As he concluded the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit on Thursday, President Joe Biden announced that he will soon travel to sub-Saharan Africa. He provided only the most basic information about his travel itinerary but made clear that he is serious about focusing more U.S. attention on the expanding continent.
A number of Biden’s top advisers, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin, and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, will travel to Africa, according to the vice president.
Biden said, “I’m looking forward to seeing you in your home countries.”
It will be Biden’s first trip to sub-Saharan Africa during his time in office. He made a brief stop in Egypt in November for a global climate summit, which is located there between the southwest and northeastern corners of Asia and Africa. The president did not specify which nations he will visit or the precise date of the trip.
In the first two years of his administration, Biden traveled primarily to Asia and Europe in an effort to refocus his foreign policy on the Indo-Pacific region. Additionally, he had to deal with the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
During his COVID-19 shadowed presidency, in which he made no trips abroad during his final 11 months in office, Biden’s Republican predecessor Donald Trump failed to visit Africa. Since Ronald Reagan, Trump is the first president not to have traveled to the continent while in office.
As his administration sought to emphasize the significance of fair voting in nations where it has occasionally been hampered by violence, Biden pledged $165 million in U.S. funding to support peaceful, credible elections in Africa next year.
The pledge was made as Biden and the summit’s three-day conclusion in Washington drew to a close.
High-level discussions on U.S. cooperation with the African Union’s strategic vision for the continent, including food security, were the focus of the talks on Thursday. Africa has been disproportionately affected by the rise in world food prices brought on by Russia’s conflict with Ukraine.
The White House announced the elections-funding plan after Biden met on Wednesday with Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba, Liberia President George Manneh Weah, Madagascar President Andry Nirina Rajoelina, Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari and Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio to discuss their countries’ voting in 2023.
After the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2017, the White House said in a statement that Biden thought about the state of democracy in his own nation during his meeting with the leaders. When Trump’s opponent, Biden, won the 2020 presidential election, Trump’s supporters violently tried to prevent Congress from certifying the results.
Burkina Faso and Mali are currently governed by military juntas. West Africa has experienced a number of coups in recent years. The elections in Sierra Leone and Gabon will serve as significant benchmarks in light of this. Anti-government protests took place in Sierra Leone this year due to high inflation and dissatisfaction with President Bio, who was elected in 2018.
With a turbulent past filled with coups and contested elections, Madagascar. 2019 saw the election of President Rajoelina, who took over from a junta supported by the military. During the elections, Rajoelina will make an effort to solidify both his rule and the nation’s democracy.
On January 6, 2021, tens of thousands of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent uprising, smashing through police barricades and the building’s windows while yelling “hang the vice president!”
Additionally, about 50 lawsuits were filed by Trump and his allies with the goal of nullifying election results in states that were in a tight race. Nearly all of their legal battles were lost, and Biden was declared the victor.
The G-20, which consists of the world’s major industrial and emerging economies and accounts for more than 80% of global GDP, was announced by the White House last week as having Biden’s support. The only African nation currently participating in the G-20 is South Africa. The 54 nations of the continent are represented by the African Union.
On Wednesday, Biden outlined plans for the billions in promised public funding and private investment to support the expanding continent in the areas of technology, business, infrastructure, and health. He also hosted a dinner at the White House with first lady Jill Biden for the country’s leaders and their spouses.