Reports monitored from Washington indicate that U.S. President Joe Biden has invited 49 African heads of state and the head of the African Union (AU) aa well as heads of regional blocs to the three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit scheduled from December 13-15.
According to the criteria, Biden has invited all sub-Saharan and North African governments that 1) have not been suspended by the African Union, 2) of states the U.S. government recognizes and 3) of states with which it has exchanged ambassadors.
Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Advisor for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, Dana Banks, told reporters that 45 African heads of state and government have already confirmed their participation with the White House.
Ms. Banks informed that Biden invited 49 African leaders, excluding those from Burkina Faso, Guinea, Sudan, and Mali, four countries currently suspended by the African Union. All the four countries not invited are currently run by strong men who took power by the guns.
Banks and U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, Robert Scott, briefed reporters via teleconference about the agenda which aims at strengthening the U.S.-Africa relations and highlight the U.S. commitment to the African continent.
It is, however, expected the gathering would contribute tremendously to advance shared priorities and foster stronger ties between the United States and Africa. It will provide an opportunity to advance the Biden administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, highlight its commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development for the benefit of its people in the African continent.
Summit organizers are making conscious efforts to get the participants to Washington. In the latest for example, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali and discussed his participation at the Summit. Ethiopia has had human rights questions tied up with the current war it is waging with its Tigray neighbour, though have recently reach a peace deal in South Africa.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that during their phone call on November 22, Secretary Blinken “underscored the importance of immediately implementing the cessation of hostilities agreement, including withdrawal of all foreign forces and concurrent disarmament of the Tigrayan forces.”
“Secretary Blinken recognized ongoing efforts by the Ethiopian government to work towards unhindered humanitarian assistance and restoration of basic services in the Tigray Region as well as in the neighboring Afar and Amhara regions,” Price said. “He noted that the United States remains committed to supporting the African Union-led process, including the AU monitoring and verification mechanism.”
United States, with enduring commitment and underscoring the importance of U.S.-Africa relations and increased cooperation on shared global priorities, as far back in July explicitly stated in an official statement that:
– the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit will build on shared values to better foster new economic engagement;
– reinforce the U.S.-Africa commitment to democracy and human rights; mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and of future pandemics;
– work collaboratively to strengthen regional and global health;
– promote food security; advance peace and security; respond to the climate crisis; and amplify diaspora ties.
And that the United States looks warmly forward to working with African governments, civil society, diaspora communities across the United States, and the private sector to continue strengthening its shared vision for the future of U.S.-Africa relations.