It is the first time Washington has held such a summit in eight years.
Mr. Biden set a markedly different tone than his predecessor when he spoke confidently about improved relations with Africa and told the gathering that When Africa succeeds, so do the United States. Honestly, the entire planet succeeds as well.”
He stated that the world’s current difficulties required African leadership, ideas, and inventions, and he pledged to build on the “important” investments made by previous US administrations in Africa.
In this regard, before Thursday’s conclusion of the three-day summit, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan announced that the United States would commit $55 billion (£44 billion) to Africa over the next three years.
Discussions during the summit have centered on expanding upon existing programs, such as:
- Launched in 2018, Prosper Africa is a US government program “to enhance bilateral trade” between African nations and the United States.
- the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) of the Clinton administration, which grants African garment producers priority access to the US market;
- Obama’s Power Africa plan aims, among other things, to link millions of Africans to the grid.
However, the success of these programs has been sluggish to materialize. Africa only accounts for just more than one percent of US international trade, which is dominated by Nigerian and Angolan petroleum imports.
In addition, he indicated that $350 million will be allocated to bolstering the digital economy and that $15 billion worth of deals had been concluded during the US-Africa Business Forum.
The United States will also sign a memorandum with the African Continental Free Trade Area, one of the world’s largest free-trade areas, which Vice President Biden said will “open new trade and investment opportunities” between the United States and Africa.
The US president is also likely to support the African Union’s entry as a permanent member of the Group of 20 major economies at the end of the summit on Thursday. New Year’s Eve is also a potential time for him to announce a trip to the continent.
The meeting will be deemed a success for the Americans if they can demonstrate that Africa is more than a battlefield for competition with Beijing and Moscow. They wish to demonstrate that they are superior partners to China and Russia.
For this reason, the White House established a special envoy to ensure that the U.S. demonstrates its commitment through continued involvement.