The Biden Administration hosted the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, D.C. from December 13th to 15th. The summit was an effort by the Biden Administration to strengthen ties between the U.S. and African nations. While the Summit was taking place, President Joe Biden, by executive order, established the President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement. The executive order was signed on December 13th. “The United States has a longstanding commitment to engagement with the African Diaspora — people of native African origin living outside the African continent, and who have been collectively described as constituting the sixth region of the African Union,” President Biden said in the order. “The African immigrant community continues to make significant contributions to America’s growth and prosperity. The United States Government encourages efforts to advance equity and opportunity for the African Diaspora in the United States, and will continue to encourage efforts to strengthen cultural, social, political, and economic ties between African communities, the global African Diaspora, and the United States.”
The executive order states the Advisory Council will have to be established within 180 days of the order being signed. The President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement will function within the Department of State and will be made up of no more than 12 members. The members of the council will be appointed by the Secretary of State. The individuals selected to form the Advisory Council will have to be representative of and reflect the communities they come from. African immigrants and African Americans who have made a significant impression in their chosen professional field, be it in politics, sports, creative industries, business, academia, social work, or faith-based activities, will be selected to be on the council.
Members of the advisory council will serve for two years without any kind of financial remuneration. The Chairperson of the Council will also be chosen by the Secretary of State. There will be the position of Executive Director, which will be filled by a senior official or employee of the Department of State. The Department of State plays a significant role in the council, supporting it both financially and administratively. According to the executive order, the council will have to meet in plenary sessions quarterly or as frequently as necessary.
The Advisory Council will advise President Biden through the Secretary of State. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA) and the Assistant to President for Domestic Policy (APDP) will also play a role as mediators between President Biden and the advisory council. All the above-mentioned entities would work as a unit in order to strengthen connections between the U.S. government and the African Diaspora in the U.S.
The Advisory Council will have to provide advice regarding ideas that would uplift the African Diaspora in the U.S. These ideas include strategies to advance equity and opportunities for African Diaspora communities and support the United Nations Permanent Forum on People of African Descent. The Advisory Council is tasked with the setting up of several programs that will enable the strengthening of the economic, social, cultural, and political bond between African communities, the African diaspora across the world, and the United States. These include the International Visitor Leadership program which is meant to increase academic exchange programs between the U.S. and Africa. Programs such as Prosper Africa were specially designed to equip the African Diaspora with the means to participate economically in the U.S. Programs to increase private and public sector collaborations and community involvement in improving the socioeconomic well-being of African Diaspora communities would also have to be implemented by the Advisory Council.