With its rapidly growing populations, great free trade areas, diverse ecosystems and one of the largest regional voting groups in the United Nations, Sub-Saharan Africa will undoubtedly play a significant role in resolving global problems such as tackling the climate crisis as well as in shaping the rules of the world on vital issues like trade, cyber, and emerging technologies. However, before it can fully ascend to its leadership position on the global stage, sub-Saharan Africa must overcome several obstacles that are stymying its progress. The most pressing of these are ending the COVID-19 pandemic and tackling food insecurity and malnutrition.
The United States is ready to work with partners in sub-Saharan Africa “to recover from the devastation wrought by COVID-19 and lay the foundation for broad-based, sustainable economic opportunity to improve the lives of our people,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“We know the pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to Africa – lives lost, livelihoods shattered. More than 55 million Africans have been driven into poverty by the pandemic, setting back decades of hard-earned progress.”
We “provid[ed] more than 170 million doses of safe, effective COVID vaccines to African countries – free of charge and with more to come,” said Secretary Blinken.
Also, “Since the beginning of the year, the United States has sent more than $6.6 billion in humanitarian and food assistance to Africa.”
Still, “Our African colleagues made clear that, beyond emergency relief, what they really want is more investment in agricultural resilience, innovation, self-sufficiency. We’re responding to those calls.”
“Feed the Future will invest $11 billion over five years in 20 partner countries, 16 of which are in Africa. And a new initiative we launched with the United Arab Emirates is turbo-charging investment and innovation in climate smart agriculture. … It’s not just agriculture. Across a range of fields, the United States is working with African partners to try to unlock innovation and growth. As we do, we’re building on African-led initiatives, such as the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, which, when fully implemented will comprise the fifth largest economic bloc in the world, and also the African Union’s Agenda 2063.”
“We believe in the nations of Africa, in the continent-wide spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation,” said President Biden. “And through the challenges ahead, although they are great, there is no doubt that our nations, our people, the African Union — we’re up to this task.”