“The United States knows that, on most of the urgent challenges and opportunities we face, Africa will make the difference,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken on a recent visit to Nigeria. “I believe Africa will shape the future -- and not just the future of the African people but of the world.”
“The facts speak for themselves,” said Secretary Blinken. “This is a continent of young people -- energized, innovative, hungry for jobs and opportunity. By 2025, more than half the population of Africa will be under age 25. By the year 2050, one in four people on Earth will be African.”
Africa is poised to become one of the world’s most important economic regions. When the 54-country African Continental Free Trade Area is fully implemented, it will comprise the fifth-largest economic bloc in the world.
On his first trip to Africa as Secretary of State, Antony Blinken visited three countries, Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal describing them as democracies, engines of economic growth, climate leaders, and drivers of innovation. He announced new agreements in each nation:
“We’ve just come from Kenya, where we announced a new initiative to help more people get vaccinated against COVID-19; committed for the first time to join negotiations on a global agreement to combat ocean plastic pollution; and launched a project with National Geographic to empower young people across Africa fighting against the climate crisis.”
In Nigeria, the United States celebrated a $2.1 billion development assistance agreement that supports U.S.-Nigeria collaboration on health, education, agriculture, and good governance. Secretary Blinken also visited the “Innov8” start-up hub, to meet impressive Nigerian inventors and entrepreneurs.
And in Senegal, four U.S. companies signed agreements to collaborate with the Senegalese government on infrastructure projects. Secretary Blinken also visited the Pasteur Institute of Dakar, which is working toward COVID-19 vaccine production with American support and investment, and he met with women tech and business leaders.
“My trip reflects the breadth and depth of our partnerships in Africa -- how we’re working together to find innovative solutions to new challenges,” said Secretary Blinken, “and how we’re investing in long-term sources of strength, rather than short-term fixes.”