Monday 19 December 2022
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The Luciferian Lies of Mystery Babylon USA: Biden tells leaders US is 'all in' for Africa: Oh Really
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during the Leaders Session – Partnering on Agenda 2063 at the U.S. - Africa Leaders Summit on December 15, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Summit brings together heads of state, government officials, business leaders, and civil society to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Africa. PHOTO/AFP
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Biden tells leaders US is 'all in' for Africa
What you need to know:Biden, while announcing $100 million for security, also said the United States would invest $75 million to counteract "democratic backsliding."
US President Joe Biden threw his support Thursday behind a larger African role in the world as he also vowed to champion democracy in a continent where China and Russia have enjoyed rising clout.
"The United States is all in on Africa and all in with Africa," Biden told nearly 50 African leaders who have spent three days in a wintry Washington summit that featured a gala White House dinner.
"Africa belongs to the table in every room -- every room for global challenges that are being discussed," Biden said.
Biden, who in September called for an African permanent seat on the UN Security Council, backed a permanent African Union role in the Group of 20 economies and said he was planning a visit -- the first by a US president since 2015 -- to sub-Saharan Africa.
The summit is the first of its kind since African leaders came in 2014 to see Barack Obama, whose successor Donald Trump made no secret of his lack of interest in Africa.
China for the past decade has eclipsed the United States as an investor, and Russia in recent years has sent in mercenaries and sought diplomatic support against Western pressure.
Biden announced $2.5 billion in new assistance on food as price increases lead to hunger across the continent, especially in the drought-struck Horn.
"Russia's brutal war in Ukraine has led to the disruption of food and energy supplies that affect all of our economies," Vice President Kamala Harris told a luncheon.
She told African leaders that "international rules and norms are under threat -- for example, sovereignty and territory integrity, unimpeded commerce and peaceful resolution of disputes."
Democracy in 'DNA'
The Biden administration has been more veiled in its criticism of China, which has poured in funding for high-profile infrastructure projects and lent more than $120 billion across the continent since the start of the century.
The United States at the summit laid out $55 billion in projects over the coming three years including in green energy, training for health workers and modernization of internet networks, with the private sector also pledging $15 billion led by investment in technology.
In a contrast with China, which has been happy to do business with all African regimes, the United States has made a point of stressing democracy, even if Biden still invited leaders seen as authoritarian.
"The United States will always lead with our values," Biden told the African leaders.
"Support for democracy, respect for the rule of law, commitment to human rights, responsible government, all are part of our DNA."
Biden, while announcing $100 million for security, also said the United States would invest $75 million to counteract "democratic backsliding" including by strengthening electoral authorities and civil society.
On Wednesday, Biden met jointly with the leaders of six nations that hold elections next year including Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, sub-Saharan Africa's largest countries in population and size respectively, to seek promises on free elections.
Mark Green, a former congressman and head of the US Agency of International Development, said that the United States was focused on building self-reliance in Africa, while China was looking to "reinforce aid dependency."
"If a Chinese investment in Africa leads to greater self-reliance, somebody in Beijing is going to lose his or her job," said Green, now president of the Wilson Center.
China denies US accusations it is putting developing nations into a "debt trap" and in turn has called on Washington not to see Africa through the prism of geopolitical competition.
Will not 'dictate' to Africa
African leaders largely welcomed the summit. But the continent has also been reluctant to take sides among major powers.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking to reporters at the end of the summit, said: "America will not dictate Africa's choices. Neither should anyone else."
Senegalese President Macky Sall, the current chair of the African Union, welcomed US support for the institution and voiced appreciation for Biden's summit.
But he also called for the United States to end longstanding rights sanctions on Zimbabwe and voiced alarm over a bill in the US Congress that would impose sanctions on African countries over dealings with Russia.
