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Biden to host summit with African leaders in 2022

Biden to host summit with African leaders in 2022
November 20
16:21 2021

US President Joe Biden plans to host a summit with African leaders in 2022 to strengthen his country’s ties with the continent.

Antony Blinken, the United States secretary of state, announced this on Friday at the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja.

“As a sign of our commitment to our partnerships across the continent, President Biden intends to host the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit to drive the kind of high-level diplomacy and engagement that can transform relationships and make effective cooperation possible,” Blinken said.

A statement issued by the White House also confirmed the meeting.

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In his speech, Blinken said the United States believes that it’s time to stop treating Africa as a subject of geopolitics – and start treating the continent as the major geopolitical player it has become.

Speaking specifically about Nigeria, he said the ‘Giant of Africa’ is an apt description because the country looms large.

According to him, what happens in Nigeria is felt around the world.

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“Your strengths are undeniable – a dynamic democracy, a robust economy, and a very powerful civil society. The challenges you face here are undeniable as well, including the disruption and insecurity caused by terrorism,” Blinken added.

The US secretary of state also said his country has signed a $2.1 billion development assistance agreement with Nigeria which would focus on health, education, agriculture, and good governance.

“The United States knows that, on most of the urgent challenges and opportunities we face, Africa will make the difference,” Blinken said.

“We can’t achieve our goals around the world – whether that’s ending the COVID-19 pandemic, building a strong and inclusive global economy, combating the climate crisis, or revitalising democracy and defending human rights – without the leadership of African governments, institutions, and citizens.

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“Countries like Nigeria are not just global leaders, they are increasingly prominent around the world beyond this region, and they’re deserving of a prominent seat wherever the most consequential issues are discussed.”

He noted that many countries across the region are wary of the strings that come with more engagement, and fear that in a world of rivalries among major powers, countries would be forced to choose.

“So, I want to be clear – the United States doesn’t want to limit your partnerships with other countries. We want to make your partnerships with us even stronger,” Blinken said.

“We don’t want to make you choose; we want to give you choices. Together, we can deliver real benefits to our people on the issues that matter most to them.”

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Blinken also said the US would agree only to transparent and voluntary global infrastructure agreements that produce tangible benefits on the continent.

“Too often, international infrastructure deals are opaque, coercive; they burden countries with unmanageable debt; they’re environmentally destructive; they don’t always benefit the people who actually live there. We will do things differently,” Blinken said.

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The US secretary of state also emphasised the need to foster democracy across Africa and appealed to its leaders to stop interfering with democratic processes.

Alluding to threats to democracy also in the US, he stated that it was important for countries in every part of the world to share best practices.

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