Africa’s latest news in the United States

Ceasefire in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region

Press Statement
Ned Price, Department Spokesperson
June 29, 2021

The Government of Ethiopia’s announcement yesterday of a unilateral ceasefire in the Tigray region could be a positive step if it results in changes on the ground to end the conflict, stop the atrocities, and allow unhindered humanitarian assistance.  We are closely monitoring developments.  We call on all parties to commit to an immediate, indefinite, negotiated ceasefire, so as to end the violence, restore stability to Tigray, and create a context for an inclusive dialogue that preserves the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ethiopian state.

We urge all parties to adhere strictly to international humanitarian law and commit to unhindered humanitarian access and independent mechanisms for accountability for human rights violations and abuses.  We continue to call for the immediate, verifiable withdrawal of all Eritrean forces from Ethiopian territory, a necessary step for an effective, sustainable ceasefire and in accordance with the Ethiopian government’s March commitment to do so.

Our paramount priority is addressing the dire humanitarian situation.  The United States stands ready to work with the Ethiopian government, Tigrayan authorities, the United Nations, and other international partners to expedite the delivery of life-saving food assistance, including to the estimated 900,000 people likely already experiencing famine conditions.  In this regard, we urge the Ethiopian authorities to immediately restore telecommunication services in Tigray and permit unhindered freedom of movement for and ensure the safety and security of humanitarian organization personnel.

Explanation of Vote on the Renewal of the Mandate for the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)

Ambassador Richard Mills
Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
June 29, 2021


Thank you, Mr. President. The United States would also like to thank Council members for their collaborative negotiation. And we are also grateful for France’s collegiality in developing the draft resolution and in conducting negotiations.

As I begin this explanation of vote, I know all our thoughts are with the 13 German peacekeepers wounded in the IED attack on June 25 while serving in MINUSMA. The United States condemns this attack in the strongest terms.

In light of MINUSMA’s immense tasks, my delegation reiterates that a clear line must be maintained between counterterrorism-mandated operations and peacekeeping missions in order to protect the UN’s impartiality, its personnel, and its effectiveness. The G5 Sahel governments – not the Security Council – direct the Joint Force, which is a coalition of domestic forces conducting offensive counterterrorism operations within their own countries. To this end, we must work together to find options to relieve MINUSMA of its reimbursable support through the UN-EU-G5 Sahel technical agreement to the G5 Sahel Joint Force. We also recall that MINUSMA and other UN support to regional actors must be conditioned on strict compliance with the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy and must be supported by credible and robust verification mechanisms.

With regard to the new mandate requesting the Secretary-General to report on options to increase support to the Joint Force, we reiterate that Chapter VII authorization is not appropriate for the Joint Force. Further, the United States does not support using any source of UN funding to establish a UN Support Office for the Joint Force. We encourage the Secretary-General to explore the full spectrum of bilateral and multilateral options outside of MINUSMA and the UN more generally.

We agree that the G5 Sahel is a crucial part of a sustainable solution for stability and prosperity in the Sahel. The United States is a committed partner to G5 Sahel, and we have obligated more than $588 million to provide security assistance and other countering-violent extremism support to the G5 countries since Fiscal Year 2017. For the people of the Sahel, the U.S. government has provided more than $2 billion in health and development, security, and humanitarian assistance. We will continue to support the Sahel through appropriate mechanisms.

Moving to climate change, we were dismayed that the Council failed to take the needed steps to increase UN information gathering in order to increase Council understanding of how climate-related security risks affect Mali. As we know, impacts of climate change can exacerbate underlying political, social, and economic conditions, possibly leading to new or renewed conflict, food and water scarcity, and mass migration that threatens to undermine peace and stability. The impacts of climate change can also undermine our ability to successfully execute peacekeeping operations and other shared security priorities.

Finally, let me end with a note about the ongoing transition in Mali. It is critical that the February 2022 elections be free and fair and result in a transition to democratic governance by April 2022, which will support conditions for stability and address social grievances. We strongly support the ECOWAS parameter that the head of state and prime minister are not – under any circumstances – to be candidates in the presidential election. And we also reiterate our call for the immediate and unconditional release and humane treatment of those still being held in detention and under house arrest following the events of May 24.

Thank you, Mr. President.


Statement from Treasury on Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Debt Relief for Sudan

U.S. Department of the Treasury
Press Release
Washington, D.C.
June 29, 2021

The U.S. Department of the Treasury welcomes today’s announcement from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Sudan has successfully cleared roughly $1.4 billion in arrears to the IMF and commends Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government for reaching the first phase of debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Today’s milestone is a testament to the sustained commitment of Sudanese authorities to implement challenging but necessary economic reforms amidst the country’s transition to democratic rule. These reforms include unifying the exchange rate and strengthening governance and transparency.

“This is a historic moment for Sudan and its people,” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen.  “The U.S. is proud to have been an early advocate for Sudan to normalize ties to the international financial institutions and helping it to secure debt relief.  These steps will unlock much-needed financing and will help build the foundation for poverty reduction, inclusive development, and economic growth.  All Sudanese can take pride in this achievement.”

