Feb 6, 2020 - World

Africa can choose both U.S. and China, Kenya’s leader says in D.C. visit

President Trump and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in the Oval Office
President Trump and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta during their first meeting in 2018. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in Washington, ahead of a visit today with President Trump, with a message: the U.S. and China should not see Africa as a battlefield to be conquered, AP reports.

What they're saying: Kenyatta stated on Wednesday that world powers are "behaving like Africa is for the taking. We don't want to be forced to choose...We must begin to look at Africa as the world's biggest opportunity, and I believe that you can dare to look at it with a fresh eye."

The state of play: Trump and Kenyatta are expected to discuss a possible free trade agreement between the U.S. and Kenya.

  • It would be the first U.S. trade agreement with a country in sub-Saharan Africa, per AP, and could help in the broader U.S. strategy of challenging China's economic clout on the continent.
  • China surpassed the U.S. as a lead trade partner for most African nations more than a decade ago.
Data: The Observatory of Economic Complexity; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios
Data: The Observatory of Economic Complexity; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios

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