Africa: U.S. ‘All In’ On Africa, President Joe Biden Says

The US unveiled $55 billion worth of investments, trade deals and aid at a summit of African leaders. It comes after China dominated foreign investment on the continent for years.

US President Joe Biden has declared that his country is “all in on Africa’s future” at a conference of 49 leaders in Washington.

“When Africa succeeds, the United States succeeds. Quite frankly, the whole world succeeds as well,” Biden said.

The US president made the comments on Wednesday, the second day of a US-Africa Leaders Summit being attended by heads of government and other high-level delegates from around the continent.

It was the first such meeting since former US President Barack Obama hosted African leaders in Washington in 2014.

Trade and investment on the agenda

The Biden administration has pledged $55 billion (€52 billion) worth of public investment, private investment, aid, and trade deals across Africa. Biden said this was “just the beginning.”

The announcement includes a $100 million aid package for clean energy and another $800 million in public and private financing for digital development.

A $504 million infrastructure package aims to connect Benin’s port of Cotonou with landlocked Niger’s capital Niamey. US officials estimate 1.6 million people will benefit from this.

“For a long time we’ve considered this to be our natural port,” Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum said. He promised to enact “institutional reforms” that would boost trade.

Meanwhile, credit card company Visa said it would invest $1 billion into Africa to develop digital payments, and Cisco with its partner Cybastion announced 10 cybersecurity contracts worth a total of $858 million.

Microsoft said it would roll out satellites to provide internet access to millions of people, starting in Egypt, Senegal and Angola.

The summit was held after China surpassed the US in recent years in terms of its overall investments in Africa through highly visible infrastructure projects.

World Cup backdrop

During an address to nearly the 50 African leaders in attendance on Wednesday, Biden said: “I know you’re saying to yourselves, make it short, Biden, there’s a semi-final game coming up. I get it.”

Later on, he watched the France-Morocco match with Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch and other leaders from around the continent.

Although Morocco lost, it was the first time an African team made it to the semi-finals of the global tournament.

zc/sms (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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