.... “The continent’s dynamic economies and populations really do provide the foundation for a bright future for the continent and the United States,” noted Dana Banks ahead of the second US-Africa Leaders Summit
A senior advisor to US President Joe Biden says that the upcoming US-Africa summit is rooted in the recognition that Africa is a key geopolitical player, one that is shaping the present and will shape the future.
The statement comes from Dana Banks, who works in the Biden administration as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Africa at the National Security Council.
According to her, Biden believes that US collaboration with African leaders is essential to tackling shared challenges while seizing opportunities, including increasing sustainable food production; strengthening health systems, and combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
President George Weah is among African heads of state that have been invited by the US President to attend a three-day conference in Washington, DC to discuss Africa and US relationships.
In a special virtual briefing yesterday, Banks said the summit will focus not only on African nations and people, but a robust partnership and shared priorities.
“With one of the world’s fastest-growing populations, largest free trade area, most diverse ecosystems, and one of the largest regional voting groups in the United Nations, African contributions, partnerships, and leadership are essential to meeting this era’s defining challenges,” said Banks who is in charge of the second US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, scheduled for mid-December.
“The continent’s dynamic economies and populations really do provide the foundation for a bright future for the continent and the United States. Whether it’s recovering from the pandemic and strengthening health systems, creating broad-based economic opportunity, or addressing the climate crisis. expanding energy access, revitalizing democracies, or strengthening the free and open international order. “
According to her, the Biden administration has invited 49 African heads of state and the head of the African Union to Washington for a three-day summit to really highlight “how the US and African nations are strengthening partnerships to advance shared priorities.”
The summit reflects the US strategy towards Sub-Saharan Africa, which really emphasizes the critical importance of the region in meeting this era’s defining challenges, she said.
“We expect some of the outcomes to be a deepened and expanded reflection of our long-term US-Africa partnership while we advance our shared priorities. We aim to amplify African voices to collaboratively meet this era’s defining challenges, and really, while we leverage the best of America, including our government, our private sector, our civil society, our diaspora, to uplift and empower African institutions, citizens, and nations.”
Banks was also joined by Robert Scott, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of African Affairs, who highlighted activities for the conference. According to him, the first day is the widest aperture day.
“We’re having a series of forums – an African and Diaspora Young Leaders forum; a civil society forum; a peace, security, and governance forum. There will be discussions on climate as well as on health.”
He said the second day is dedicated to the US-Africa Business Forum, and a full day of opportunities for US businesses to meet with delegations from the continent.
And the third day is the leaders' day, obviously, with President Biden and heads of delegation, and heads of state from the continent involved.
“I think what we’re seeing here is an opportunity to have as many players as possible involved in the discussion. One of the events which I think is extremely interesting and important, and one that has generated some interest I’ve seen from your questions online, is the African and Diaspora Young Leaders Forum.”
“As you know, the African Union has identified the African diaspora as the sixth region of the African Union. And we also see the diaspora as a huge resource and opportunity for engagement here.
“As you know, the creative industry is becoming a more and more important part of GDP on the continent and here in the United States. And bringing actors from the continent together with their counterparts here in the US is a wonderful opportunity to synergize and to get these groups working together and collaborating on music, fashion, on culture. And that’s a huge outcome that we see from that event.”