What Happened at the U.S.-Africa Summit?
This past December, the Biden administration hosted heads of states and other leaders from Africa for the second U.S.-Africa summit. Eight years had lapsed since the first U.S.-Africa summit of 2014. The summit sent a signal to the world that the U.S. wants to strengthen its partnership with African countries, its people, and its institutions.
Amid the pomp that came with hosting an event of this kind, there were serious discussions on a myriad of continental challenges and opportunities yet to be activated. President Biden and Vice President Harris announced several initiatives that, if implemented, could make a big difference in the lives of many people living on the continent. Below is a list of some of the initiatives announced during the summit:
- Increase investment in Health and Build More Resilient Health Systems:
- As part of the Global Health Worker Initiative, which President Biden announced in May, the administration plans to work with Congress to invest $1.33 billion annually from 2022 to 2024 in health workforce in the region, for a total of at least $4 billion by Fiscal Year 2025, to help African countries close the gap in health workers, including clinicians, community health and care workers, and public health professionals.
- The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced plans to accelerate regional manufacturing capacity for vaccines, tests, and therapeutics, including PEPFAR’s plans to procure 15 million HIV tests produced by African manufacturers by 2025 and to shift at least 2 million patients on HIV treatments to use African-made products by 2030.
- African Democratic and Political Transitions (ADAPT): a three-year initiative aimed at countering democratic backsliding in partnership with regional bodies, governments, and civil society in support of durable political transitions. It needs $75 million over three years, which Congress will need to appropriate.
- 21st Century Partnership for African Security (21PAS): aimed to incentivize and bolster African efforts to implement and sustain security sector capacity and reforms. Will work with Congress to provide $100 million over three years for this pilot program
- Digital Transformation with Africa, new initiative: aimed at expanding digital access and literacy across the continent. Will work with Congress to invest over $350 million and facilitate over $450 million in financing for the region, consistent with the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy.
- Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) announced its first regional multi-sectoral infrastructure compacts with the governments of Benin and Niger to support regional economic integration, trade, and cross-border collaboration.
- Trade: The U.S. government and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat signed a Memorandum of Understanding to expand engagement to promote equitable, sustainable, and inclusive trade; boost competitiveness; and attract investment to the continent. If fully implemented, the Agreement is expected to create a combined continent-wide market of 1.3 billion people and $3.4 trillion, which would be the fifth-largest economy in the world.
The success of these initiatives will depend on how they are implemented and the availability of funding resources. As we begin the new year and congressional session, the Office of Government Relations will continue to engage in policy discussion related to these initiatives where they align with our church policies. The Episcopal Office of Global Partnerships also continues to build relations with Anglican Communion partners in the region, as our work together serve to advance the mission of the church.
The Office of Government Relations