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US-Africa Leaders Summit to Focus on Economic Engagement, Democracy

Rabat - This year’s US-Africa Business Summit, scheduled to be held in Washington DC on December 13-15, will build on the economic cooperation between the US and Africa, according to a statement by US President Joe Biden.

The summit will mainly aim to “reinforce the U.S.-Africa commitment to democracy and human rights,” as well as mitigating the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and promoting food security, added the statement.

“I look forward to working with African governments, civil society, diaspora communities across the United States, and the private sector to continue strengthening our shared vision for the future of U.S.-Africa relations,” Biden’s statement concluded.

Some, such as US Senator Jim Risch, have said the scheduling of the summit is “long overdue,” criticizing American foreign policy’s perceived lack of focus on Africa.

A previous version of the summit was held in 2014 under Barack Obama, and saw attendance by 50 African leaders, including 37 heads of state.

The coming summit was first announced by Vice President Kamala Harris, in a video message that was shown last Wednesday at the US-Africa Business Summit held in Marrakech.

In the video message, Harris emphasized the importance of the private sector in accelerating economic growth, noting that she believes in the power of public private partnerships to achieve that goal.

"President Joe Biden and I realize the critical importance of strengthening relations with Africa," she said, adding that the current administration aims to promote “inclusive and sustainable development” in Africa.

Africa is a core component of the Biden Administration’s vision, CEO of the US Africa Development Foundation (USADF) Travis Adkins told Morocco World News during the Marrakech summit, emphasizing the continent’s potential for economic advancement.

Along with other G7 leaders, President Biden recently made a pledge to raise $600 billion over the next five years to finance projects in developing countries, including in Africa, in an apparent bid to counter China’s multi trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Last week’s US-Africa summit in Marrakech brought together officials and investors from the US with African counterparts, allowing them to discuss the obstacles the continent faces as well as what can be done to improve its business ecosystem.

For Morocco, the summit also meant a chance to advertise itself as an attractive spot for investors -- not only to invest in Morocco but also to use the Moroccan market as a gateway to gaining a foothold in the rest of the continent.

Source: Morocco World News.

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