US firms pledge billions in African investment
U.S. President Joe Biden has announced an additional $15 billion in new investments for Africa as part of his administration’s efforts to deepen long-standing relations with the continent.
The announcement Wednesday followed an initial commitment of $55 billion in the lead-up to the summit, bringing the total to $70 billion for Africa over the next three years.
“The forum has spurred more than $15 billion with new deals, which will turn, lift up and improve the lives of people all across the continent. And that’s the biggest deal of all,” Biden said.
“These long term investments are going to deliver real benefits to people create new good paying jobs, including here in the United States and expand opportunities for all our countries for the years to come,” he added.
Delivering his remarks on day two of the second U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, Biden said the U.S. is seeking a 21st century partnership “to spur shared success and opportunity.”
“The U.S. is all in on Africa’s future,” he said.
Biden also announced the signing of a historic memorandum of understanding with the African Continental Free Trade Area secretariat.
He said the MOU will “unlock new opportunities for trade and investment between our countries.”
The African Continental Free Trade Area “will represent one of the largest free trade areas in the world, 1.3 billion people and a continent-wide market totaling $3.4 trillion. And with the new MOU, we’re doing things correctly: enshrining protections for workers both across Africa and in the United States,” he said.
The president also highlighted various deals signed to improve quality of life for Africans.
Benin and Niger on Wednesday signed the first Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) regional program to promote trade, investment and economic growth.
“This compact will invest $500 million to build and maintain roads, put in place policies that reduce transportation costs, making it easier and faster to ship goods from the port of Cotonou into neighboring log landlocked countries,” he said.
“Since the start of my administration, the MCC has announced new investments of nearly $1.2 billion in Africa. We expect the MCC to commit an additional $2.5 billion across Africa in just the next three years, supporting everything from agriculture to transportation to access to renewable energy,” Biden said.
He also announced investments in high speed internet so Africa “can better withstand the kinds of shocks that we’ve seen in the past few years.”
In his remarks, Biden acknowledged that Africa’s economic transformation is dependent on improved infrastructure, good governance and security.
His administration has sought to boost trade and investments on the continent as the U.S. and China continue to compete for Africa.