US defence chief warns China, Russia 'destabilising' Africa

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin delivers remarks at the Peace, Security, and Governance Forum in Washington, on Dec 13, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin warned African leaders at a summit on Tuesday that China and Russia risked “destabilising” the continent with their rising involvement.

“The combination of those activities by those two countries, I think that bears watching. And certainly, I think their influence can be destabilising,” Mr Austin told a panel with several presidents at the start of a three-day US-Africa summit.

Mr Austin said China was raising its footprint in Africa “on a daily basis” through its growing economic influence.

“The troubling piece there is they’re not always transparent in terms of what they’re doing and that creates problems that will be eventually destabilising if they’re not already,” Mr Austin said.

Mr Austin said that Russia is “continuing to peddle cheap weapons” and deploying “mercenaries across the continent.”

“And that is destabilising as well,” Mr Austin said. AFP

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