By Noah Manskar |
President Trump is trying to help African nations battle the coronavirus in an apparent effort to boost the US’s influence there to combat China’s, according to a new report.
The Trump administration has offered ventilators to African countries grappling with the virus and pledged some $270 million in foreign aid to at-risk places including Algeria, Botswana, the Republic of Congo, Ghana and Liberia, Politico reported Friday.
The commander-in-chief made phone calls last month to the leaders of Rwanda, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria, a notable outreach given his limited emphasis on Africa since he took office, according to the outlet. The administration also reportedly pledged up to 1,000 ventilators to South Africa, home to Africa’s largest number of coronavirus cases.
The White House sees Africa as a battleground in its recent spat with China, which has been the continent’s largest trading partner for more than a decade, Politico’s story says.
“It’s an important source of support for the Chinese Communist Party and they are working hard to make sure their narrative gains traction over the US message,” Joshua Meservey of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, told the outlet.
“When there is an emergency, whether it is Ebola or Covid, the United States is there,” a senior State Department official told Politico. “Not only did we not set fire to the village but we’re bringing the most buckets of water.”