• Digital Press Briefing: U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit – One Year Anniversary of Implementation with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Jonathan Pratt, National Security Council Senior Director for African Affairs, Judd Devermont, and Prosper Africa Coordinator, British Robinson

Listen to or download the audio file here.

MODERATOR:  Good afternoon to everyone from the U.S. Department of State’s Africa Regional Media Hub.  I would like to welcome our participants logging in from across the continent and thank all of you for joining this discussion.  Apologies for the late start; we had some technical difficulties, so I appreciate you holding out.

Today, we are very pleased to be joined by the National Security Council Senior Director for African Affairs Judd Devermont, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs Jonathan Pratt, and Prosper Africa Coordinator British Robinson.  Our speakers will discuss the progress made over the last year in implementing the achievements of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and how these efforts highlight the U.S. commitment to the African continent.  They are joining us from Washington, D.C.

We will begin today’s call with opening remarks from our speakers and then we will turn to your questions.  We will try to get to as many of them as we can during the briefing.

As a reminder, today’s call is on the record.  It will be embargoed until 5:00 a.m. Eastern Time; that is noon South African time and 10 o’clock GMT.  With that, I will turn it over to the National Security Council Senior Director for African Affairs Judd Devermont.

MR DEVERMONT:  Great, thank you so much, and good morning and good afternoon to everyone.  We’re very excited to be here today ahead of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit one-year anniversary.  We have had a record-setting year for U.S.-African relations, and I want to share today how we’ve delivered on our high-profile commitments.

For example, last year the Biden-Harris administration said that we would invest $55 billion in Africa over three years.  As we wind down 2023, we have already delivered on more than 40 percent of this commitment.  In fact, by the end of year two, we anticipate surpassing 70 percent of our goal, if not more.  With these resources, we’ve expanded our trade and investment; we have advanced major food and health security partnerships; charted a course for digital transformation; forged new security and good governance cooperation; and catalyzed landmark diaspora-driven engagement.

Further, the United States has prioritized high-level engagement.  We are proud that this year witnessed an unprecedented pace of visits to the continent.  This includes 17 senior U.S. Government officials, and what I mean here is cabinet-level and principals that are heads of departments and agencies.  Together they have visited 26 countries in Africa.  And then of course there has been countless other trips at the deputy secretary, under secretary, and assistant secretary level.

In particular, I want to highlight Vice President Harris’s trip, where she went to Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia.  In Zambia, she announced the mobilization of more than $8 billion in public and private sector investments in climate and food security, women’s empowerment, and digital inclusion across Africa.

I also want to highlight our work to reform the global governance architecture.  President Biden has been clear that African voices belong at the table in every forum where global challenges are discussed and in every institution where decisions are made.  As you may recall, President Biden last year called for the African Union to become a permanent member of the G20, and in September we proudly welcomed this development.  We’re now advocating for a third seat for the —for Sub-Saharan Africa on the IMF board, and of course we reiterate our call for permanent representation for Africa at the UN Security Council.

My colleague British Robinson will speak to some of our role – our work on supporting two-way trade and investment, but let me just give you a couple of top points on investment.  President Biden met with President Lourenço of Angola last month to talk about some of our historic investments with regards to the infrastructure gap on the (inaudible).  In May 2023, President Biden chose Africa for the first and flagship economic corridor under his signature $600 billion Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, PGII, initiative.  Over the last year, PGII has announced U.S. investments totaling more than $1.5 billion in the Lobito Corridor for transportation, digital access, agriculture, and clean energy infrastructure projects.  And as part of this,  EXIM has authorized $1.2 billion of transactions supporting PGII.  These authorizations include support for U.S. exports for solar projects and bridge infrastructure in Angola and commercial aircraft in Ethiopia.  With these authorizations, EXIM’s exposure for Sub-Saharan Africa has reached a historic high of $8 billion.

Finally, I want to lift up the Digital Transformation with Africa initiative, known as DTA.  This flagship effort to expand digital access in Africa is aligned with the priorities outlined in the African Union’s digital transformation strategy.  Over the last year, we’ve built the organizational structures to oversee and implement DTA that befits its scale and scope.  We’ve launched a senior-level Africa Digital Policy Council to oversee and coordinate work under DTA, and we’ve stood up working groups to drive U.S. Government investment and mobilize private sector partnerships under DTA’s three pillars, centered on digital economy and infrastructure, digital inclusion, and regulatory reform.  Further, Vice President Harris issued a call to action to the private sector when she traveled to the continent, and that goal is to rally private sector interest in supporting DTA.

