To promote U.S.-Africa relations and highlight a new partnership aimed at creating economic opportunity for Africa and the U.S. in the public and private sectors, the U.S. State Department hosted the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit—the second such event since the Obama administration in 2014 The first session was held.
The 2022 US-Africa Leaders Summit was held in Washington, D.C. from December 13-15, and was attended by 49 delegations from 54 African countries. In addition, 246 African and African-American companies were represented.
“The 3-day summit continues efforts to strengthen relationships with African partners based on mutual respect and shared interests and values. Hear and collaborate with African counterparts in key areas of critical importance to the United States,” the U.S. State Department website says.
In August, the Biden administration released a new “U.S. Strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa,” which is historic in its emphasis on Africa’s importance. It highlighted that Africa has “one of the world’s fastest-growing populations, the largest free trade area, the most diverse ecosystem and one of the largest regional voting groups in the United Nations (UN)” and is therefore crucial to shaping the world’s future. important.
The new strategy also comes after the Trump administration has diminished the role of Africa.
Day one featured discussions and panels involving African and African-American leaders and experts from across sectors on issues ranging from trade and investment, health, governance, climate and space exploration. These include a civil society forum focused on partnerships related to the Africa 2063 Agenda strategy, which details the Alliance’s vision for Africa and the advancement of the global African diaspora.
Vice President Kamala Harris, the first black and woman to hold the office, graduated from Howard University in 1986 and spoke at the African and Diaspora Youth Leaders Forum. There, she reiterated the importance of Africa’s young leaders and entrepreneurs for the future.
“By working together, we can unlock growth and opportunity far greater than any of us could achieve alone. But we must invest in this alliance. So let us work together to unleash the creativity and ingenuity of Africa’s young leaders Intelligence,” Harris said.
The Africa Business Forum took place the next day, with President Joe Biden delivering a keynote address.In his speech, Biden emphasized that prioritizing cooperation with Africa is a top priority for his administration and highlighted the power of building ties to drive development in Africa and the United States
“When Africa succeeds, America succeeds. And frankly, the whole world succeeds,” Biden said.
He also stressed that strengthening commercial ties involves supporting Africa in all areas, from health to democracy, noting that “good government, healthy populations and reliable and affordable energy” are important elements of a stronger economy on the continent.
“The United States is committed to supporting all aspects of inclusive growth in Africa — every aspect — and creating the best environment for continued business collaboration between African and American companies,” he said.
In addition, the President announced a three-point plan to support economic relations between the two regions.
First, the memorandum of understanding on trade and investment cooperation between the United States and the African Continental Free Trade Area was announced. The second component is more investment in infrastructure and policies that support intra-African trade. Finally, millions of dollars will be used to support African entrepreneurship through areas such as clean energy, agriculture and the Africa Digital Transformation Initiative to expand affordable and reliable internet access. The initiative also includes partnerships with companies such as Microsoft to provide technology training to African business owners.
The third and final day of the summit focused on discussions between Biden and African leaders on the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
Ervin Massinga, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of African Affairs, spoke to The Hilltop about building connections between African Americans and Africa through institutions such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and highlighted President Biden’s announcement The African American diaspora and the African Council exchange on issues of concern, healthcare entrepreneurship, and more.
“We look forward to conversations and engagements with HBCUs and faith-based groups and all types of specific organizations across the United States who care, desire, and seek opportunities to engage on issues they care about, whether it’s healthcare, entrepreneurship, the environment… .Our The council is a vehicle for broadening the dialogue,” Mazinga said.
Massinga also discussed economic opportunities, saying that while tools such as Foreign Commercial Services, Export-Import Bank already exist for trade with Africa, more are needed.
“We need to do better and be more creative … but we need to hear from the diaspora, youth, entrepreneurs and others who have ideas and ask the government to focus on what to do,” he said.
“The conversation at the heart of the summit showed that we’re not here to tell our African friends what to do and what the solution is … this is a solution that gets answered through dialogue.”
There was also a series of side events surrounding the summit this week, bringing together various African leaders and members of diaspora networks from the public and private sectors.
Copy edited by Nhandi Long-Shipman