The US and China — and the political, economic but also values systems they represent — are locked in a battle for global supremacy. It has been said over and again that both are vying for access to Africa’s natural resources, investment opportunities, and a growing consumer class, as well as geopolitical support at the UN and other global bodies. Their approaches and values are radically different, but who is better placed to win long-term influence on the continent?

US economic policy prescription in Africa has historically centred on building market-orientated economies, and on encouraging private sector investment and free trade. US-controlled global financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank have been key implementers of such policies. The US has also attempted to promote Western-style governance and human rights. ..

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