Cape Town — President Joe Biden has struck a new tone in U.S.-Africa relations, recording a video message which promotes a “shared vision” of more trade and investment, peace and security for all Africans, a commitment to democratic institutions, and the promotion of human rights for all, including women and girls and the gay community.
In a message sent to participants in the African Union Summit, being held virtually, the U.S. president also called for more investment in global health and defeating Covid-19, and pledged to partner with the AU’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (African CDC).
On climate change, he stressed the importance of ensuring that developing nations can mitigate and adapt to its impact.
The sending of a personal message and its contents mark a sharp divergence from the approach of former president Donald Trump.
Biden said the U.S. wanted to partner with Africa “in solidarity, support, and mutual respect.” He added: “We believe in the nations of Africa, in the continent-wide spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation.”
The transcript of a message from President Biden to participants in the African Union Summit:
I’m honored to send the best wishes of the people of the United States in advance of the 34th African Union Summit.
This past year has shown us how interconnected our world is and how our fates are bound up together. That’s why my administration is committing to rebuilding our partnership around the world and re-engaging the international institutions like the African Union.
We must all work together to advance our shared vision of a better future; a future of growing trade and investment that advances prosperity for all our nations; a future that advances lives and peace and security for all our citizens; a future committed to investing in our democratic institutions and promoting the human rights of all people: women and girls, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, and people of every ethnic background, religion, and heritage.
To reach this future, we also must confront the serious challenges we face. That includes investing more in global health, defeating Covid-19 and working to prevent, detect and respond to future health crises, and partnering with the African CDC and other institutions to advance health security.
Raising our climate ambitions, and ensuring developing nations can mitigate and adapt to climate impacts that are already causing pain. and engaging in sustained diplomacy in connection with the African Union, to address conflicts that are costing lives all across the African continent.
None of this is going to be easy, but the United States stands ready now 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 through the challenges ahead, although there is no doubt that our nations, our people, the African Union — we’re up to this task. I hope I can be with you next time in person. I want to thank you, though. Thank you may God bless you all.