The U.S. has played a critical role in supporting Sudan’s path to HIPC debt relief, in recognition of the important work the Government of Sudan has undertaken to restore economic stability. Treasury provided same-day bridge financing of approximately $1.15 billion in March to help Sudan clear its arrears at the World Bank, at no cost to U.S. taxpayers, and co-hosted a roundtable with the Department of State to encourage Sudan’s bilateral creditors to advance debt relief efforts. Treasury has also committed to contribute up to $120 million in grant resources to fund IMF debt relief for Sudan under the first phase of HIPC announced today. The U.S. is pleased to join other Paris Club members in providing both immediate and future debt relief in accordance with the provisions of the HIPC initiative and will continue to support Sudan as it implements additional economic reforms needed to complete the HIPC process. Sudan is the last country to clear protracted arrears to the IMF, which now faces no repayment arrears from its members for the first time since early 1975.


Reinforcing the U.S. Commitment to Multilateralism at the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
June 29, 2021

“The only way we’re going to meet global threats is by working together, and with our partners and our allies… the United States is going to do our part.  America is back at the table.”

– President Joseph R. Biden, June 13, 2021

Secretary Blinken travels to Bari and Matera, Italy, June 28-29, to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, where he will reinforce the United States’ commitment to strong coordination with partners and allies to address global challenges, including combating the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening global health security, supporting democracy and human rights, addressing the climate crisis, preventing famine and acute food insecurity, and fostering a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery.  The G20 foreign ministers will also discuss supporting inclusive economic development and prosperity in Africa.

The G20: An Important Forum for International Economic Policy Coordination

  • As an important forum for international economic policy coordination, the G20 enables the United States to engage directly with the world’s largest advanced and emerging economies to promote our interests and meet global challenges.  G20 members account for more than 80 percent of global gross domestic product, three-quarters of global trade, and two-thirds of the world’s population.  The agenda of the G20 has broadened since the 2008-2009 financial crisis and the first meeting of G20 Leaders to include political and social issues that intersect with economic interests.
  • Italy, which currently holds the G20 presidency, is hosting the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting from June 28-29 in Bari and Matera, Italy.  The meeting will be the first opportunity for G20 foreign ministers to come together in person since the COVID-19 pandemic began.  The United States strongly supports Italy’s G20 priorities of combating the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, and promoting economic recovery.
  • Secretary Blinken will engage with his counterparts from G20 member states, including: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.  Spain is expected to participate as a permanent guest.

Reinforcing the United States Commitment to Multilateralism at the G20

  • Multilateralism is our best tool for tackling global challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, global health security, the climate crisis; and preventing famine and food insecurity, responding to democratic backsliding and rising autocracy, and building a sustainable economic recovery.  The United States is committed to supporting effective and accountable multilateral institutions.  We work closely with our multilateral partners to ensure accountability for results, at both the activity and institutional levels.
  • A multilateral vision for advancing the rules-based international order must be based on international law and support for democracy and human rights.  We will advance peaceful, just, and inclusive societies by defending media freedom; preserving a free and open internet; combatting corruption; tackling disinformation; protecting civic space; and promoting the human rights of all people.  We commit to advancing these core interests in a free and just world, and we will call on other member states to do the same.
  • The United States is leading the multilateral response to the COVID-19 pandemic, donating $2 billion to Gavi, the vaccine alliance, to support the procurement and equitable distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income economies through the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC). The United States has also committed to share 80 million surplus vaccines (with the majority through COVAX), and to provide 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Gavi for distribution by COVAX to AMC economies and to African Union members. As evident at the recent G7 Summit, we continue to take concrete and tangible steps to drive action to end this pandemic and prevent the next, and we will call on the broader G20 to join us.
  • On climate change, Secretary Blinken will build on President Biden’s actions convening the Leaders Summit on Climate and re-convening the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.  The United States will rally the world’s democracies to meet one of the greatest global challenges by encouraging G20 members to work together toward ambitious G20 outcomes, including by seeking commitments to keep 1.5°C within reach, to submit enhanced 2030 targets aligned with this goal, and take other important steps to address the climate crisis such as committing to end overseas public coal finance.
  • In support of building a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery, the United States urges all creditors to fully and transparently implement the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments to avoid delays that can prolong debt overhangs and exacerbate growth shocks, and urges all members of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework process to join consensus in ending the race to the bottom and building a global tax system that is equitable and equipped to meet the needs of the 21st century global economy.

Supporting Inclusive Economic Development & Prosperity in Africa by Building Back Better

  • Before the pandemic, Africa had some of the fastest-growing economies in the world.  The United States supports getting African economies growing again and building them back better and more resilient. Increased economic engagement between the United States and Africa will strengthen economic ties and boost shared prosperity for Africa and the United States.
  • The United States will partner with African governments, multilateral organizations, and the private sector to substantially increase two-way trade and investment with African countries in order to drive democratic, sustainable, climate-friendly and equitable growth, and to create quality jobs for people in Africa and the United States. This includes supporting efforts to increase energy access, which underpins economic growth.
  • The United States recognizes that African countries are already facing the worst impacts of climate change and will continue efforts to strengthen resilience to climate impacts while building stronger economies.
  • The United States will continue to engage with G20 and other international partners to address humanitarian and human rights challenges in Africa, especially the conflict-induced famine and ongoing abuses and atrocities in Ethiopia.