Our investments this year are sizable.  In 2023, the first year of this initiative, we already have invested $82 million towards the $350 million target.  President Biden – this effort is foundational, and we already have a robust pipeline to more than double that amount in 2024.

Just a couple more key points and then I’m going to hand it over to PDAS Ambassador Jonathan Pratt.  But USTDA has funded 12 digital infrastructure activities across Africa; that has the potential to mobilize over 1 billion in project financing.  We have through the DFC launched the Africa Data Centers’ data center in Ghana and already have the groundbreaking for a new data center in Kenya.  That’s going to be financed under DFC’s $300 million loan facility.  And the – and finally, Vice President Harris in March launched the – Vice President Harris in March launched the Women in Digital Economy Fund to accelerate the closing of the gender gap with $30 million of initial funding from USAID and the Bill and Melinda Gates.

So with that overview, let me hand it over to Jonathan Pratt.

AMBASSADOR PRATT:  Judd, thanks very much for that overview, and this is Jonathan Pratt from the State Department.  Judd, just confirming you finished your remarks.  Shall I jump in with mine?

MR DEVERMONT:  Yes, please, Jonathan.  Go ahead.

AMBASSADOR PRATT:  Wonderful, thank you.  The State Department is – as Judd said from the White House, we’re extremely proud of the impact of the partnerships that we all forged during last December’s successful U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.  On the occasion of the one-year anniversary, I’m going to discuss the actions that the Department of State has taken in coordination with the U.S. interagency towards implementation of summit commitments.

During the summit, the President noted that the United States is all in on Africa, and our department has demonstrated that over the last year.  Secretary Blinken and senior department leadership has traveled to Africa and remained engaged on a variety of pressing issues in Africa, including food security, good governance, and economic development – many of the issues that were discussed during the summit.

Secretary Blinken recently hosted the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki for our annual African Union High-Level Dialogue, which further underscores the critical role of the African Union regionally and globally.  We’re also proud that the Biden-Harris administration’s U.S.-Africa policy approach is undergirded by a spirit of partnership, which is ultimately why we consider the 2022 ALS to be a huge success.

I’d like to talk a little bit now about Ambassador Johnnie Carson and summit implementation.  The Department of State was given the mandate to oversee the implementation of the many commitments that were made during the ALS, the Africa Leaders Summit.  We were incredibly fortunate to have retired Ambassador Johnnie Carson back in the Africa Bureau as the special presidential representative for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit implementation.  Ambassador Carson fulfilled his mandate in November, and we are extremely grateful to him for his service.

While in his role, Ambassador Carson coordinated with the African Union, African governments, civil society, the private sector, and the African diaspora to ensure that the important dialogues that began during the summit will lead to concrete and durable action.  Under his leadership, the Bureau of African Affairs here in the State Department created an Africa Leaders Summit implementation unit under my supervision and Assistant Secretary Molly Phee’s supervision that is responsible for overseeing the execution of the implementation of summit commitments, of course in coordination with the White House.  We encourage you to visit our Africa Leaders Summit webpage on that itemizes implementation updates on a frequent basis and on all of our summit commitments, with links to the work of our Prosper Africa colleagues as well.  Ambassador Carson, as I said, finished his mandate in November, and we’re grateful for everything he did and his leadership.

The department has worked in lockstep with the administration to ensure that we remain committed to working with all African nations and people, and I’d like to close by highlighting two highly impactful summit initiatives that we have launched which we manage from here in the Africa Bureau at the State Department.

The first is the so-called President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement – the acronym we use is PAC-ADE – which was inaugurated and presided over by Vice President Harris, Secretary Blinken, and Senator Coons on October 30th of this year.  Members of the African diaspora in the United States, as you all know, are a tremendous source of strength for America, and we’re excited that for the 12 inaugural members of this advisory council, who will advise the President on strategies to strengthen ties between African communities, the global African diaspora, and the United States, PAC-ADE is managed from here in the State Department within the summit implementation unit.

