. In her role at Insider, Hruby works with global entrepreneurs to generate positive public relations and to connect them with investors, while at AXN, she has helped build Africa’s leading information brokerage and expert connection service. Hruby has consulted extensively in over twenty-five African markets and regularly advises senior policymakers and Fortune 500 companies on doing business in Africa. She is the former managing director of the Whitaker Group, an Africa-focused advisory firm that has helped facilitate well over $2 billion in capital flows to the continent. Prior to that, she was an International Trade Specialist at the Barnett Group LLC, where she worked with corporate clients to resolve trade problems in the Middle East and Africa.


Landry Signé is a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program and the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution. He was previously a David M. Rubenstein Fellow at Brookings. His career and research span the areas of global political economy, global governance and sustainable development, global business and emerging markets, strategic management and leadership, fragility, state capacity and policy implementation, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Globalization 4.0, and the political economy of Africa and developing countries.

He is a full professor and founding co-director of the Globalization 4.0 and Fourth Industrial Revolution Initiative at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, distinguished fellow at Stanford University’s Center for African Studies, chairman of the Global Network for Africa’s Prosperity, and senior adviser to top global leaders (presidential, prime minister, and C-suite levels) in business, policy, and international affairs.

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