Will Biden deliver on his commitment to Africa in 2022?


When he was running to win the White House, President Joe Biden’s campaign committed to implement a “bold strategy” toward Africa, and one that would be based on a “mutually respectful engagement” and a reinvigorated diplomacy, if elected. Indeed, the campaign was the first ever to outline how it would promote the interests of the African diaspora in the United States. On his 16th day in office, President Biden sent a video message to African leaders attending the 34th African Union Summit that promised American partnership and solidarity on a range of critical issues. The message was a welcome departure from former President Donald Trump’s disparaging characterization of the continent.

Given this promising start, few would have predicted that almost one year later the Biden Administration would have imposed an omicron-inspired travel ban on eight countries in southern Africa. The ban, which was criticized by regional leaders as “unfair, discriminatory and unnecessary,” coincided with the withdrawal of benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) from three other African countries. As surprisingly, members of the African diaspora—especially those from Ethiopia—were vocal in supporting the Republican candidate for governor in Virginia because of what some claimed to be the “pain of neglect,” as it concerned the administration’s handling of the conflict in Ethiopia. In fact, ending the conflict and the devastating humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region consumed much of the administration’s attention to Africa last year.

Despite these discouraging developments, it would be premature to write off Biden’s Africa policy.

The November visit by Secretary of State Tony Blinken to Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal advanced an important set of priorities for Biden’s Africa policy: COVID-19 recovery, combating climate change, support for democracy, and greater trade and investment.

Blinken’s announcement of an African leaders’ summit in late 2022 will help to galvanize progress on implementing the Biden Africa agenda.

Investing in Africa’s public health institutions

Central to Blinken’s trip to Dakar was his visit to the well-respected Pasteur Institute, where the U.S. Development Finance Corporation has invested $3.5 million to bolster the production of vaccines on a continent that imports 99 percent of its vaccines. More investments like this are needed.

It is encouraging that the Biden administration is looking to support Africa’s health security in other ways: In October 2021, the National Institutes of Health invested $75 million in seven research hubs in South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, and Cameroon to advance data science and catalyze research and innovation across Africa. This collaboration between the NIH and African research institutions needs to be accelerated as quickly as possible. The African genome is the oldest human genome, and there is more genetic diversity in Africa than on any other continent. Despite this, fewer than three percent of analyzed genomes come from Africans, making it an inherently rich source of new genetic information for health and diagnostic research and…



Read More: Will Biden deliver on his commitment to Africa in 2022?

Leave a comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Live News

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.