US-Africa Summit: Biden Announces Funding For Africa

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US President Joe Biden has announced billions of dollars in new funding for Africa at a summit of dozens of the continent’s heads of state.

“The United States is all in on Africa’s future,” President Biden told the 49 African leaders attending the Washington DC summit.

Mr. Biden struck a very different tone to his predecessor, speaking optimistically of improved links with Africa and telling the gathering that “when Africa succeeds, the United States succeeds. Quite frankly, the whole world succeeds as well.”

He said that the crises facing the world today need African leadership, ideas, and innovations, and promised to build on the vital investments in Africa made by previous US administrations.

To that end, Mr. Biden announced $55bn of US funding planned for Africa over the next three years.

The sum includes $100m for clean energy projects and $350m for internet access and digital technology.

The US is also set to sign a memorandum with the African Continental Free Trade Area one of the world’s biggest free-trade areas which Mr. Biden said would “unlock new opportunities for trade and investment” between the US and Africa.

It is the first such gathering hosted by Washington for eight years.

The summit is seen as a US attempt to re-assert its influence in Africa to counter Chinese involvement.

The US is also set to sign a memorandum with the African Continental Free Trade Area one of the world’s biggest free-trade areas which Mr. Biden said would “unlock new opportunities for trade and investment” between the US and Africa.

Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the summit, Mr. Biden separately met the six leaders of African nations which are holding elections in 2023 to press for a free vote.

While, before the end of the summit on Thursday, the US president is also expected to back the African Union’s admission as a permanent member of the Group of 20 major economies. It is also likely that he will announce a trip to the continent in the new year.

Report says the summit is widely being seen as Mr. Biden’s attempt to win back influence in Africa with personal diplomacy, as well as with funding and investment.

 

BBC/Christopher Ojilere