As Yellen woos Africa, sceptics ask 'Is the U.S. here to stay?'

By Andrea Shalal and Carien Du Plessis LUSAKA (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's three-country trip to Africa - the leading edge of a new diplomatic

push by the Biden administration - aims to show the continent the United States is a true partner, one here for the long-haul. But after decades of losing ground to China

and the tumult of the Donald Trump years, when the former president threatened to slash aid and roll back military support, it is a tough sell. As Africa struggles with

economic headwinds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and, notably, Washington's own monetary policy, Africans are asking for proof the United States will stay

the course this time. Yellen, so far, is at pains to make guarantees. "I don't know how I can give assurances, honestly," she told Reuters in an interview en route

from Senegal to Zambia. But Republicans and Democrats alike support long-standing initiatives, including in the areas of health and trade, she said. Yellen's trip kicks off

a year of high-level U.S. visits that will include President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and Commerce Secretary Gina

Raimondo. Washington hosted African leaders from 49 countries and the African Union at a summit in December, where Biden said the United States was "all in" on Africa's

future and planned to commit $55 billion over the next three years.