6. Africa is next in the U.S.-China race
In early February, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited several countries in Latin America and sounded the alarm over China's influence there.
Now Tillerson is visiting five African countries and making similar warnings. At a press conference Thursday at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia, Tillerson warned African nations against forfeiting "any elements of your sovereignty as you enter into such arrangements with China."
Why it matters: Africa is the new target in the global influence race between China and America. But, China's reach is expected to continue expanding, especially as Xi views Trump's "America First" platform as a boon.
What we're hearing: On the eve of his trip, Tillerson gave a speech where he said that China "encourages dependency using opaque contracts, predatory loan practices, and corrupt deals that mire nations in debt and undercut their sovereignty, denying them their long-term, self-sustaining growth."
Separately: U.S. leaders are growing concerned that PRC may be taking over a port in Djibouti as it increases its stake. In testimony to the House Armed Services Committee earlier, Reuters reports that General Thomas D. Waldhauser, who heads U.S. Africa Command, said that “If the Chinese took over that port, then the consequences could be significant."
The Washington Post also says that the U.S. government is increasingly concerned, especially since "[t]he port is significant not only because it sits next to China’s only overseas military base but also because it is the main access point for American, French, Italian and Japanese bases in Djibouti."
My thought bubble: If the U.S. is going to compete with China, it has to offer market access, investments, and mechanisms to improve infrastructure.
Go deeper: Read my full story here, and check out Bloomerg's piece on China's massive investments in Ethiopia.