December 7, 2022

Daleep Singh travels to Ghana and Senegal to discuss infrastructure needs as President Biden expands Build Back Better World (B3W) Initiative to Africa

Daleep Singh Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 06: Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasia Daleep Singh testifies during a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee March 6, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The hearing was to examine "U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Ukraine." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh has returned from a trip to Ghana and Senegal where he discussed the infrastructure needs in both African nations, as well as President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s Build Back Better World (B3W) Initiative in the continent.

President Biden’s motto – Build Back Better – is an aspiration to build back the United States better than it was before the coronavirus pandemic economic turmoil. Last week, Congress passed his $1.2 trillion bi-partisan infrastructure bill that he is expected to sign into law this week. The money would help rebuild America’s old infrastructure, from bridges to roads, and even to the Internet and electric cars.

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. addresses world leaders at the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, November 2, 2021.

On Saturday morning, Biden praised the House of Representatives passage of the bipartisan infrastructure investment and jobs act, saying that “tonight, we took a monumental step forward as a nation.”

Generations from now, people will look back and know this is when America won the economic competition for the 21st Century,” he said.

U.S. Congress late on Friday passed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, a major pillar of President Biden’s domestic agenda. The final vote was 228-206, with thirteen Republicans voting with majority Democrats. Six Democrats voted against the bill.

The legislation, which passed the Senate in August but was stalled in the House for months over lingering divisions among progressive and moderate Democrats, will deliver $550 billion of new federal investments in U.S. infrastructure over five years. The money will go to build roads, bridges, mass transit, rail, airports and waterways.

In addition, $65 billion investment will go into improving America’s broadband infrastructure, the electric grid and water systems. Another $7.5 billion would go to building a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers.

President Biden is trying to replicate the same thing in Africa with his Build Back Better World (B3W) Initiate. How that would be implemented in a continent with little access to financing and heavily indebted remains to be seen.

Singh was joined on his trip by Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation Alexia Latortue and U.S. International Development Finance Corporation’s (USAID) Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Africa Bureau Travis L. Adkins.

The National Security Council said the trip reflected the Biden administration’s whole-of-government effort to implement the Build Back Better World (B3W) Initiative “in a manner that is transparent, sustainable, adheres to high standards, and catalyzes the private sector where possible.”

“This was the first B3W listening session in Africa, demonstrating President Biden’s commitment to strengthening our ties in the region and to narrowing the global gaps in physical, digital, and human infrastructure that have been widened by the COVID-19 pandemic, said NSC spokesperson Emily Horne.

Horne said in Ghana, Singh and the U.S. delegation met with Vice President E. Mahamudu Bawumia and Ministers of Finance, Defense, and National Security, while in Senegal, Singh and the U.S. delegation met with President Macky Sall and Minister of Economy Amadou Hott to discuss “both how the United States can mobilize investments to meet Senegal’s infrastructure and development needs, and ways of improving development impact within the framework of B3W. Singh and the U.S. delegation also visited the site of the Institut Pasteur Dakar vaccination manufacturing facility and a cold chain warehouse, which have received support from USAID and the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), respectively.”

Singh also participated in a roundtable with representatives of international financial institutions and members of civil society including women, climate, and agricultural leaders.

“Throughout his trip, Singh met with representatives from the private sector as well as key environmental, labor, and civil society leaders to solicit their views as to how we can best support local communities in a way that responds to infrastructure needs and advances the highest standards for transparency and anticorruption, financial sustainability, labor protections, and environmental preservation,” Horne said.

She added that “as the United States and our partners start to develop and implement the B3W initiative, we recognize that robust, meaningful partnerships with donor and host countries alike will be critical. For this reason, on the margins of COP26 last week, President Biden, European Commission President Von der Leyen, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosted a meeting with several G7 partners to hear from countries with major infrastructure needs on how major democracies of the world can meet the enormous infrastructure need in the developing world – and committed to addressing the climate crisis through infrastructure development. Early in October, Singh led an interagency delegation to Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama to hear directly from a range of Latin American stakeholders.”

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