The United States opens the red carpet and opens the portfolio to African leaders – Africa24.it

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    The United States opens the red carpet and opens the portfolio to African leaders – Africa24.it
    Nearly 50 African heads of state and government arrived in Washington in the midst of a three-day pre-Christmas cold snap led by President Joe Biden, following years of incursions into the continent by China and Russia.

    Ahead of the summit, Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said the administration would seek $55 billion for Africa over the next three years “across a broad range of sectors to address the major challenges of our time.”

    He said the program will be the African Union’s Agenda 2063, its plan for sustainable development.

    “We raise African voices and African priorities in what we do at this summit,” Sullivan told reporters.

    The Biden administration, which has identified China as its biggest global rival, is hoping to project a subtle contrast to Beijing at the top, rather than brush off criticism.

    “It’s going to be about what we can offer. It’s going to be a positive proposal for the United States and its partnership with Africa,” Sullivan said.

    “We are bringing resources to the negotiating table in large numbers,” he added.

    Welcoming African businessmen to a reception Monday night, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States is guided by the principle of partnership.

    “We can’t solve any of the great challenges we face if we don’t work together. So it’s about what we can do with African countries and people, not for them,” Blinken said.

    – Pay for democracy

    During the summit, Biden will outline US support for the African Union for an official seat in the Group of 20, the club of major economies, months after he called for a permanent African seat on the United Nations Security Council.

    Unlike China, which holds summits every three years with Africa, the United States intends to promote democratic values.

    Sullivan said Biden will meet with African leaders slated for the 2023 election.

    “We would like to do everything we can to argue that this election is free, fair and credible,” Sullivan said.

    Successive U.S. presidents have carried out important initiatives for Africa, with George W. Bush launching a massive campaign to combat HIV/AIDS, which he considers among his major legacies, and Barack Obama spearheading an initiative to connect electricity, which U.S. officials say brought power to 165 million people for the first time. .

    On the other hand, Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, did not hide his lack of interest in Africa, and Biden’s summit with leaders in the region will be the first by an American president since Obama’s historic first edition in 2014.

    In the eight years since, China’s investments in Africa have consistently outpaced those of the United States, as countries ignore US warnings that Beijing’s spending of billions on infrastructure could put them into a long-term backlog.

    Ahead of the summit, the Chinese ambassador to Washington, Chen Gang, said his country was “sincere” in Africa “and its investment” is not a trap.

    “We believe that Africa should be a place for international cooperation and not for great power competition for geopolitical gain,” he told an event on the Semaphore news website.

    “We welcome all other members of the international community, including the United States, to join us in the global effort to help Africa.”

    – Cultural links –

    The United States has also been alarmed by the growing presence of Russia, whose mercenary group has engaged Wagner in many hotspots and is trying to convince African countries that Western sanctions, not its invasion of Ukraine, are responsible for the world’s spiraling out of control. Food prices.

    Officials said Biden will highlight food security during an event with African leaders on Thursday.

    The summit will also feature events that will connect the African diaspora, with the hope of emphasizing cultural affinity.

    New York Mayor Eric Adams said the success of African Americans shows the need for Africans to “walk differently”.

    “You have been rejected, ignored and exploited on the African continent for far too long,” Adams, the second black person to lead the largest city in America, told African visitors at the State Department.

    “You are the biggest producers of cocoa and others made chocolate from it. Now chocolate is made with cocoa!”.

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