On Thursday, US current President Joe Biden backed an expanded role for Africa in the globe and pledged to promote democracy on a continent where China and Russia have been gaining influence.
Biden told the almost 50 African leaders who had spent three days in a chilly Washington meeting that included a formal White House supper that “the United States is all in on Africa and all in with Africa.”
In every room where global issues are discussed, “Africa belongs at the table,” according to Biden.
While offering $100 million for security, Biden also stated that the US would provide $75 million to halt “democratic backsliding,” particularly by bolstering civil society and election authority.
In order to secure assurances of free elections, Biden met on Wednesday with the heads of six countries, including Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which are the most populous and largest countries in sub-Saharan Africa, respectively.
In addition to supporting a permanent African Union presence in the Group of 20 economies, Biden, who asked for an African permanent seat on the UN Security Council in September, said he was preparing the first trip to sub-Saharan Africa by a US president since 2015.
In terms of investments during the past ten years, China has surpassed the United States, and in response to Western pressure, Russia has recently brought in mercenaries and sought diplomatic help.
As food prices rise and hunger spreads across the continent, particularly in the Horn, which is suffering from a severe drought, Biden pledged $2.5 billion in fresh food assistance.
Vice President Kamala Harris said at a luncheon that “Russia’s cruel war in Ukraine has resulted in the interruption of food and energy supplies that affect all of our economies.”
In her address to African leaders, she warned that “international rules and norms are under attack, including sovereignty and territorial integrity, unhindered trade, and peaceful dispute resolution.”
A democratic “DNA”
The Biden administration has been more subdued in its criticism of China, which has financed more than $120 billion across the continent since the turn of the century and poured money into high-profile infrastructure projects.
At the summit, the United States announced $55 billion in projects for the next three years, including investments in green energy, training for healthcare professionals, and modernizing internet networks. The private sector also pledged $15 billion, with investments in technology accounting for the majority of that amount.
Even while Biden still hosted leaders that were viewed as authoritarian, the United States has made a point of highlighting democracy in contrast to China, which has been delighted to do business with all African regimes.
Biden assured the African leaders that “the United States will always lead with our ideals.”
Support for democracy, adherence to the law, dedication to human rights, and responsible government are all ingrained in our DNA.
Former congressman and current head of the US Agency for International Development Mark Green claimed that while China sought to “reinforce aid dependency,” the United States was committed to helping Africa become more self-sufficient.
According to Green, who is currently the president of the Wilson Center, “someone in Beijing is going to lose his or her job if a Chinese investment in Africa results in greater self-reliance.”
China has urged Washington to avoid viewing Africa through the lens of geopolitical rivalry in response to US charges that it is trapping emerging countries in debt.
refuses to “dictate” to Africa
Most African leaders supported the summit. However, the continent has also resisted siding with any great nations.
At the conclusion of the summit, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters that the United States will not impose its preferences on Africa. Nobody else should either.
The current president of the African Union, Macky Sall of Senegal, hailed US support for the organization and expressed gratitude for the Biden conference.
But he also urged the United States to lift long-standing restrictions on Zimbabwe’s human rights and expressed concern over a US Congress plan that would impose restrictions on African nations because of their relations with Russia.
A whole continent would be targeted for the first time in international affairs, according to Sall.