Administrator Samantha Power Intervention At The G20 Joint Foreign And Development Affairs Ministerial

United States Agency for International Development
News and Information
June 29, 2021

As Prepared

Thank you, Secretary Blinken.

I want to echo everyone’s thanks to Italy for elevating food security and nutrition as a top development priority. I am eager to join the G20’s commitment to a world free of hunger and malnutrition by 2030.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, scientists and innovators around the world were helping put this goal within our reach thanks to technological advances like vitamin-enriched and drought-resistant seeds and more efficient watershed and soil management practices. But despite these innovations, the COVID-19 pandemic shattered the progress we were making in equipping some of the world’s poorest communities with the tools to feed themselves.

As you all know, more than 160 million more people are living in poverty due to COVID-19, and another 9.3 million more children could suffer from acute malnutrition. But we can overcome this pandemic—and regain our footing in the fight against hunger.

More than 10 years ago, the U.S. made a commitment to double food security assistance in L’Aquila, Italy—a recognition that generous food aid had to be supplemented by sustained long-term investments in agricultural productivity and food security. We have maintained that commitment through Feed the Future, an initiative that leverages research, innovation, and private sector partnerships to guarantee lasting food security for future generations. Through this initiative, the U.S. has already lifted more than 23 million people out of poverty.

These linkages between government, the private sector, and the scientific community are exactly the type of focused and coordinated action we need to end global hunger, and we urge our G20 partners to work with new partners and invest in long-term food security. Alone, we won’t be able to help countries strengthen resilient and sustainable food systems that will help them weather future crises and climate shocks—the status quo will not be enough. But together, we can deepen partnerships with the private sector and other non-traditional donors to once and for all bring an end to chronic hunger and poverty.

To that end, we applaud the Matera Declaration on Food Security, Nutrition, and Food Systems. And I look forward to working with you all to reinvigorate this effort, and to advance the right to an adequate standard of living—of which adequate food and nutrition are an integral part.

Administrator Samantha Power Intervention At The G20 Development Affairs Ministerial

United States Agency for International Development
News and Information
June 29, 2021

As Prepared

Thank you Vice Minister Sereni for your opening remarks, and to the Italian government for elevating development in the G20. I’d also like to thank my other development minister colleagues from the G20 for the chance to gather and present a united front against our shared challenges.

We’re here today to talk about a sustainable recovery for the developing world. Well, we can’t talk about a sustainable recovery unless we talk about ending the COVID-19 pandemic. And as the Italian government has pointed out, we cannot talk about a sustainable recovery unless that recovery reaches all people, no matter where they live.

We should deal first, with the most urgent threat to countries everywhere: COVID-19. Unfortunately, we are not just fighting a disease—we are fighting to secure decades of development progress that the pandemic is unwinding. COVID-19 has swelled the ranks of the poor, causing the first global rise in extreme poverty in nearly 30 years.

Against this backdrop, the U.S. strongly supports the G20-Paris Club Debt Service Suspension Initiative. Now is not the time to collect debts—instead, we should support countries who redirect their payments toward their COVID-19 response.

We also support a new allocation of $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights at the IMF to provide global liquidity for low-income countries. But these commitments must be taken in concert with steps from partner nations—without sound public financial management, improved domestic revenue mobilization, and effective debt management, developing country governments will be unable to address the challenges that are the focus of today’s discussion. These moves taken together will help expand the fiscal flexibility in developing countries and help them build back better.

The United States also welcomes the G20’s focus on territorial connectivity and localizing the response to COVID-19. I want to applaud the Italian Presidency for recognizing that it’s not enough to measure the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic simply in terms of aggregate stats, goals, and growth rates. Recoveries only matter if their effects are felt locally across populations in our cities and communities, especially those marginalized or left behind.

Strengthening local assistance and governance is one of the United States’ key priorities. Through USAID’s Making Cities Work program, we are working to enhance the capacity of local governments to improve access to public service delivery; promote greater autonomy, transparency, and accountability; and ensure that the rule of law extends to and protects people everywhere.

For example, in Guatemala, where I just visited two weeks ago, USAID help has allowed the public prosecutor’s office the ability to expand the reach of justice across the country, establishing prosecutor’s offices in all 340 of its municipalities. This example is illustrative—if we hope to nurture a sustainable, inclusive recovery, we need to make sure that democratic governance, anti corruption, and respect for human rights extends through every level of government.

The U.S. is committed to work on each of these priorities—anticorruption and democratic governance, localizing our impact, and ending the COVID-19 pandemic—together with our partners in the G20. Only through a multilateral approach, and only with a focus on an inclusive, locally-driven response, can we hope to chart a sustainable recovery for the world and achieve the SDGs. Therefore, the United States is happy to endorse the G20 Development Communique.

Thank you.

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