The second item that I’d like to highlight is the African Democratic and Political Transitions initiative – we – which goes by the acronym ADAPT.  On November 8th, the State Department announced that Guinea will be the pilot country for ADAPT, wherein we will support the people of Guinea in their transition to democratic governance by January 1st, 2025.  ADAPT resources will provide technical assistance for ongoing efforts to draft a new constitution and prepare for free and fair elections, while also laying the groundwork for more effective and inclusive democratic institutions.

We will also continue to focus on issues like food security and climate.  Just this month, Secretary Blinken announced that a – that total U.S. support for the Vision for adopted – Adapted Crops and Soils, which goes by the acronym VACS, this year will be $150 million.  In part, this effort will identify the most important adaptive crops for nutrition in each of the African Union’s five subregions and will assess the anticipated challenges posed to those crops by climate change, and will seek to boost public and private sector investments in crop adaptation through plant breeding and other complementary approaches.

We look forward to continuing to advance all of these commitments that were made at the Africa Leaders Summit, and I would encourage everyone to visit our website to review implementation at  And with that, back to our moderator or to Prosper for the next set of remarks.

MS ROBINSON:  Thank you, PDAS Pratt.  Good day, everyone.  I’m British Robinson and I serve as the Prosper Africa coordinator.  Prosper Africa is a presidential and national security initiative to strengthen the strategic and economic partnership between the U.S. and African countries by catalyzing two-way trade and investment flows.  The U.S. business and investment community is increasingly recognizing Africa’s extraordinary market potential and dynamism.  The continent is home to the world’s youngest population, an asset that creates significant opportunities for viable business deals that create jobs and foster shared prosperity.

Africa is one of the most important and growing sources of new and innovative solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.  Africa is the front line for protecting the world’s biodiversity wealth.  America’s prosperity is tied to Africa’s growth.  From strengthening U.S. supply chains to ensuring long-term security of pension funds and insurance facilities for everyday Americans through higher-yielding investments.

In this past year, the U.S. Government has helped close 547 new deals, for a total estimated value of $14.2 billion in new*-way trade and investment between the United States and African countries.  This represents a 67 percent increase in the number and value of closed deals over 2022.  The results are real.  From these increased investments, supported by 17 Prosper Africa U.S. Government partner agencies, we’ve made tangible impacts on the lives and the livelihoods of people in the U.S. and Africa.

Tomorrow, the White House will release a fact sheet and the one-year anniversary book deal – deal book, which will feature a selection of groundbreaking deals and deal spotlights.  These deals should serve as a source of inspiration for pursuing forward-thinking investments that enhanced shared prosperity between the African continent and the United States.

When Africa prospers, America prospers.  And I’m happy to provide examples and take your questions.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Great.  Thank you very much to all of our speakers.  We will now begin the question-and-answer portion of today’s briefing.

I’d like to just start with a combined question, in fact.  You have all pretty much gone over many of the achievements.  Robert Ndungu from Kenya does ask:  “Can you highlight the major developments and projects arising from the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit?  Any completed projects, and what is the impact to Africans on the ground?”  I could ask maybe if you would like to elaborate further.  I think that was quite well answered.

In addition to that would be from Mr. Ange de la Victoire Dusabemungu from Top Africa News in Rwanda, who asks:  “How does the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs plan to further strengthen its commitment to the African continent, and what specific initiatives or partnerships are being pursued?”  Ambassador Pratt, I think you can perhaps answer that.  And then if Mr. Devermont or Ms. Robinson would like to highlight any other further achievements from the leaders summit before we move forward, that would be appreciated.  Thank you.

AMBASSADOR PRATT:  This is Jonathan Pratt at State.  But just to refer quickly to Judd, do you want to take a stab first, or shall I take it on that?

MR DEVERMONT:  Sure, Jonathan.  Why don’t you go ahead?

AMBASSADOR PRATT:  Okay, great.  Yeah, I would – thanks very much for the question.  I mean, I would refer back to my comments on implementation of the summit commitments and what we’ve done here at the State Department in terms of institutionalizing that.  And in particular, as I have mentioned, we’ve created this unit here within the Africa Bureau for summit implementation, which is the unit that is updating the website that I referenced on a real-time basis of all of the ongoing commitments and what the status of those is.  So I think that’s a fairly tangible demonstration of the follow-up that we’re doing here at the State Department.

