U.S. President Joe Biden has announced $15 billion in new investments for Africa during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit as part of his administration’s efforts to deepen long-standing relations with the continent.
The new investments will be focused on advancing democracy, promoting human rights and good governance, supporting peace and security, and increasing opportunity and development. They will also help to create jobs and spur economic growth.
This is just the latest manifestation of the United States’ longstanding commitment to Africa. In recent years, the U.S. has increased its investment in the continent, including through the launch of the Power Africa initiative, which has brought electricity to millions of people.
The announcement Wednesday followed an initial commitment of US$55 billion in the lead-up to the summit, bringing the total to US$70 billion for Africa over the next three years.
“The forum has spurred more than US$15 billion with new deals, which will in turn, lift up and improve the lives of people all across the continent. And that’s the biggest deal of all,” Biden said.
“These long term investments are going to deliver real benefits to people, create new good paying jobs, including here in the United States and expand opportunities for all our countries for the years to come,” he added.
Delivering his remarks on day two of the second U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, Biden said the U.S. is seeking a 21st century partnership “to spur shared success and opportunity.”
“The U.S. is all in on Africa’s future,” he said.
Biden also announced the signing of a historic memorandum of understanding with the African Continental Free Trade Area secretariat.
He said the MOU will “unlock new opportunities for trade and investment between our countries.”
The African Continental Free Trade Area “will represent one of the largest free trade areas in the world, 1.3 billion people and a continent-wide market totaling $3.4 trillion. And with the new MOU, we’re doing things correctly: enshrining protections for workers both across Africa and in the United States,” he said.
The president also highlighted various deals signed to improve quality of life for Africans.
Benin and Niger on Wednesday signed the first Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) regional program to promote trade, investment and economic growth.
“This compact will invest $500 million to build and maintain roads, put in place policies that reduce transportation costs, making it easier and faster to ship goods from the port of Cotonou into neighbouring log landlocked countries,” he said.
“Since the start of my administration, the MCC has announced new investments of nearly $1.2 billion in Africa. We expect the MCC to commit an additional $2.5 billion across Africa in just the next three years, supporting everything from agriculture to transportation to access to renewable energy,” Biden said.
He also announced investments in high speed internet so Africa “can better withstand the kinds of shocks that we’ve seen in the past few years.”
In his remarks, Biden acknowledged that Africa’s economic transformation is dependent on improved infrastructure, good governance and security.
His administration has sought to boost trade and investments on the continent as the U.S. and China continue to compete for Africa.