President Joe Biden will be hosting African leaders in Washington, D.C. from December 13th-15th. The event, labeled the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, will span three days with each day dedicated to a specific agenda.
LittleAfrica News has been accredited by the U.S. State Department to cover the summit. Founder and Publisher Mona Davids will be on the ground in D.C. to cover the 3-day-long event.
49 heads of state from various African countries have been invited to Washington, D.C. to participate in the summit. The Biden Administration sees the summit as an opportunity to show the U.S.’s commitment to Africa. The summit will be a venue to discuss matters relating to building new economic relationships. Democracy, good governance, and human rights will be on the table as well. The amplification of ties between African nations and the diaspora will be part of the agenda.
Dana Banks, Special Assistant to President Biden and National Security Council Senior Advisor for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, said, “As you know, the African Union has identified the African diaspora as the sixth region of the African Union. And we also see the diaspora as a huge resource and opportunity for engagement here. So, this event…will bring together youth leaders, civil society, political actors, creatives, and folks involved in climate and other areas. I think what we’re seeing is a lot of interest in the event. Let me just point out that one of the areas – there’ll be a breakout session on education, a breakout session on creatives, and a breakout session on climate and energy.”
President Biden will be making remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum. Biden will also be hosting a multilateral meeting with leaders in a small group setting.
The second day of the summit will see the U.S.-Africa Business forum take place. The forum will be co-hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Corporate Council on Africa. The goal of the meeting will be to improve and build business relationships between the U.S. and Africa. Over 100 African companies and over 100 American companies will attend the forum. Prosper Africa, a group of government agencies working together to create commercial agreements between U.S. and African companies will host what will be called a Deal Room. The Deal Room will enable conversations between African political and business leaders and their American counterparts. The shift away from aid to trade will be on the agenda, particularly regarding how the African Continental Free Trade Area can be effectively harnessed to boost economic activity in Africa. Topics such as agriculture, health, infrastructure, and technological innovation, that affect the daily lives of Africans and Americans will be discussed.
On Thursday, December 15th, there will be a U.S.-Africa Summit dinner hosted by President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden in the East Room. Vice President Kamala Harris and First Gentleman Doug Emhoff will also be in attendance that evening.
One of the most significant proposals President Biden seeks to push is for the African Union to be added to the Group of 20. The G20 is currently made up of European, Asian, and American countries, with South Africa as its only African country. Joining the group of some of the most powerful countries and economies in the world is seen as a great opportunity by Judd Devermont, the White House National Security Council’s Senior Director of African Affairs. “It’s past time Africa has permanent seats at the table in international organizations and initiatives. We need more African voices in international conversations that concern the global economy, democracy, governance, climate change, health, and security,” Devermont said in a statement. The African Union is an influential organization on the continent and is made up of 55 countries. The Chairman of the Commission of the AU, Moussa Faki Mahamat, will be present at the Summit.
The heads of state from Mali, Sudan, Guinea, and Burkina Faso were not invited. These countries were not invited because their leaders took power through a coup d’état. However, some of the leaders invited to the summit have standing accusations of repression, violence, and human rights violations against them.
According to Today News Africa, the Biden Administration used specific requirements in determining which heads of state to invite. On December 5th, a White House National Security Council spokesperson spelled out why a majority of African leaders were invited despite some having foggy human rights records. The Biden Administration saw this as an opportunity to discuss some of the significant issues affecting African countries and the continent holistically. The White House worked in close coordination with the AU when it came to green-lighting attendees, according to the spokesperson.