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US continues to have predominant military influence in Africa, expert says

Africa has now become a foothold of two superpowers, the USA and China, who continue to coexist with each other "more or less painlessly," the expert claims

MOSCOW, August 16. /TASS/. The US continues to have predominant military presence on the African continent, Deputy Director of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Leonid Fituni told TASS.

Earlier, a US online media outlet The Intercept published an article on the increased military and economic presence of Russia and China in Africa, which threatens US positions on the continent.

"The US has over 500 points, which are formally not known as bases, however, the point is that in each of these 500 spots, there is US military personnel and their equipment, there are depots, even though they do not plan to wage a war in Africa," the expert said.

The expert also mentioned one of the biggest drone bases located in Nigeria and controlled by the USA. Fituni added that the US exercises its influence on Africa from bases located outside the continent, for example, the base located on the Diego Garcia atoll in the south of the Indian Ocean.

Russian-African military cooperation

Speaking of the military-technical cooperation between Russia and Africa, the expert noted that it is rather limited so far, however, military trade is developing at a quick pace. Fituni reminded that many African states’ armies were equipped by Soviet weaponry, and currently, Russia continues the deliveries of military equipment to African countries.

Russia’s participation in UN peacekeeping mission is the second key area of cooperation, the expert said. He stressed that despite a small number of Russian military officers involved in these missions, Russia actively delivers military equipment to Africa. "Our helicopters serve as the travel basis for practically all peacekeepers in Africa. Of course, there are Ukrainian and American helicopters, however, on the whole, our helicopters are in active use there, because even if they are not the best overall, they are among the best for these specific purposes," he added.

Besides, Russia provides opportunities for military training of African personnel. According to Fituni, there are about 2,000 African citizens undergoing training in Russia.

Non-threatening presence

However, the expert notes, Russia’s military presence in Africa cannot be considered a threat to US’ interests. "As a state, we cooperate with those African countries that cooperated with us in the past, namely, in the military sphere, however, this cannot even compare to Western cooperation, and it does not pose a military threat to the West," he stressed.

According to Fituni, Africa has now become a foothold of two superpowers, the USA and China, who continue to coexist with each other "more or less painlessly."