Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken wrapped up a four-nation tour through Africa on Thursday with a visit to Angola, an oil-rich former Cold War battleground that has become the site of a struggle for 21st-century economic influence.
During his visit to the coastal capital, Luanda, Mr. Blinken spotlighted major American investments in Angola, including more than $900 million for solar energy projects and $250 million to upgrade a rail corridor that carries critical minerals, including cobalt and copper, from central Africa to Angola’s Atlantic port of Lobito.
Those solar investments help to advance President Biden’s climate agenda while the transportation improvements further his goal of diversifying American supply chains — in part to reduce U.S. dependence on Chinese control of the vital ingredients for a modern economy.
Just over 20 years since the end of Angola’s civil war, which left perhaps as many as one million people dead, the country has rebuilt, modernized and developed friendly relations with Washington, which once funded rebels against a government backed by the Soviet Union and Cuba.
Speaking at a news conference alongside Téte António, Angola’s foreign minister, Mr. Blinken proclaimed that U.S.-Angola relations were at their “strongest” point in their history.
Unspoken was Angola’s economic links to China, which has lent Angola nearly $43 billion.
Those financial ties between Beijing and Luanda are one of several relationships that have alarmed U.S. military officials, who warn that China is seeking to establish a naval base with Atlantic Ocean access.