Biden and Jinping
The Biden administration would like to see a reduced Russian and Chinese presence on the African continent as they try to spread their influence mainly by destabilising the countries where they operate.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on a four-nation tour to Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria and Angola. His trip to Africa is part of a follow-up to last year's US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington with African leaders to convince them to stop relying on the Russian Wagner mercenary group and instead lean on Washington to help restore security and stability.

Blinken said the US is set on working closely with Nigeria on security and in the fight against religious extremism in West Africa. He said the US would provide an additional $45 million to West African nations as part of a plan to battle instability, bringing total funding under the year-old program to nearly $300 million.

"The problem we've seen a bit across Africa in countries that have decided to entrust their fate to groups like Wagner, for example, Russia, is that violence, destruction, terrorism, abuse of resources and abuse of the people follow," Blinken said in an interview with Radio France Internationale on Wednesday.

He continued: "We've seen it every time. Instead of seeing better security for the people in question, insecurity has actually increased in all the countries where, for example, the Wagner group operates or operated. So, to us, that's not the answer. Quite the opposite."

Blinken said the Wagner group is only exploiting nations such as Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso in the continent's Sahel region and which have been hit by coups and conflict. Islamic extremist groups have turned the region into a global terror hot spot.

As such, Blinken said he is there to offer an alternative solution.

"So, that's precisely what collaboration does, as well as our cooperation, our security programs, the investments we make, the collaboration we have – they're here to address this problem, to provide another choice," he said.

Speaking in Côte d'Ivoire on Tuesday, Blinken said the US is mainly focusing on "investments in infrastructure, education, health, food security and combating climate change".

"These are the most important areas, but there is also a focus on youth and women because they need to be integrated into the economies," he added.

This sounds good on paper but can the US strengthen bilateral relations with these countries and solve the security problem plaguing the Sahel?

While Blinken has said the US would like to offer equipment, technology, intelligence sharing and technical support, this may not be sufficient to ensure security and long-term stability.

Togo, Ghana and Benin, countries which neighbour Nigeria to the west are concerned about a spillover of violence from the Sahel region which stretches across the continent from Senegal on the west coast to Eritrea on the east coast.

Blinken's trip comes at a time when the world is focused on the Middle East region where Israel is fighting Hamas in Gaza, a US-led force is operating against the Houthi rebels off the coast of Yemen, and international leaders are working to prevent a war between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

The secretary's trip also takes place as Russia continues to attack Ukraine, North Korea is threatening South Korea and China is threatening Taiwan.

The fact that Blinken is making the trip to Africa now with all these other important issues taking place around the globe, demonstrates the Biden administration's commitment and resolve to assist Africa and to follow up on its promise from last year to stabilise the region.

Furthermore, the Biden administration would like to see a reduced Russian and Chinese presence on the African continent as they try to spread their influence mainly by destabilising the countries where they operate.

The US would like to see a stronger American presence in Africa, replacing Russia and China, and influencing a greater move toward democracy and stability. By investing in these African nations, Blinken has made clear the Biden administration is focused on fulfilling its promise to do so and to assist these nations where needed.

By following through on its commitments and supporting these African nations, the US will provide the continent with a better answer to its problems and hopefully fully eradicate the destructive forces that have been undermining the stability and security of many African countries for so many years.

By Daniel Elliot

Daniel is a business consultant and analyst, with experience working for government organisations in the UK and US. On his free time, he regularly contributes to International Business Times UK.