Remarks at the 2022 US-Africa business summit "Building Forward Together"
Remarks by Vice President Harris to the 2022 U.S.-Africa Business Summit
As Prepared for Delivery
Greetings from Washington, D.C. I want to thank the Corporate Council on Africa, the Kingdom of Morocco, and His Majesty King Mohammed for hosting the 2022 U.S.-Africa Business Summit. I am honored to participate in this opening ceremony.
President Joe Biden and I recognize the critical importance of strengthening our relationship with countries across Africa. To that end, I will start with some very important news. President Biden and I are looking forward to welcoming leaders from across the African continent to Washington, D.C. from December 13th through the 15th, for the United States-Africa Leaders Summit.
This Summit will demonstrate America’s enduring commitment to our African partners, and it will be based on principles of mutual respect and shared interests and values. And a critical part of this Summit will be to bolster our economic relationship, which brings me to the importance of this gathering of public and private sector leaders in Marrakech.
I believe in the power of public-private —partnerships that bring together the experience and the expertise of the private sector with the mission of government to act for the public good and with the public trust, and the reach and capacity that governments can give, uniquely, to any endeavor.
By working together, we can unleash growth and opportunity that far exceeds what either the public or private sector can achieve on its own. And, as everyone here knows, there is so much opportunity for economic growth –in Africa and, of course, the United States—when we all collaborate and coordinate.
Africa is the world’s fastest-growing continent. By 2030, the continent will have 1.7 billion people, home to one-fifth of the world’s population. The continent is also increasingly young, urban and connected. There is a growing demand for food, healthcare, education, technology, and infrastructure.
Yet, barriers remain: limited access to capital, the high cost of financing, and legal and regulatory bottlenecks. This is on top of the global challenges that I know are felt acutely in Africa, including recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and food insecurity.
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to working with all of you to address these issues, in furtherance of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
With regard to food insecurity, we are focused on the urgent need to increase food production and exports with and within Africa, a challenge made worse by Putin’s war in Ukraine. To this end, since last October, the United States has pledged more than $7 billion in humanitarian and food security assistance across Africa.
More broadly, our Administration’s goal is to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development across the continent, to expand capital flows, and to promote the vibrant spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that is so prevalent across Africa.
I am pleased to see the advances made in implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area and we will work with you to ensure its success.
The United States is committed to bring to bear all the tools at our disposal, including, development financing, grants and technical assistance, and support for legal and regulatory reforms—all to help our African partners thrive.
As part of this, our signature investment initiative in Africa—Prosper Africa—has convened a delegation to be with you in Marrakech. Led by Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO Alice Albright, it includes officials from 10 U.S. government departments and agencies. It also includes a group of investors who collectively manage more than a trillion dollars in assets.
Over the coming days, our delegation will discuss with you a range of issues. This includes work to advance our new global infrastructure initiative, and our work to mobilize hundreds of billions of dollars for high-quality, sustainable infrastructure investment.
It also includes our effort to expand Power Africa, one of our largest public-private partnerships in the world—this work will increase access to electricity, support a just energy transition, and more.
This week’s convening is very important. When everyone is at the table, we are better able to collaborate, coordinate, and identify new opportunities. So, I wish you a productive Summit in Marrakech.
This work will benefit United States-African business ties and diplomatic ties. And most importantly, it will benefit both the people of Africa and the people of the United States.
Remarks by CEO Alice Albright at the Corporate Council for U.S.-Africa Business Summit
I am delighted to be heading the U.S. Delegation to the 14th annual U.S.- Africa Business Summit, where I am joined by senior leaders from across the U.S. Government.
And as the CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), one of the 17 government agencies that contributes to the Prosper Africa Initiative, I am excited to be here in Marrakesh to feature our partnership with the Government of Morocco, and to meet with partners from across the continent.
I would like to extend my thanks to the Corporate Council on Africa and the Government of Morocco for bringing us all together, and all the government and private sector partners who have travelled to Marrakech for this important Summit.
I will have more to say about the work that lies ahead over the next two days, but before I do, I want to introduce a special guest who could not be with us in person, but who wanted to extend her support for and reinforce the importance of this gathering.
Colleagues, it is now my distinct honor to introduce the Vice President of the United States, Vice President Kamala Harris.
[Vice President Kamala Harris Video Remarks]
As Vice President Harris stated, we are all here and invested in creating more pathways to prosperity across the African continent.
Through Prosper Africa – the U.S. Government’s initiative to increase trade and investment, and promote sustainable development across the continent – and our collective efforts, we are strengthening partnerships to ensure people on both sides of the Atlantic have the opportunity to create a better life for their children, their families, and their communities, and to realize their full potential.
Since launching Prosper Africa two years ago, the U.S. Government has supported 800 two-way trade and investment deals in 45 countries in Africa, worth an estimated $50 billion.
Yet, we can, and we must do more.
From the pandemic, to the recovery from its devastating economic impact, to the climate crisis— Africa is essential to our collective progress as we work to tackle the complex challenges of the day.
The Biden-Harris Administration has made deepening our engagement with Africa a priority. The United States is committed to further strengthening our partnerships to foster inclusive and sustainable economic growth and prosperity, expand opportunities for bilateral trade and investment, and promote respect and shared values.
That is why we are continuing to work to build stronger ties with our African partners to catalyze infrastructure investments and public-private partnerships across the African continent.
We will also continue to work to support efforts to accelerate policy and regulatory reforms needed to attract that investment.
The U.S. Government is committed to leveraging the full suite of tools in its toolkit, capitalizing on the unique skills of departments and agencies across our government, many of whom are here today – including MCC, as well as the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the U.S. Africa Development Foundation, the Departments of State, Commerce, and Agriculture, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), the Office of the U.S. Trade
Representative (USTR), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM), as well as Prosper Africa and Power Africa – and harnessing the power of the U.S. private sector toward our shared goals.
At the recent G7 Summit in Germany, leaders formally launched the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) to mobilize hundreds of billions of dollars and deliver quality, sustainable infrastructure that makes a difference in people’s lives around the world.
The United States aims to mobilize $200 billion for PGII over the next five years through grants, financing, and leveraging private sector investments.
Through Prosper Africa, and the work of the departments and agencies represented here today, we will work to deliver on PGII’s promise by catalyzing investment across the African continent.
MCC’s distinct role is to reduce poverty through inclusive and sustainable economic growth. We do this through a partnership based model that pairs large-scale investments in critical infrastructure with policy and institutional reforms that together, will attract private sector investment.
Our commitment is not a new one.
We are building on long-standing partnerships with African partners through which the United States has made significant investments that have helped create 21st century jobs for African youth across the continent, deliver clean water and sanitation to help fight disease, made transportation more efficient through the construction of hundreds of kilometers of roads, improved agricultural yields by bringing irrigation to farmers, and increased access to reliable electricity for households and business.
We have also increased our focus on strengthening resilience to global shocks and working with our African government partners to enhance their capacity to deliver for their people through investments in gender equity as a driver of inclusive growth, climate adaptation and mitigation, infrastructure, and digital technologies that have the potential to transform healthcare, financial services, agribusiness and more.
We all know the impact we can have when governments and the private sector work together to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.
And that is what we are here to do. To build new partnerships and explore new opportunities to work together to address the challenges of the day, and those not yet before us, and to deliver on the promise of creating opportunities for a better life for future generations.
Thank you all again for your continued partnership, and let’s have a wonderful conference.
Announcement by US President Joe Biden on a US-Africa Leaders summit (to be held in December 2022).
I look forward to hosting leaders from across the African continent in Washington, DC on December 13-15, 2022, for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The Summit will demonstrate the United States’ enduring commitment to Africa, and will underscore the importance of U.S.-Africa relations and increased cooperation on shared global priorities.
The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit will build on our shared values to better foster new economic engagement; reinforce the U.S.-Africa commitment to democracy and human rights; mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and of future pandemics; work collaboratively to strengthen regional and global health; promote food security; advance peace and security; respond to the climate crisis; and amplify diaspora ties.
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.