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U.S. says to commit $55 bln to Africa ahead of summit


U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during the 10th Annual National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence in Washington, U.S. December 7, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

The United States will commit $55 billion to Africa over the next three years as President Joe Biden prepares to host the U.S.-Africa summit this week and discuss 2023 elections and democracy in the continent with a small group of leaders.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States is bringing “resources to the table” during the summit, adding that the U.S. commitment to invest in the African continent compares favorably to other countries.

Sullivan also said Biden will host a dinner on Wednesday night for about 50 African leaders and announce U.S. support for the African Union to join the Group of 20 (G20) major economies. He will also push for a permanent member from the African continent on the United Nations Security Council.

Biden has made trips to visit U.S. allies in Asia, Europe and the Middle East since taking office but has yet to visit Africa since becoming president, and the event will be his most comprehensive look at the complexities of the continent.

Part of Biden’s diplomatic efforts so far have focused on promoting Western democracies as a counterweight to China, but U.S. officials have insisted the Africa summit was not all about discussing Beijing’s influence in Africa.

Biden will also appoint a special representative for implementing ideas discussed at the summit, and the U.S. State Department plans to appoint Ambassador Johnnie Carson for this role, Sullivan said. Over 300 U.S. and African companies will meet with heads of different delegations to discuss investments in critical sectors, he said.

Sullivan also added the United States will not be “imposing conditionality” at the Africa summit to support the Ukraine war.

Separately, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said her agency is preparing to sign a memorandum of understanding with African Continental Free Trade Area countries to explore work on the next phases of the U.S.-African trade relationship.