Biden to world leaders: protecting democracy is the “challenge of our time”

There were 80 world leaders attending virtually when Mr. Biden, 79, delivered his remarks at the White House in Washington D.C., including the leaders of France, Canada, India, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguai, Japan, Israel and the Philippines.

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday asserted that protecting democracy is the “challenge of our time,” noting that half of all democracies have experienced a decline in at least one aspect of democracy over the last 10 years.

There were 80 world leaders attending virtually when Mr. Biden, 79, delivered his remarks at the White House in Washington D.C., including the leaders of France, Canada, India, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguai, Japan, Israel and the Philippines.

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivers opening remarks during the summit for democracy in the Southern Auditorium in the Eisenhower Office Building of the White House in Washington DC on December 9, 2021. Secretary Antony J. Blinken joined him for the remarks. 
U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivers opening remarks during the summit for democracy in the Southern Auditorium in the Eisenhower Office Building of the White House in Washington DC on December 9, 2021. Secretary Antony J. Blinken joined him for the remarks.

At least 15 African countries have been invited to attend the summit on democracy on Thursday and Friday. The summit’s three thematic pillars are strengthening democracy and defending against authoritarianism; fighting corruption; and promoting respect for human rights.

The 15 countries are Angola, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Zambia.

The virtual summit is bringing together over 100 governments representing diverse democratic experiences from around the world, as well as leading activists, journalists, private sector leaders, and other members of civil society.

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivers opening remarks during the summit for democracy in the Southern Auditorium in the Eisenhower Office Building of the White House in Washington DC on December 9, 2021. Secretary Antony J. Blinken joined him for the remarks. 
U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivers opening remarks during the summit for democracy in the Southern Auditorium in the Eisenhower Office Building of the White House in Washington DC on December 9, 2021. Secretary Antony J. Blinken joined him for the remarks.

On Wednesday, the United States government explained what it expects to achieve during a virtual summit on democracy President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is hosting on Thursday and Friday.

“The goal of the invitation list was to ensure the Summit reflects diverse  slate of democracies. We are embracing a big tent, with a clear-eyed recognition that no democracy is perfect. We want to engage, encourage positive change, and learn from shared experience,” a State Department spokesperson told Today News Africa on Wednesday.  

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivers opening remarks during the summit for democracy in the Southern Auditorium in the Eisenhower Office Building of the White House in Washington DC on December 9, 2021. Secretary Antony J. Blinken joined him for the remarks. 
U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivers opening remarks during the summit for democracy in the Southern Auditorium in the Eisenhower Office Building of the White House in Washington DC on December 9, 2021. Secretary Antony J. Blinken joined him for the remarks.

The spokesperson added, “We expect this event to provide leaders a forum to discuss current challenges and opportunities, and to serve as a platform to announce new commitments, reforms, and initiatives.  The Summit will feature remarks from President Biden and other senior U.S. Government officials, plenary sessions with Heads of State, and thematic sessions with governmental and non-governmental leaders.”

President Joe Biden meets with White House staff in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, to prepare for a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) 
President Joe Biden meets with White House staff in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, to prepare for a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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