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US-Africa Summit Comes to Close


U.S. President Joe Biden attends a roundtable discussion at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, Dec. 15, 2022.

On the final day of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, President Joe Biden held a roundtable discussion of African leaders, vowing to help support democracy on the continent and endorse Africa's inclusion on the global stage.

The three-day summit which saw its conclusion Thursday has been largely cast as a show of renewed U.S. commitment to Africa and a bid to strengthen ties.

In his remarks, Biden said his administration will work to help combat "democratic backsliding" on the continent over a three-year period and make significant investments through a new "African democratic and political transition initiative."

"My administration will work with the United States Congress to invest $75 million to strengthen transparent, accountable governance, facilitate voter registration, support constitutional reform and more," Biden said.

The initiative, the president said, will collaborate "closely with African governments, regional institutions, and civil society."

He said the plan is in line with America's long-standing values of democracy and respect for human rights as the U.S. seeks what the Biden administration calls a "21st century partnership" with the continent of Africa.

The U.S. doesn’t "always get everything right," he noted, adding that "the work of democracy is never finished or never guaranteed."

Biden also announced U.S. support to include the 54-nation Africa Union as a permanent member of the Group of 20 (G20) wealthy nations and reaffirmed calls for a permanent African seat on the U.N. Security Council.

"It’s been a long time in coming, but it’s going to come," Biden said.

"Africa belongs at the table in every room — in every room where global challenges are being discussed and in every institution where discussions are taking place."

The U.S. president also expressed commitments to support African economies so they "can prioritize their people, and not backbreaking debt payments."

"I’m asking the Congress for the authority to lend $21 billion to the International Monetary Fund to provide access to necessary financing for low- and middle-income countries — which is so difficult to come by now," Biden said adding this "will help Africa’s recovery efforts and support projects that build resilience against future crises."

Senegalese President Macky Sall, who doubles as African Union chairman, commended Biden for the "considerable time and effort that your administration has committed to organizing this summit."

He thanked Biden for his support to advance Africa’s goal to be included on the U.N. Security Council as a permanent member and to join the G20.

"And this will happen at the next G20 summit," Sall said.

While calling for the lifting of sanctions hampering Zimbabwe, Sall also mentioned six priorities that are crucial for Africans, including peace, security, and the fight against terrorism, energy transition, and food insecurity.

"Africa would like to work with the United States to win the war against hunger. We salute your country and support to finance ... in the context of the World Bank for food production. Africa will like urgent measures to be taken to facilitate the access to the fertilizer markets," he said.

"In the long term, we want to work with the United States above all to improve production in Africa, including by making massive investments in the diversification of the value chains and infrastructure."

The AU chairman noted the release of a joint statement on food security at the end of the summit calling it a "good action plan" to address food insecurity on the continent. He also proposed the launch of a presidential initiative on agriculture in Africa.

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