You’ll – you may – some of you may be aware that Ambassador Johnnie Carson also recommended a way of institutionalizing the ongoing commitments that we have to the Africa Leaders Summit and how this wasn’t just a once-off occasion, and the fact that we’ll be looking to do further engagements building off of this summit and that it’s not just a one-time event.  So there’s ongoing implementation and the potential for further meetings and summits of that type in the future, which is why we have the ALS unit.

The other major commitment and follow-through action that I’d like to highlight from here at the State Department is the diaspora council that I referenced.  Within our – the unit here, we have an executive director for the diaspora council, and we’re working very closely with the council for their engagements and how they can be connected with the African continent and with the diaspora community here in the U.S. and globally to just strengthen partnerships and relationships and follow up on all the commitments that were made.

So with that, turn to Judd or Prosper if they have additional comments.

MR DEVERMONT:  Thanks, Jonathan.  So I’ll just reiterate a couple of the projects that I think are pretty exemplary and point to a new direction in our policy.  One which I mentioned earlier was the Lobito Port corridor, our investment in an economic corridor, which includes rail, which includes telecommunications, agriculture, from the Port of Lobito in Angola to DRC, to Zambia, and ultimately our hope is to go all the way to the Indian Ocean.  It’s one the largest and first of its kind infrastructure projects we’ve done in Africa, so at the minimum 30 years.  And we’ve put in a billion dollars, almost a billion dollars for our solar investments, $250 million for refurbishing the rail.

But it’s exemplary in the fact that not only is it infrastructure, but the way in which we’re teaming up with partners such as the African Development Bank and the African Finance Corporation and European partners to continue to build, strengthen, and attract capital to that investment.

Another initiative, big project, that I’m pleased with – it’s consistent with the U.S. Africa strategy’s focus on a pivot towards urban hubs – is the largest MCC threshold program ever, with $16 million for transportation and land-use planning in Nairobi.  The continent is going to be 50 percent urban by the end of this decade, and so we are elevating our work on cities and urban environments.

Finally – this isn’t a project, but it’s important to note – we see Africa and the role of Africans in navigating and setting the norms for space as critical.  And so since the summit – excuse me, at the summit both Rwanda and Nigeria signed onto the Artemis Accords.  Angola just signed on November 30th, and there’s a number of investments and engagements that we will be doing for several partners around space and education in the coming months.  So I wanted to flag those three as new approaches, different approaches, that recognize both Africa’s presence, but more importantly the future of African – the African economy and Africa’s role in global priorities.

MS ROBINSON:  Thanks.  I’ll jump in and just add to what my colleagues have mentioned on some examples as well as new approaches.  The first thing is Prosper Africa mobilized $274 million in long-term financing for West Africa’s mortgage and housing market.  It’s a partnership that had never been done before on the continent.  We were able to secure a $100 million guarantee from the DFC, with the Bank of America underwriting the deal.  In essence, we created a mortgage market and a new economy, if you will, for West Africa.  We believe that this market-oriented financing at scale is expected to help over 6,000 households gain access to home ownership in about eight countries in West Africa.  So a concrete example of how ALS is being implemented.

Second, I’ll double-click a bit on what PDAS Pratt mentioned around the diaspora.  The diaspora is a source of strength for us in America, but also in strengthening our relationships between us and the continent.  We know that today there are 47 million Africans diaspora that currently live in the U.S.  They contribute $96 billion in remittances.  I’ll say that again: $96 billion in remittances.

With the diaspora council, we will also be working directly with the diaspora council and bringing them – seeing them as institutional investors and bringing them alongside our mission at institutional investor trips going forward in 2024 and 2025 to actually become investors on the continent, so to move them beyond remittances.  And we look forward to partnering with them going forward in the future.

Also, I want to highlight our colleagues at the Small Business Administration – also visited Cote d’Ivoire and Togo to explore efforts to further expand and connect small- and medium-sized businesses with the Africa diaspora on the continent.

So again, a couple of examples of how we’re moving forward in new and innovative ways.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Pearl Matibe had her hand up for a bit.  We’re going to just read her question; I’m not sure if she got cut off.  She asks – she’s from Premium Times:  “At the conclusion of the Peace, Security, and Governance Forum, a, quote, ‘peaceful and secure Africa’ was specified as a goal.  Specifically what actions have been taken on a holistic approach to counter abuse of power and other drivers of the conflict?  And more importantly, which stakeholders in the U.S. Government have been involved in achieving this?  Please also speak to any challenges you’ve encountered,” or highlight (inaudible) talk about security achievements.  Thank you.

Mr. Devermont, that might be in your —

AMBASSADOR PRATT:  Yeah, this is Jonathan.  But do you want to start, and then I can pick up, or do you prefer —

MR DEVERMONT:  Sure, sure, I’m happy to do it.  I thank Pearl for the question.

I would put it in three bins.  First is our role in addressing conflict in crisis.  And just in the last week are just – are good examples of the role that DNI Haines has been – has played in a 72-hour ceasefire between the DRC and Rwanda.  Assistant Secretary Phee was at – was in Abuja for the ECOWAS summit, trying to address the implications of the coup d’état in Niger.  And our ambassador, or Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Mike Hammer was in Djibouti dealing with – working with IGAD partners on Sudan.  And I think that this has been a throughline throughout our administration, is the singular role that the United States at the invitation of our African partners to help address these issues around coups, conflicts, and crises.

The second bin that I would want to highlight is our focus on fragility and resilience with the strategy to promote civility and prevent conflict.  We are investing particularly in coastal West Africa to address the underlying drivers of conflict and extremism, as well as in Mozambique.  And this new approach, in partnership with Africans, is something that is a big part of what we have been doing before the summit and after the summit.

And finally, we have really elevated our focus on elections and on corruption.  President Biden at the summit met with six African leaders who were having elections in their countries this year.  When we have seen elections that have gone poorly, we’ve issued visa sanctions.  When there have been true breakthroughs, such as the case of Liberia where President Weah peacefully acknowledged that he had lost the election, we have done our level best to applaud the Liberian people for their efforts.  And then finally, we have issued sanctions on corruption and human rights abuses, including atrocities determinations in the case of Sudan.

So I think those are three lines of effort that we have done in this administration on crisis, conflict, and holding people to account when there is an abuse of power.


AMBASSADOR PRATT:  Well, thanks.  I obviously agree with everything you said, and just wanted to further highlight one aspect of it.  Part of the question was what kind of holistic strategy.  And I’d point out that all of the efforts that Judd mentioned on security and peace-building, we have engaged in those processes, whether it’s in Ethiopia, whether it’s Sudan, other locations, Niger.  We’ve done it with African partners and African institutions, and supported their efforts, working hand-in-hand with them, or taking their lead and supporting their efforts.  So obviously, the African Union, the regional bodies known as IGAD for East Africa and ECOWAS for West Africa.  Everything that we have done has supported their own regional diplomacy.  So it’s been nested within a, I think, a very fairly obvious and clearly defined holistic strategy.

Back to you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question we’ll go live to Mouctar Balde, I believe, from Guineenews.  Could you open the line, please, for Mr. Balde. Mr. Balde you are muted.  Can you unmute yourself?  Okay.  We will come back to Mr. Balde  Could we please go to Carol Van Dam Falk from Daily News.  You can open your line.

QUESTION:  Hi, can —

MODERATOR:  You’re muted.  Again, please unmute.

QUESTION:  Hi, I thought I unmuted.  Can you hear me now?  Hello.

MODERATOR:  Yes, we can.  Yes, we can.

QUESTION:  Okay.  I sent in a couple of questions, but basically it’s kind of a piggyback onto the previous question of these conflict countries and how you address investments, which is what I know the summit was about.  But how do you get in there and try to invest in a country where it’s at war with itself?  I mean, with – such as Sudan, where there’s two military commanders who are battling in a ruthless, bloody battle for control of the country.

MS ROBINSON:  Ambassador Pratt, would you like to take that?

MR PRATT:  Yeah, I’m happy to start, and I know Judd will want to fill in as well with his thoughts.  I mean, Judd referenced sanctions that we’ve put in place.  Those sanctions haven’t just been on individuals; they’ve also been on companies and different asset classes.  And so that’s one strategy that we’ve used in conflict countries and locations.

I think there’s also – if you want to give another example of Niger and what our strategy has been there, we’ve been very supporting of the ECOWAS sanctions that have been put in place.  And then to support that effort we have leveraged our own assistance and investments, which we’ve announced very clearly, if the country and the leadership there turns back to a democratic path, we’re willing to explore progressively lifting that freeze in assistance and potential investments.  So a combination of sanctions plus leveraging our engagement and assistance.  Judd, I’m sure, will want to add to that.

