US delegation looking to play bigger role in Africa


Reports from the United States indicated that Biden administration and the White House have dispatched a high-powered delegation to the annual African Union (AU) summit scheduled for Feb. 18-19 in Addi Ababa, Ethiopia. The annual traditional summit brings together African leaders and representatives from regional and international organizations to primarily deliberate on significant questions affecting the continent’s progress and development.

As expected, the gathering will review progress and development during the past year, and further examine pertinent issues relating to good governance, rising ethnic conflicts, emerging military takeovers, poverty alleviation and other related economic and social questions.

United States delegation is expected to meet AU officials, as a follow-up to the African agenda drawn during their mid-December meeting with African leaders in Washington. During that summit, President Joe Biden administration pledged $55 billion for various development projects in Africa.

It has been noted that potential American investors are already exploring the possibility of taking the advantage of opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and therefore the desire to encourage dialogue and to assist in finding peacefully resolutions for persistent conflict across Africa.

According to reports, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a policy signed by African countries to make the continent a single market. The high-level U.S. officials have already established dialogue setting the scene for reviewing the business opportunities for the United States and African public and private sector leaders, how to strengthen the economic partnership between the United States and Africa related to investments in key sectors, and if possible to push for new bilateral trade agreements within the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Our research shows that there are armed conflict from West Africa’s Sahel to the Horn of Africa in the east and the impacts of droughts and floods have driven ever more Africans from their homes, with the number of displaced people south of the Sahara Desert rising more than 15% over the past year, according to United Nations figures. The U.N. estimates 44 million people were displaced in 2022 up from 38.3 million people at the end of 2021.

In an official statement relating to the AU event in Addis Ababa, the State Department for African Affairs has also emphasized shared priorities, including implementation of commitments made during the December 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. As already known, the US government said the Biden-Harris Administration was prioritizing economic relationships with Africa.

The Special Presidential Representative for U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Implementation, Ambassador Johnnie Carson, is among the group that headed to Africa along with U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary for Africa Mary Catherine Phee and U.S. Department of State Special Envoy for Global Food Security Dr. Cary Fowler.

While there in Addis Ababa, the delegation will hold separate meetings with government officials on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) summit. These include USAID Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Africa Monde Muyangwa, acting USAID Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau of Resilience and Food Security Dina Esposito, and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Health Diplomacy John Nkengasong.

The U.S. delegation is scheduled to meet with stakeholders to discuss the global food security crisis, and its disproportionate impact on Africa, as well as to follow up on U.S. commitments made at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

“The U.S. delegation will reinforce U.S. commitment to advance food security and highlight the ongoing work through the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative, and efforts to scale up work on climate-resilient agriculture and soil health, including upcoming work on the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS),” according to the U.S. government statement.

In addition to leaders from the 55 AU members states, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and European Council President Charles Michel will attend the summit. African leaders will advocate for permanent seats for the continent on the U.N. Security Council and among the G20 group of large economies, according to a draft of the summit’s conclusions.

The summit will adopt a series of protocols aimed at accelerating full implementation of Africa’s new free trade area, under which trading officially began in 2021. The adopted protocols will also relate to the Agenda 2063 which is Africa’s development blueprint to achieve inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development over a 50-year period.


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