Senior Biden administration officials claimed on Tuesday that substantial gains have been made in US-Africa relations six months after the second US Africa Leaders Summit, hosted by President Joe Biden in December 2022.
They also claimed that they are expecting the White House to announce a list of 12 people who will head the US Diaspora Engagement Council. However, prominent Africans who spoke with Today News Africa said that no one has ever contacted them. The publisher of this publication who has maintained a close relationship with Africans in the United States was never also contacted.
Ambassador Johnny Carson, the special presidential representative for the US Africa Leaders Summit implementation, along with Mary Catherine Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs at the US Department of State, and Judd Devermont, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council, provided insights into the progress achieved during a virtual news briefing.
According to Ambassador Carson, the African leaders in attendance were overwhelmingly pleased with the outcomes of the summit, and progress has been made in implementing the Biden administration’s efforts, although the President of Kenya, William Ruto recently claimed that they were treated like children, questioning why dozens of African leaders should fly to Washington DC, Moscow or Beijing to meet with the leaders of those countries.
According to the three officials, one of the significant achievements in the past six months has been witnessed in the business and economic sector. During the summit, a dedicated day for business, commercial, and investment issues resulted in agreements worth $15.7 billion between American companies and their African counterparts. That figure has further risen to $16.2 billion, underscoring the commitment of the American business community to collaborate more effectively with African countries. These agreements cover a diverse range of sectors, including infrastructure, healthcare, renewable energy implementation, and agriculture.
Ambassador Carson also highlighted the establishment of the US Diaspora Engagement Council as another noteworthy development. The council comprises twelve individuals of African heritage residing in the United States, serving as a crucial foreign policy asset.
They aim to strengthen cooperation and understanding between African Americans and Africans living on the continent. Their recommendations will be presented to the President through the Secretary of State, with the objective of enhancing the level of partnership and solidarity between these two communities.
Mary Catherine Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, underscored the Biden administration’s commitment to strengthening US-Africa relations. She highlighted the unprecedented number of senior-level visits to the continent in the past six months. Notable figures, including Secretary Yellen, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the First Lady, Secretary Blinken, Secretary Austin, Vice President Harris, Secretary of Education Cardona, Administrator Power, and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Fudge, engaged directly with African leaders. These visits have laid the groundwork for enhanced collaboration and cooperation between the United States and African nations.
Judd Devermont, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council, provided further insights into the progress made. He highlighted the remarkable growth in investments in Africa, with the initial $15.7 billion in agreements reached during the summit increasing to $16.2 billion. The recent G7 Summit saw significant announcements, including a $300 million investment in data centers in Ghana as part of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment. Moreover, due diligence is underway for a $250 million railway corridor from Angola to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Export-Import Bank of the United States has also authorized $1.6 billion for infrastructure investments in Africa.
The progress made in US-Africa relations over the past six months, as highlighted by Ambassador Johnny Carson, Assistant Secretary Mary Catherine Phee, and Judd Devermont, demonstrates the dedication of the Biden administration to strengthening ties with Africa and fostering mutually beneficial partnerships, they said.
As the United States continues to engage actively with Africa and promote collaboration in various sectors, the stage is set for sustained progress and a promising future in US-Africa relations.