Expectations and mixed assessments of the Africa-United States summit, Tuesday in Washington

Expectations and mixed assessments of the Africa-United States summit, Tuesday in Washington

AA / Dakar / Alioune Ndiaye

The United States – Africa summit starts Tuesday in Washington at the initiative of President Joe Biden, who places it under the sign of the reconfiguration of American-African relations.

“I look forward to working with African governments, civil society, diaspora communities across the United States, and the private sector to continue to strengthen our shared vision for the future of U.S.-Africa relations,” he said. to this register the American president.

The American government has, in the same logic, noted that during the summit’s United States – Africa business forum, African heads of state and American and African heads of business and government will discuss ways to advancing mutually beneficial partnerships to create jobs and drive inclusive and sustainable growth.

Speaking last week at a digital press conference ahead of the Summit, Molly Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs at the United States Department of State, further insisted on the “reconfiguration” aspect of American-African relations in order to meet the challenges very dear to the populations.

“In any case, I hope that Africans and Americans will come out of this summit with the impression that the dialogue has been deepened, particularly on subjects that really make a daily difference,” she said.

This means that the summit, the second of its kind after the one organized in 2014 during the Barack Obama era, is of capital importance for the United States.

Invitations have thus been sent to all African Heads of State and Government – ​​with the exception of Sudan, Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea Conakry – countries under AU sanctions – for the Summit. Added to the number of absentees is Eritrea, which has no diplomatic relations with the United States.

Sessions such as: Diaspora and Young African Leaders, Global Health and Food Security, Climate Change and Energy, Investment in Infrastructure, in addition to the United States Africa Business Forum, are on the agenda of the meeting. which will continue until December 15.

— What do the experts think?

The meeting so much promoted by politicians hardly ignites on the side of certain African experts who are unconvinced of the benefits for Africa.

The economist Demba Moussa Dembélé sees in it an American method to ensure more presence in Africa.

“One of the major objectives of the Summit will be for the United States to hold a honeyed speech on the benefits of trade and investment in order to have even more access to the resources of the African continent”, indicated to the Agency. Anadolu Dembelé, president of “African research and cooperation for the support of endogenous development” (Arcade).

“In Washington, there will be a lot of talk about investment, ‘public-private partnership’, ‘free trade’ and ‘aid’. All this with the aim of opening wide the gateways to African economies to deliver them to the insatiable appetite of American multinationals”, continued the economist, pointing to the plethora of representatives of the private sector, both on the African than that of the United States, at this summit.

Dembélé thus evoked a desire among the Americans to catch up after the multinationals of this country were left behind in Africa by companies from emerging countries and even from Europe.

“In some circles of capitalism in deep crisis, some think that Africa has become the new frontier of capitalist globalization and that it holds the keys to emerging from the crisis”, he analyzed.

The less forceful tone, El Hadj Alioune Diouf, commissioner for economic affairs does not say the opposite.

“With the erosion of preferential margins resulting from multilateral trade negotiations that have allowed the general lowering of customs duties, the United States, like Europe, are looking for other strategies to promote trade with Africa,” he said. he underlined, integrating the summit in this permanent search to establish privileged relations with Africa, the continent of the future.

However, the positive points that could arise for Africa from this meeting should not be overlooked, he said.

“This summit can open up opportunities for Africa, which is not absent from international trade. Admittedly, Africa represents 3% of international trade, but its rate of openness to international trade is the highest in the world due to its low gross domestic product,” said Diouf, former director of internal trade.

“This summit must be considered as an opportunity to improve and increase our capacity to supply and produce wealth and therefore our domestic market, which is still weak! Indeed, this summit can promote increased US investment,” he continued.

The Commissioner for Economic Affairs is also convinced that the summit reinforces the efforts that Africans make every day towards economic progress and the promotion of intra-African trade advocated by the AU.

However, he wanted to be clear on one thing: “The best partner of the African continent is the African continent itself”.

“The relevant market for Africa remains the African internal market because it is a market of one billion inhabitants with a middle class of more than three hundred million people”, he specified, assuring that the The United States, like Europe or even China, can only be secondary partners in the African quest for endogenous and inclusive development.

In any case, a positive point and not the least will be that US President Joe Biden will officially commit during the meeting to advocate for a place for the AU within the G 20, according to Judd Devermont, Executive Director for African Affairs of the White House National Security Council.

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