US-Africa Leaders Summit: Issues Arise and Way Forward

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On the eve of the US-Africa Leaders Summit scheduled for December 13-15 in Washington, the Corporate Council, in collaboration with the African Union and the US Department of State, organized discussions that were a Online and offline combination with some experts from the United States and Africa.

Katherine Tai, the 19th United States Trade Representative and Secretary General Wamkele Wene of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Ambassador Rama Yade, Senior Director of the Africa Center. She was the Dean of the African diplomatic corps in the United States.

This discussion came on the eve of the US-Africa Leaders Summit (ALS), which will advance US-Africa collaboration on today’s most pressing global and regional priorities. . The ALS will reflect the breadth and depth of US partnerships with African governments, businesses, civil society, and citizens: partnerships based on dialogue, respect, and shared values ​​that harness the ingenuity and creativity of the American and African peoples.

There were several topics during the discussion in the difficult geopolitical context of high global economic imbalances that slow down direct investment in the continent, as well as accelerated changes in the labor market.

It is worth noting that the US-Africa Leaders Summit will be hosted by President Joe Biden, and primarily serves as a demonstration and engagement towards the African continent and also provides the platform for new joint US-Africa initiatives.

The discussion reviewed current relationships, as well as possible new initiatives to boost the continent’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, how to effectively bolster food security, and promote investment in various critical sectors, including infrastructure, health, and renewable energy, among others. other priorities.

On the other hand, the discussion also focused on strengthening African diaspora communities and engaging them in advancing a two-way trade and investment partnership, increasing innovation and entrepreneurship, and driving breakthroughs in key sectors.

The United States, along with the African diaspora, has a unique opportunity to ensure that the narrative of trade is changed and that it focuses on inclusion rather than just market access. Support women and youth in identifying opportunities, challenges and also barriers they face.

Questions such as what are the challenges that we can face together and what are the solutions that we can present to heads of state and government to begin to change the previous years of exclusion of young people from the main economic activity, from small and medium-sized enterprises to generalize the economic activity to turn them into partners in its execution.

The United States understands that the African Union and African leaders are seeking regional ties very strategically and always around inclusiveness. How and what to improve with the economic commitment inside and outside, to attract everyone and not leave people behind.

The United States already plans to take concrete steps to benefit young people, including women, to benefit small and medium-sized businesses and small and medium-sized businesses in Africa, creating jobs for more than 450 million. And most of those 450 million jobs are young Africans.

The Corporate Council on Africa provides tremendous support and even galvanizes US leadership and commitment in partnership with allies and partners to shape solutions to global challenges in Africa. Your people have a critical role to play in bringing about such solutions, Ambassador Tai noted in her discussion.

Almost all participants agreed that everything would require a mix of private sector activities and government action, and a key government framework for Africa is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The free trade area promises to deepen economic integration. It creates a single market for goods and services for nearly 1.3 billion people in Africa. In fact, 50 members of the African Union have signed the agreement, 42 members have ratified it and 39 have deposited their instruments of ratification.

The AfCFTA Secretary General during the summit will be able to highlight the way forward. The United States intends to engage fully with Africa as stated in the recent Africa Strategy in a 21st Century US-Africa Partnership, and one aspect of that Africa is friendly support, that is, working with trusted partners. It is noted that it works within the framework provided by the integration between West Africa and East Africa and between North Africa and Southern Africa.

Within the framework of the African Union agenda, the new generation wants to take advantage of the dimension of geopolitical association in the regional economic communities and with African countries. The point is that there are symmetries, obviously, between the economy and the trajectory of industrial development and between developing and developed countries.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act provides rules and regulations related to trade agreements, especially tariff liberalization; this is an important aspect of building sustainable economic cooperation between the two regions.

The United States and its partner institutions (both public and private) can best work together to spearhead ongoing complementary work on both corporate security for participating stakeholders and investors, such as the African Diaspora and beyond. industry for things. as the creative and cultural industries.

Speakers unanimously confirmed the summit as the highest single platform to determine geo-economic centers, take a hard look at global priorities and challenges, and concretely map out major directions for US-Africa cooperation. It offers, especially in these critical times, an orientation to the future, at least the next decade, between the African continent and the United States.

The 2022 US-Africa Leaders Summit aims to enhance cooperation on shared global priorities. Heads of state and leaders from across the African continent will meet in Washington DC, in the context of the US-Africa Leaders Summit hosted by President Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States of America.

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