WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- U.S. national security adviser John Bolton on Thursday criticized China and Russia for employing "predatory practices" in Africa to stunt the continent's growth and economic independence.
"They are deliberately and aggressively targeting their investments in the region to gain a competitive advantage over the United States," Bolton said as he announced a new U.S. strategy toward Africa, established in part to counter rising Chinese and Russian influence in the region.
Bolton accused China of "bribes, opaque agreements, and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing's wishes and demands."
China's investment ventures "are riddled with corruption" and do not meet the same environmental and ethical standards as U.S. programs, he said in an address at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank.
Russia is also seeking to increase its clout in Africa through "corrupt economic dealings," and continues to "sell arms and energy in exchange for votes at the United Nations," Bolton alleged.
Under the "Prosper Africa" initiative, President Donald Trump's administration will support American investment across the continent, grow Africa's middle class and improve the overall business climate in the region, according to Bolton.
"We will encourage African leaders to choose high-quality, transparent, inclusive and sustainable foreign investment projects, including those from the United States," the Trump adviser said.
In October, Trump signed legislation creating a $60 billion international development agency, apparently in response to China's rising overseas development programs under President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative.