The African Union Commission (AUC) and the United States convened for the 7th Annual AUC – U.S. High-Level Dialogue, led by Ambassador David Hale, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and Ambassador Smaїl Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, on November 15, 2019, in Washington, D.C. The AUC and the United States reaffirmed their strong commitment to collaboration, based on mutual interest and shared values. The goals of the partnership include promoting peace and security, strengthening democratic institutions and human rights, empowering and increasing women and youth participation in economic transformation, strengthening regional integration, expanding trade and investment, and advancing sustainable economic development in Africa, which are all important goals of the AU development framework, Agenda 2063.
The two partners discussed how the AUC and the United States would strengthen their efforts to end and prevent conflict on the continent, and recognized the critical nexus between democratic governance, promotion of human rights, and stability. They underscored their joint commitment to fully carry out the mandate of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda as an essential component for realizing peace and prosperity. Finally, the AUC and the United States welcomed the AU’s 2020 theme of the year, “Silencing the Guns by 2020: Creating conducive conditions for Africa’s development” and looked forward to working to end violent conflict on the continent and address the menace of terrorism, trafficking and transnational crime.
The two sides discussed economic growth, trade, opportunity, and development, commending the entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), with a market of 1.2 billion people. Highlighting the signing in August 2019 of a joint statement of support for the AfCFTA by Ambassador C.J. Mahoney, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), and Ambassador Albert Muchanga, AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, officials welcomed Prosper Africa, the establishment of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, and the possibility of Millennium Challenge Corporation regional compacts, as these will promote sustainable economic development in Africa. Both sides further reaffirmed their support for the AfCFTA. The AUC highlighted its development agenda for regional integration, especially enhancing the AfCFTA as a strategic means to increase competitiveness and attractiveness to business.
Officials welcomed the AUC – U.S. joint communique to advance women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, signed in April 2019, and look forward to additional cooperation in the near term. They also acknowledged the importance of investing in projects that promote regional integration as an avenue for creating opportunities for African youth.
The AUC noted with satisfaction the endorsement of the second Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) biennial review report on the implementation of the Malabo declaration on agricultural transformation in Africa. The two sides agreed to continue consultations on the establishment of the AU Food Safety Agency.
The two sides discussed deepening collaboration and augmenting resources for cyber security and digital economy capacity building efforts with a commitment of additional programmatic support to the U.S. Telecommunications Training Institute to increase technical training opportunities for African ICT regulators and policy makers. Officials also discussed deepening collaboration on youth and education, especially university partnerships with an emphasis on long-term institutional links focused on national development.