On his recent trip to Africa, Secretary of State Antony Blinken identified five areas of common interest between Africa and the United States.
Our first common interest is to build an inclusive global economy.
The Prosper Africa initiative aims to increase two-way trade and investment. The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act provides duty-free access to American markets, and the United State is working to make sure African countries take full advantage of it. The United State also welcomes the African Continental Free Trade Area as way to increase intra-African trade.
The second interest is to collaboratively address the climate crisis, said Secretary Blinken:
“Its catastrophic impacts are evident across the continent – in drought, deforestation, failing crops, floods, advancing deserts, food insecurity, competition for resources, economic losses, migration. Lake Chad was a vital source of water, food, livelihoods for people for centuries. Now it’s almost gone – shrunk to one-twentieth the size that it was 60 years ago.”
President Joe Biden’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience will support the Africa Adaptation Initiative launched by heads of state across Africa, which aims to plan and finance infrastructure that’s energy-efficient and resilient to climate change.
Thirdly, said Secretary Blinken, “we must end the COVID-19 pandemic.” The United States recently hit the milestone of 270 million vaccine doses delivered worldwide. More than 70 million of those doses were sent to 43 Sub Saharan African countries, and more are on the way.
The fourth interest is in bolstering democracy in Africa. Democratic backsliding across the world is concerning. In addition, technology is being used to target citizens and silence dissent. “Democracies must answer the call to fight back against disinformation, stand up for Internet freedom, reduce the misuse of surveillance technology, establish standards of responsible conduct in cyberspace,” declared Secretary Blinken.
Finally, lasting security and peace must be advanced in Africa. The threats posed by violent extremists, by criminals, internal armed conflict are very real, said Secretary Blinken. Part of the answer is professional national security forces and local law enforcement that can protect citizens while respecting human rights. But tackling the root causes of conflict is just as important.
“The United States,” said Secretary Blinken, “wants to strengthen our partnerships across Africa in ways that serve your interests, our interests, and the interests of people worldwide whose lives and futures depend in part on what we can achieve together.”