Buhari, 44 other leaders to extract deals as U.S.-Africa summit begins

• African citizens seek action on corruption, unemployment
• U.S. plans to commit $55b to Africa over three years
• Defence chief warns China, Russia on ‘destabilising’ Africa

Amid emerging new scramble for Africa, especially from China and Russia, the much anticipated three-day United States-Africa Leaders Summit, which is exploring collaboration on economic engagement, democracy and climate change, kicked off, yesterday, in Washington DC, with 45 of the 49 invited African heads of government.

Of the invited, only South Africa, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and The Gambia were represented by their Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

At press time, last night, President Muhammadu Buhari was expected to make his presentation at the Summit on supporting conservation, climate adaptation and energy transition, with hope of exerting commitments on deeper ties between Nigeria and the U.S.

Earlier, at the African and Diaspora Young Leaders Forum, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said the United States is committed to ensuring young people can continue to bring their talents and hard work to the benefit of people across the continent and in the United States.

“We’ve got a number of programmes that are doing just that – programmes like the Young African Leaders Initiative – and through our economic development programmes, like the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs programme. Now, since its inception in 2019, that programme has provided more than 5,400 women throughout Africa with the training and the networks that they need to start and scale small businesses.

“Over the next few days, we will be announcing additional investments to make it easier for students to participate in exchange programmes between our countries, to increase trade opportunities for members of the African diaspora, and support African entrepreneurs and small businesses. Each of these investments is guided by one overarching goal: to continue building our partnership, so that we can better address the shared challenges we face. And ultimately, we can build a safer, more secure, more prosperous future for all of us,” he said.

This is coming days after the European Union (EU) made an announcement of $170 billion to rival China’s investment and commitments in Africa. The $170 billion financing package for projects and development on the continent came after a two-day summit with the African Union in Brussels.

The funding will be spread across seven years and account for half of the bloc’s total capital allocated to its Global Gateway plans, pitched as an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

However, as the Summit gets underway, a survey has highlighted what Africans demand from their leaders.

Following widespread social, economic and political stresses from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change and war in Ukraine, the survey listed African citizens’ experiences and expectations as they set agenda and consider strategies and interventions for Africa’s most critical priorities.

According to Afrobarometer’s findings, which covered up to 40 African countries, preliminary results from about 29,000 face-to-face interviews in the first 20 countries revealed that Africans’ top concerns are unemployment and government economic mismanagement.

As in previous surveys, unemployment remained the top policy priority for Africans, cited by 35 per cent of respondents as one of up to three priorities for government action.

But in a remarkable shift, the share of Africans who’ve mentioned “management of the economy” has shot up from 16 per cent in 2021 to 34 per cent in this round, making it a virtual tie for top priority.

Close to one in three African adults (30 per cent) report COVID-19-related loss of job or primary income source, with Kenyans (55 per cent) and Ugandans (50 per cent) faring worst. But the pandemic may only be exacerbating a longer-term trend of increasing poverty.

The proportion of Africans whom Afrobarometer categorises as experiencing ‘high lived poverty’ has grown from 19 per cent to 26 per cent.

Governments get some of their worst performance ratings on these same issues. Across 20 countries, large majorities say their governments are doing badly at creating jobs (81 per cent), managing the economy (74 per cent), controlling inflation (88 per cent), and improving the living standards of the poor (80 per cent). The public wants revitalised macroeconomic management that invests in job creation and reduces hardship.

ALREADY, the United States plans to commit $55 billion to Africa over the next three years, White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan told reporters, yesterday.

The money will go to “a wide range of sectors to tackle the core challenges of our time,” and is being distributed in close partnership with Congress, Sullivan said.

Much of the funds appear to come from previously announced programmes and budgets.

Also, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin warned African leaders at the Summit that China and Russia risk “destabilising” the continent with their rising involvement.

“The combination of activities by those two countries…I think that bears watching. And certainly, I think their influence can be destabilising,” Austin told a panel with several presidents at the start of the Summit.

Source: Guardian.ng

Previous Post
Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com