In the last 20 years, it has spent $100 billion (Sh10 trillion) on health in Africa (or $900 million annually) according to the State Department. That amount includes $7 billion (Sh700 billion) in Kenya, where it has funded some 279 labs under an anti-HIV programme known as [President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] PEPFAR.
“The WHO is a proxy target for great power rivalry amidst the global pandemic. In the realist view, the great powers fund international institutions for self-interest and the first conditionality post-Covid19 will be the reconstitution of the WHO, and probably westernise it,” he told the Sunday Nation.
“With its growing economic might, China is challenging US dominance globally and in Africa in particular where it seems to be having an upper hand due to the robust economic diplomacy and trade ties it has built across the continent,” Peter Mwencha, the Secretary and CEO of the International Relations Society of Kenya, an association of foreign policy specialists.
China is already the biggest trading partner of Africa (worth about $200 billion, compared to US’s $40 billion) and taking over most of the infrastructure projects (worth about $2 trillion since 2005), albeit accused of burdening the continent with debt, the pandemic may have given Beijing a new way of influence in ‘donation diplomacy’.
“This is an opportunity for Africa to put its case for a multi-polar world. The US has retreated from global leadership as it deals with internal affairs leaving China to fill the vacuum. This abdication risks further dominance by China vis-a-vis African because of economic dependency as a result of indebtedness.
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