Africa: U.S. Celebrates Milestones in African Relations On U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Anniversary

US officials discuss unprecedented achievements and future collaborations in transformative U.S.-African Relations

In a significant milestone marking the first anniversary of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit held in December 2022, Special Assistant to President Joe Biden and Senior Director for African Affairs, Judd Devermont, highlighted to journalists the extraordinary achievements in US-African relations over the past year.

Mr Devermont noted that the United States had experienced a “record-setting year” in its engagement with the African continent. “We have had a record-setting year for US-African relations, and I want to share today how we’ve delivered on our high-profile commitments,” said Mr Devermont.

After the Peace, Security, and Governance Forum, a ‘peaceful and secure Africa’ was specified as a goal by the African heads of state and American leaders.

Key points of focus and achievements emphasized by Mr Devermont include:

1. Addressing Conflict and Crisis:

  • Notable instances of US involvement in addressing conflicts, including the role of U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines in facilitating a 72-hour ceasefire between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda.
  • Assistant Secretary Phee’s engagement in Abuja for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) summit to address the implications of the coup d’état in Niger. Her diplomatic visit to Nigeria, engaging with West African regional leaders, further underscored the US commitment to supporting democratic paths and promoting security, stability, prosperity, and democracy in the Sahel.
  • Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Mike Hammer’s efforts in Djibouti, collaborating with IGAD partners on Sudan.

2. Focus on Fragility and Resilience:

  • Strategic investments in coastal West Africa and Mozambique to address underlying drivers of conflict and extremism.
  • Collaboration with African partners to promote civility and prevent conflict, reflecting a new approach in partnership with African nations.

3. Elevated Focus on Elections and Corruption:

  • President Biden’s engagement with six African leaders during the summit who were undergoing elections, demonstrating a commitment to democratic processes.
  • Implementation of visa sanctions in response to poorly conducted elections and applauding positive breakthroughs, such as in Liberia.

The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, Jonathan Pratt, emphasized the holistic strategy employed by the US administration, noting that efforts were nested within a well-defined approach that supported regional diplomacy led by African institutions like the African Union, IGAD, and ECOWAS.

US Ambassador and Special Presidential Representative for the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit implementation Johnnie Carson, “coordinated with the African Union, African governments, civil society, the private sector, and the African diaspora to ensure that the important dialogues that began during the summit will lead to concrete and durable action,” said Mr Pratt, adding that Mr Carson completed his mandate in November.

In addition to these efforts, the African Democratic and Political Transitions (ADAPT) initiative was highlighted, with Guinea identified as the pilot country. ADAPT aims to support Guinea’s transition to democratic governance by 1 January 2025, providing technical assistance for constitutional drafting and preparing for free and fair elections.

As the US commemorates the achievements of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit, the focus remains on building lasting partnerships, fostering democracy, and promoting peace and stability across the African continent.

Pearl Matibe is a Washington, DC-based White House Correspondent, and media commentator with expertise in US foreign policy and international security. You may follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe