July 14, 2024

Africa at the Center of U.S. Leadership: A Year in Review at the United Nations

In 2023, the United States Mission to the United Nations (USUN) under Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s leadership placed a significant focus on Africa, reaffirming the nation’s commitment to humanitarian initiatives, peacekeeping, and addressing critical issues on the continent. As Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield and USUN showcased American leadership at the United Nations, their efforts extended beyond borders, resonating in Africa and shaping the global response to challenges faced by the continent.

Bolstering Humanitarian Programs in Africa

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, both at the UN and in visits to member states, reaffirmed U.S. support for humanitarian initiatives in Africa. During her January visit to Somalia, she announced a $40 million additional funding to address extreme food gaps, treat severe malnutrition, and combat outbreaks of deadly diseases. At the UN’s High-Level Pledging Event for the Horn of Africa in May, the Ambassador announced a substantial $524 million in additional funding to mitigate the impacts of the record-setting drought in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

In September, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield visited eastern Chad to draw international attention to the humanitarian crisis along the border with Sudan. During the visit, she announced an additional $163 million in humanitarian assistance to support the people of Sudan and its refugees in neighboring countries. The Ambassador also announced U.S. sanctions against officials accused of violating human rights in Sudan, underlining the U.S. commitment to addressing humanitarian challenges in the region.

Holding Russia Accountable in Africa

Throughout the year, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield and USUN addressed the destabilizing activities of the Wagner Group and other Russian proxies in Africa. They highlighted abuses, massacres of civilians, and the role of these groups in driving extremist recruitment. The Ambassador engaged African leaders, pressed the United Nations to report publicly on human rights violations by these proxies, and raised awareness among African youth on the threat posed by these activities to peace and prosperity on the continent.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield cultivated domestic and global coalitions, including on a bipartisan basis alongside the U.S. Congress, to rally the global community to sustain support for Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s war. This commitment extended to addressing Russia’s activities in Africa, underlining the interconnectedness of global security and stability.

Spearheading UN Modernization and Reform for Africa

Recognizing the diverse and dynamic landscape of Africa, USUN led efforts to ensure that the United Nations is equipped to meet the continent’s evolving challenges. As part of UN reform, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield and USUN leadership held wide-ranging consultations on Security Council reform, involving intergovernmental negotiation chairs, regional blocs, groups of Member States, and civil society. Their commitment to ensuring all stakeholders are heard and involved in the process of Security Council reform reflects a nuanced understanding of Africa’s role on the international stage.

USUN played a critical role in peacekeeping reform, pledging millions of dollars in December to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of UN peacekeeping efforts. The mission also launched a first-of-its-kind women’s body armor pilot project in partnership with Ghana and Zambia, recognizing the role of female peacekeepers and the impact of their involvement in African communities.

In summary, the year 2023 showcased a U.S. Mission to the United Nations that actively engaged with Africa, addressing humanitarian challenges, holding nations accountable for destabilizing activities, and spearheading reforms to make the UN more responsive to the continent’s needs. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s leadership underscores the U.S. commitment to partnership and positive change in Africa, as part of a broader effort to shape a more inclusive and effective global governance.

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