MR DEVERMONT:  Sure.  Thanks, Jonathan.  And it’s a very important question because trade investment was a big focus of the summit and continues to be a big focus of what we do, what we have been doing this year.  And I know that British will be able to help explain how the U.S. Government uses its resources to work with potential investors on – in terms of businesses on where we think the best market opportunities are, which is part of this conversation.  The other part of the conversation is not just what we’re doing in specific countries but what we’re doing sort of across the region.

One of the most important initiatives that has come out of the continent in the last couple years has been the Africa free – Continental Free Trade Area.  And we signed an MOU with the AfCFTA at this summit because the goals of the AfCFTA to unite 1.3 billion people in a single market and to trade a nominal GDP that’s larger than India’s is a huge boon.  And in that process, harmonizing regulations, reducing trade and non-trade barriers, that will benefit all countries whether they are experiencing a crisis or not.

We also, at the recent AGOA Forum in South Africa, the President and Secretary Blinken and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai gave their full, devoted support for a renewal of this landmark trade initiative which offers unilateral trade processes for African countries that are eligible.  And that’s another way that I believe that we are increasing opportunities for the various countries that are eligible.

But British, maybe you can say just one or two words about the role that Prosper Africa has in helping guide investment and trade and understanding the market opportunities.

MS ROBINSON:  Thanks, Judd.  Sure.  I think one of the biggest drivers is, first and foremost, is that we are private sector-led with Prosper Africa.  And along with our colleagues at the other – along with the other 17 agencies that are part of this initiative, we really utilized their tools, instruments, and services to drive private sector investments onto the continent.  That can be anything from loan guarantees to first loss for series A, series B to grants that will do pre-studies in order to enable the environment.  The enabling of the environment is just as important as some of the marketing – as some of the market opportunities.

We know, as Judd just mentioned, that the private sector is looking for regional approaches to investing so that even if one country is in the midst of other countries that may be a bit more amenable to investment, that they’re happy to look across what we call supply and value chain.  Particularly as we come out of – we’ve been coming out of COVID, more and more companies, whether they’re in the textile space or they’re in food and ag, are viewing Africa and AfCFTA as will winnable best bets.  And so that helps drive investment towards the common — if they’re only working in one country, but are – have the ability and the capacity to work in other countries.

And so Prosper Africa, with our colleagues at the 17 agencies, are working on various tools and instruments to support enabling those environments, whether it’s through supply chain opportunities or partnering with our colleagues at COMESA or ECOWAS or AfCFTA.  And so that’s just some ways in how we’re supporting private-sector interests across countries and across sectors and across supply and value chains.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  I’m going to return Mr. Mouctar Balde from Guinéenews.  Can you unmute yourself and ask your question, please?  All right.  There seems to be a difficulty with his audio.  So I’ll read you his question: “I want you to give more details about the – sorry – I want you to give more details about the $55 billion commitment for investing in Africa in three years.  You said that 40 percent of this commitment has been made in my understanding.  Can you elaborate a little bit on that?  And can you be more specific and give, if possible, more details on these sectors.”  Thank you.  I believe that was for Mr. Devermont.

MR DEVERMONT:  Sure.  Thank you for that question.  The $55 billion commitment represents the totality of what we intend to do in Africa over the next three years.  And I will say it breaks down in a couple ways.  First of all, it is an investment in the programs that have been so successful in Africa, so increasing the money that we give, and funds for Power Africa and Prosper Africa; for the Young African Leaders Initiative, also known as YALI.

And then a second group of investments are on some of these new initiatives that we announced at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the Digital Transformation with Africa initiative (inaudible) 21PAS, 21st Century Partnership for African Security, which is $100 million, the ADAPT, the African Democratic and African Political Transition initiative, which Jonathan mentioned, which is 75 million.  So a series of these initiatives that are new.

And then finally, we have rolled out major infrastructure programs such as (inaudible), increasing what we do that has been a hallmark of U.S. efforts on the continent, new initiatives, and then efforts to increase infrastructure and working with Africa partners and – with U.S. investors through our credit and our other facilities.  That ultimately expands the pie, and then individual countries who are part of those programs get the benefit of that.

MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.

MS ROBINSON:  I can add to that, on the trade side, to what Judd just mentioned.  As part of that, as well, we have a new Africa Trade Desk which will go live in the early part of 2024, which will aggregate services and leak over 12,000 U.S. retail outlets like Kroger, Walmart to small and medium-sized African suppliers.

We also just launched a new e-wallet payment system, which will allow African suppliers’ funds to transfer internationally in real time, which cuts down their lag time, reducing their lag time from receiving their funds from three to five days to a matter of hours.

And then we’re also implementing, as part and parcel of this, of the ALS’s commitment, more programs like matchmaking with our trade shows, matchmaking U.S. buyers with African suppliers at large trade shows that happen in the U.S. two times a year, the Fancy Foods Show and the MAGIC apparel show.

And so that’s some of the ways that we’re continuing to lean and double-down on our two-way trade and investment so that we’re ultimately more catalytic in our work that benefits Africans and Americans.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.


MODERATOR:  I’d like to take a live question.  We have time for one, possibly two questions, and then we’ll have to wrap it up.

I’d like to ask if Abolaji Omitogun is on the line.  I would like to ask his question live.

QUESTION:  Yes, good morning.  Thank you for this opportunity.  My name is Abolaji Omitogun with TAN TV, African diaspora-focused media platform.  Can you talk a little bit about how organizations interested in engaging and working with the President’s Advisory Council on African diaspora engagements can do so, especially from a strategic partnership level in terms of information dissemination, amplification, and programing?  Thank you.


MR PRATT:  Yes, thank you very much —


MS ROBINSON:  Thank you.


MR PRATT:  — for the question, Abolaji, I really appreciate that.  I will point you to our website on the Africa Leaders Summit, which has a lot of – all of the information about the diaspora council, and our executive director.  And how to contact that executive director is in the website.


So once again, that website is, and so if you go to that website – you just type it into your browser.  And then, within the Africa Summit website, go to diaspora council, and there’s contact information for the executive director.


And I think – I know, because they’re part of my team – they’ll be very eager to provide information about how you can engage with the council or build off of things that they are doing, and how to amplify some of the efforts that we’ve already made.  And we appreciate your help with some of those – that strategic communication.  So thanks very much.


MODERATOR:  Thank you.  We have time for one more question.  We’ll take a live question from Julian Pecquet from the Africa Report in Washington.


Julian, you can go ahead.


QUESTION:  Thanks very much for taking my question.  Can you hear me?


MODERATOR:  Yes, we can.


QUESTION:  Great, great.  I was just hoping you could confirm whether the President himself does plan to visit the continent before the end of the year.  It sounds unlikely.  If that’s not the case, will he do so before the 2024 election, given his expected focus on domestic travel?

And then just more generally, the fact that he’s not visiting apparently this year, as promised, what should the African leaders and people make of that broken promise?  Does the U.S. remain fully committed to deepening ties with the continent?


And can you clarify the President’s recent statement that he’s been to Angola before, and he said, “I will be back”?


Thanks so much.


MR DEVERMONT:  Hey, Julian, thank you for that question.  Look, the President is still very serious about his desire to travel to Africa.  And I don’t have anything to announce today, but we’re certainly continuing our efforts to engage more deeply and meaningfully on the continent.


I mean, this whole conversation today has been about what we have done in the past year.  And so I think our African partners have seen real, concrete outcomes from our work.  Seventeen senior-level visits – real progress.  In fact, over-delivering on the $55 billion commitment to Africa.  The major infrastructure projects for the first time in 30 years, a renewed commitment to trade and investment, as British mentioned earlier.


And then our reform of the global governance architecture.  For the first time, the African Union is part of the G20, they are – our hope is that there will be a third seat for sub-Saharan Africa at the IMF, as well as our commitment to the UN Security Council.


So I think that the President, as I said, is still serious about his desire to travel to Africa.  And over the past year, from the Summit we have had a record-breaking year of engagements, investments, and lifting up African voices in all of the major forums and institutions that govern both today, but more importantly, will govern the future of our international community.


MODERATOR:  Thank you so much.  This has been a great and a very long call, and I want to thank our speakers today:  Judd Devermont, the National Security Council Senior Director for African Affairs; British Robinson, Prosper Africa Coordinator; and Jonathan Pratt, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs.  And thank all of you journalists for participating.


If you have any questions about today’s briefing, you may contact the Africa Regional Media Hub at


Thank you very much.

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U.S. Department of State

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