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U.S. President Joe Biden: The United States will “dedicate itself to the future of Africa”

U.S. President Joe Biden: The United States will “dedicate itself to the future of Africa”

WASHINGTON —
U.S. President Joe Biden told the leaders of nearly fifty African countries that the U.S. is “all in” for Africa’s future, pledging billions of dollars in government funding and private investment to help Africa improve its medical facilities, infrastructure facilities, as well as many areas of business and technology.

President Biden speaks at the US-Africa leaders summit in Washington
President Biden speaks at the US-Africa leaders summit in Washington

Biden said this while speaking at the “US-African Leaders Summit” on Wednesday (December 15). He said, “The United States is committed to providing support to every aspect of Africa’s growth.”

At the meeting, Biden elaborated on his specific vision of how the United States will become a key driving force for Africa’s development.

This is the first large-scale international conference held by the United States since the global outbreak of the new crown virus pandemic. The summit began on Tuesday and lasted for three days. Heads of state and senior officials from 49 African countries came to Washington to attend the meeting. The last and first U.S.-Africa summit was held in 2014 under former U.S. President Barack Obama.

For the meeting, roadblocks were set up on many streets in downtown Washington, D.C., and convoys transporting heads of state and other high-ranking officials had to detour through the city.

The summit took place against the backdrop of intense competition between the United States and China on a global scale. Biden did not mention China by name in his speech at the conference, but his pointing can be said to be self-evident in the eyes of international observers.

In this situation, Africa is actually becoming an important battlefield for the United States to compete with China. The Associated Press reported that the White House said the U.S.-Africa summit held this week was not so much about balancing China’s growing influence in Africa as it was about listening to African leaders. President Biden’s core foreign policy tenet is that the United States is in the midst of a decisive battle to prove that democracy can triumph over dictatorships.

In terms of aid to Africa, the United States once led all other countries in the world. But in recent years, with the influx of Chinese companies and capital into Africa, China’s investment in sub-Saharan Africa has surpassed that of the United States. At the same time, China has gained greater influence and control over African countries through economic and trade activities and bribery.

China’s trade with Africa is now about four times that of the United States, and China has become an important creditor nation for Africa by offering lower interest rates than Western lenders. However, China’s loans often come with confidentiality clauses, which are used to obtain unfair benefits and resources, and have been widely criticized by international public opinion.

Biden said that the United States seeks “partnerships” not to create political obligations and encourage dependence, but to promote mutual success and opportunity.

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Observers said that the “political obligations” and “dependence” mentioned here seem to imply that China attaches political conditions when providing economic and trade assistance to African countries, such as requiring African countries to accept China’s position on the Taiwan issue and human rights issues.

Biden told African leaders that the United States is a reliable partner. He said the U.S. pledge to provide $55 billion in investment in Africa over the next three years was “just the beginning”.

He also announced a trade and investment plan worth more than $15 billion.

Biden said, “If Africa succeeds, the United States will succeed, and quite frankly, the whole world will succeed.”

After Biden’s speech, Some contacts were made with African leaders. He and Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Kanok watched a football World Cup match between Morocco and France. Although Morocco lost the game, it made history: the Moroccan team reached the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time.

On Wednesday, Biden held a small meeting with African leaders at the White House, which included leaders from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

On Thursday, the participating leaders will hold a high-level discussion. Biden will speak at the meeting on the strategic cooperation between the United States and the African Union on the African continent.

Biden said that the agreement between the United States and the African Continental Free Trade Area has paved the way for American companies to enter the African market. Africa has a population of 1.3 billion and a market of $3.4 trillion. American companies such as General Electric Company and Cisco Network Equipment Company reached a cooperation agreement with Africa at this summit.

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