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The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 15th December 2022

$55 billion investment pledged at US Africa summit

Blue Lines

White House officials have been at pains to brief journalists that United States President Joe Biden will pull out all the stops to show that this week's African leaders' summit is a demonstration of Washington's genuine commitment to the continent after the neglect of the Trump administration.

The three-day summit, the first of its kind in eight years to be hosted by the US, with delegations from nearly 50 African states, will be co-ordinated by veteran diplomat Johnnie Carson, who served as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the Obama administration.

Biden's offer is expected to include US support for the AU to become a permanent member of the G20 and have a permanent African seat on the UN Security Council. The significance of those commitments, and of the promise of US generosity towards African trade that will go far beyond the existing tariff and quota-free African Growth and Opportunity Act – currently due to expire in 2025 – comfortably outweighs the $55 billion in investment that the US is expected to announce at the summit.

When it comes to investment and political influence in Africa, the US has steadily fallen behind the EU and China, while Russia and the Gulf states have emerged as new players on defence and diplomacy. Three days of summitry and promises will only go part of the way towards correcting that.