President-elect Joe Biden discusses US-Africa ties and COVID-19 with President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa

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The United States President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday discussed how to strengthen US-Africa ties and combat COVID-19 with South African leader Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa is also the chairperson of the African Union.

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“President Ramaphosa had a call with US President-Elect Joe Biden on Tuesday evening, November 17, 2020, during which the leaders discussed ways to strengthen US-Africa relations and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic,” the South African presidency said in a statement received by Today News Africa in Washington.

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It said “President Cyril Ramaphosa is hopeful of a strong partnership between the United States and the African continent in promoting peace and stability in international relations and advancing multilateralism.”

Biden transition team said the President-elect thanked President Ramaphosa for his congratulations and expressed his desire to deepen America’s strategic partnership with South Africa.

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“The president-elect underscored our shared interest in tackling corruption, containing COVID-19, laying the foundation for a sustainable global economic recovery, and addressing the threat of climate change. He also thanked President Ramaphosa for his leadership of the African Union and shared his intention to deepen America’s partnership with African institutions, governments, and citizens,” the Biden office said in a statement.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses 73rd Session of World Health Assembly President Cyril Ramaphosa and as the African Union Chair chairs virtual 73rd Session of the World Health Assembly (WHA). President Ramaphosa was invited to participate as a guest alongside the United Nations Secretary-General, H.E Mr Antonio Guterres; the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E Angela Merkel; the President of the Republic of Korea, H.E. Mr Moon Jae-in, and the Prime Minister of Barbados, H.E. Mia Amor Mottley. Taken on May 18, 2020
President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses 73rd Session of World Health Assembly President Cyril Ramaphosa and as the African Union Chair chairs virtual 73rd Session of the World Health Assembly (WHA). President Ramaphosa was invited to participate as a guest alongside the United Nations Secretary-General, H.E Mr Antonio Guterres; the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E Angela Merkel; the President of the Republic of Korea, H.E. Mr Moon Jae-in, and the Prime Minister of Barbados, H.E. Mia Amor Mottley. Taken on May 18, 2020

The South African presidency said “President-Elect Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris have identified Africa as a major player in international affairs and in the advancement of multilateralism.”
 
It added that during the telephone conversation, both leaders recalled a visit to South Africa by President-Elect Biden during the dark days of apartheid, where Mr Biden demonstrated his commitment to human rights and dignity for all South Africans.
 
“President-Elect Biden expressed his admiration for what the democratic South Africa has achieved.
 
“President Ramaphosa said he looked forward to a strong partnership at a bilateral level and between the United States and the continent of Africa.
 
“The President wished President-Elect Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris well for their term in office,” said the presidency in South Africa

Biden also took part in other congratulatory calls with leaders in Chile, India and Israel.

He spoke with President Reuven Rivlin of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Sebastián Piñera and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.

Below are the readouts of his calls with world leaders.

The president-elect spoke with President Sebastián Piñera of Chile. The president-elect thanked President Piñera for his congratulations and expressed his strong desire to deepen the U.S. relationship with Chile. He congratulated President Piñera on Chile’s recent decision to update its constitution in a manner that will lead to a stronger and more equitable democracy. He further pledged to work closely with Chile to help the Americas recover from the economic and public health challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthen hemispheric institutions, manage regional migration, and rebuild cooperation in addressing global challenges such as climate change.

The president-elect spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. The president-elect thanked the prime minister for his congratulations and expressed his desire to strengthen and expand the U.S.-India strategic partnership alongside the first vice president of South Asian descent. The president-elect noted that he looks forward to working closely with the prime minister on shared global challenges, including containing COVID-19 and defending against future health crises, tackling the threat of climate change, launching the global economic recovery, strengthening democracy at home and abroad, and maintaining a secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

The president-elect spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. The president-elect thanked the prime minister for his congratulations and reiterated his steadfast support for Israel’s security and its future as a Jewish and democratic state. The president-elect noted that he expects to work closely with the prime minister to address the many challenges confronting our countries. The president-elect expressed his determination to ensure that the U.S.-Israel relationship is strengthened and enjoys strong bipartisan support.

The president-elect spoke with President Reuven Rivlin of Israel. The president-elect offered his gratitude for President Rivlin’s congratulations and underscored his deep commitment to Israel’s security and its future as a Jewish and democratic state. The president-elect noted that he looks forward to working with Israel to build an ever stronger partnership between our two countries.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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