2021 is a year of hope and promise as we embrace new leadership here in the United States and collaborate with our African partners on economic recovery from the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, I intend to regularly share with all of CCA’s members and stakeholders my thoughts on the news highlights and significant events that will set the path for a stronger and better U.S.-Africa trade, investment, and business relationship.
Everyone who understands the value of the U.S.-Africa relationship and embraces the vision for more robust U.S.-Africa trade, investment, and business ties should be much encouraged, as I am, by recent positive news and events.
When President Biden recently addressed the African Union Summit virtually, he made it clear that his administration will work with African nations as partners, stating “The United States stands ready to be your partner, in solidarity, support, and mutual respect. We believe in the nations of Africa, in the continent-wide spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation. And though the challenges are great, there is no doubt that our nations, our people, and the African Union are up to this task.”Senate confirmation today of Linda Thomas Greenfield as the new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations holds promise for a strong U.S. partnership with Africa on a range of global issues.
In another gesture of support, the Biden Administration reversed the stance of the previous administration to back Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Director-General for the World Trade Organization. Eminently qualified, she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge as she broke new ground last week by becoming the first African and the first woman to head the WTO.
You can hear in this video encouraging words on how she plans to lead the organization. As I recall my first days in the U.S. government in the early 1980s working in USTR’s “Office of GATT Affairs” – yes even before the GATT transitioned to the WTO – I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to see an incredibly competent African woman leading an organization whose largest regional group is African and at a time when cooperation on multilateral trade can make a difference in how all nations recover economically from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On COVID, it was great to learn that the African Union has secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and that the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) on behalf of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has opened up a pre-ordering program for all African Union Member States. Please also join me in congratulating the African Union on implementing at its recent Summit the policy of ensuring gender equity in its leadership structure. The AU has broken the gender barrier with its first female Deputy Chairperson Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa of Rwanda, who also brings tremendous experience to her new role.
On many fronts, we see the vision and plans for a stronger, more resilient Africa, for a better and enhanced U.S. relationship with our African partners, and for collaboration by U.S. and African governments and the private sectors on both sides of the Atlantic.
Stay tuned for more of the highlights I hope to share.