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US commits $55bn to AU’s Agenda 2063…over 3-year period

The United States (US) Africa Leaders Summit has ended with the US govern­ment announcing a plan to commit $55 billion in Africa to push shared priorities and the Africa Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063, over the next three years.

“That number represents a com­prehensive commitment from the United States to invest in Africa’s people, Africa’s infrastructure, Africa’s agriculture, Africa’s health system, Africa’s security, and more,” said US President Biden at one of Thursday’s closing sessions on AU Agenda 2063 partnership.

Proposed by AU in 2013, 50 years after the foundation of the then Organisation of African Unity and adopted in 2015, the Agenda 2063 is a strategic framework for Africa’s trans­formation over the next 50 years.

It seeks to ensure economic growth and poverty eradication, and political integration; improve democracy and justice, establish security and peace, and strengthen cultural identity, gender equality, and political indepen­dence.

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“The United States fully supports the blueprint you laid out in Agenda 2063,” President Biden said.

In addition to US investments, he said, the US was championing equitable arrangements for global creditors to provide debt relief to enable countries to prioritise their people and avoid “back-breaking debt payments.”

He revealed that his government was seeking authority from US Congress to lend $21 billion to the International Monetary Fund to provide access to necessary financing for low- and middle-in­come countries’ recovery efforts from the recent economic crises and build resilience. He said his administration would work with the US Congress to invest $75 million to strengthen transpar­ent, accountable governance, facilities, facilitate voter regis­tration, support constitutional reform and more.

On security, he said over the next three years, and through a 100-million-dollar pilot programme, the US Depart­ment of Defense would work with African partners to boost reforms that build their security capacity.

Describing Africa’s voice as crit­ical to global solutions, he declared US’s support for the reformation of the United Nations Security Council to include permanent representation for Africa.

He also called for AU to join the G20 as a permanent member of the Group of 20 (G20), an intergovernmental forum compris­ing 19 countries and the European Union.

He announced the appointment of US diplomat, Ambassador Johnnie Carson, to ensure the implementation of all commitments made and hinted at plans to visit Africa to deepen the new relationship.

“And you’re going to see us deliver our commitment. All of our commit­ments. Now we’ve crafted this summit and this agenda in close cooperation with the African Union and focus on African priorities,” he said.

Later at another session on food security, President Biden announced an additional $2 billion in humanitar­ian assistance to address acute food insecurity in Africa.

The three-day summit opened on Tuesday, was convened by the US President, Joe Biden, to strengthen the US-Africa partnership to pursue shared global priorities after eight years since the maiden edition was convened by President Barack Obama in 2014.

Held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Centre, it brought to­gether 49 African Heads of state and the AU Commissioner, Moussa Faki Mahamat, civil society, businesses/ private sector, and young people from the continent.

It was characterised by a series of plenary sessions, bilateral meetings, the announcement of investment deals, COVID-19 testing procedures, and security checks amidst the cold winter weather that set the tone for Christmas, here.

FROM JONATHAN DONKOR, WASHINGTON DC, US

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