"This would be the first time in international relations that a whole continent is targeted," Sall said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (2nd L) speaks during a meeting with Angolan President Joao Lourenco, at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, on December 13, 2022. PHOTO/AFP
Rolling red carpet to Africans, US warns of 'destabilizing' China, Russia
What you need to know:
Forty-nine African leaders flew into the Washington cold for the first continent-wide summit with the United States in eight years as President Joe Biden seeks to use personal diplomacy to win back influence.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, at a panel with several African presidents at the start of the three-day summit, charged that US rivals had a different approach.
President Museveni (C) arrives at Andrews Air Force Base on December 12, 2022 to attend the US-Africa Leaders Summit. PHOTO/PPU
Austin said China was expanding its footprint in Africa "on a daily basis" through its growing economic influence.
"The troubling piece there is they're not always transparent in terms of what they're doing and that creates problems that will be eventually destabilizing, if they're not already," Austin said.
Russia was "continuing to peddle cheap weapons" and deploying "mercenaries across the continent," he added.
"And that is destabilizing as well."
But the Biden administration has been careful not to present Africans with an us-or-them choice, believing it is futile to try to turn the tide on China's massive infrastructure spending.
Health and space cooperation
Biden plans to unveil $55 billion for Africa over three years. In one of the first announcements, the White House said the United States would invest $4 billion by the 2025 fiscal year to train African health workers, a rising priority for Washington since the Covid-19 pandemic.
The summit also brought in NASA, with Nigeria and Rwanda becoming the first African nations to sign the Artemis accords, a US-led bid for international cooperation on traveling to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
Members of the National Guard block the streets near the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the site of the US-Africa Leaders Summit that brings together leaders from across Africa to meet with US President Joe Biden and other US representatives, in Washington, DC, December 13, 2022. PHOTO/AFP
The Horn of Africa has been devastated by five consecutive failed rainy seasons, with Somalia already struggling after decades of turbulence and Al-Shabaab jihadist rebels.
"These climate shocks have weakened the society," Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said, ahead of expected announcements by Biden on climate efforts in Africa.
Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, in talks with Blinken, blamed climate change for floods that have killed some 100 people in the capital Kinshasa.
In Somalia, Mohamud also claimed successes against the rebels, days after Somali forces seized the key town held by jihadists since 2016 with the help of US air strikes and an African Union force.
But he warned that military means alone were insufficient.
"I have been telling my colleagues today that engaging with the society and the community is what makes these terrorists like a fish that has run out of water; they cannot exist without a community," he said.
The Biden administration has stressed working with the African Union, both on the security and diplomatic fronts.
Biden during a speech Wednesday is expected to outline US support for the African Union to gain a formal berth in the Group of 20 club of major economies, months after he threw support behind a permanent African seat on the UN Security Council.
African Union chief Moussa Faki Mahamat hailed US support but warned that there was still far more focus on fighting extremists in the Middle East.
"This double standard has had disastrous consequences for Africa and for peace and democracy in the world," he said.
The Artemis accords, which already include European allies, Japan and several Latin American powers, come as China rapidly expands its own lunar program and as tensions with Russia threaten its post-Cold War work with the United States on space.
China has rejected criticism of its role in Africa, with its ambassador in Washington, Qin Gang, saying the continent should not be a place for "major powers' competition."
In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Wednesday that Washington "should respect the will of the African people and take concrete actions to help Africa's development, instead of concentrating its efforts on smearing and attacking other countries."
The US-Africa summit is the first since Barack Obama invited leaders in 2014, with his successor Donald Trump making no secret of his lack of interest in Africa.
Security remains a major focus of the United States, which has used the summit to focus on some of the continent's hotspots.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a onetime US ally whose relations with Washington soured sharply over the Tigray war that broke out two years ago, paid his first visit to Washington since the conflict.
Meeting him inside central Washington's convention center, Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced hope over an agreement signed last month in South Africa between Ethiopia's government and Tigrayan rebels.
"We have, I think, a historic moment for the country," Blinken told him.
Climate and security
The United States also announced another $411 million in assistance for Somalia where a new assessment found "catastrophic" hunger, even though the United Nations said aid has averted a full-blown famine.