The U.S. announced on Friday its Secretary of State Anthony Blinken would travel to South Africa, the DRC and Rwanda between the 7th and 11th of August. This trip was notified just two days after Blinken's Russian counterpart Serguei Lavrov completed his African tour in four countries, Egypt, Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia.
It stands as an additional sign of the battle of influence raging between the Western and Russian sides amid the war in Ukraine and a food crisis.
In the very same week, the US also said another top diplomat, President Biden’s ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, would visit Ghana and Uganda on August 4.
During his trip, Lavrov rejected accusations that Russia was exporting hunger and instead, blamed the West for monopolizing commodity and supply flows during the pandemic, saying it worsened the situation for food imports. The Russian Foreign minister also added the sanctions imposed to his country were exacerbating the situation. With these visits, Washington hopes to change the narrative.
A tough bet as many African nations have refused to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine. With 25 of Africa’s 54 states abstained from a vote to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during the U.N. General Assembly in March.