US Strategy towards Sub-Saharan Africa (2022)
Sub-Saharan Africa is critical to advancing our global priorities. It has one of the world’s fastest growing populations, largest free trade areas, most diverse ecosystems, and one of the largest regional voting groups in the United Nations (UN). It is impossible to meet this era’s defining challenges without African contributions and leadership. The region will factor prominently in efforts to: end the COVID-19 pandemic; tackle the climate crisis; reverse the global tide of democratic backsliding; address global food insecurity; strengthen an open and stable international system; shape the rules of the world on vital issues like trade, cyber, and emerging technologies; and confront the threat of terrorism, conflict, and transnational crime.
This strategy reframes the region’s importance to U.S. national security interests. In November 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirmed that “Africa will shape the future— and not just the future of the African people but of the world.” Accordingly, this strategy articulates a new vision for how and with whom we engage, while identifying additional areas of focus. It welcomes and affirms African agency, and seeks to include and elevate African voices in the most consequential global conversations. It calls for developing a deeper bench of partners and more flexible regional architecture to respond to urgent challenges and catalyze economic growth and opportunities. It recognizes the region’s youth as an engine of entrepreneurship and innovation, and it emphasizes the enduring and historical ties between the American and African peoples. And it recasts traditional U.S. policy priorities—democracy and governance, peace and security, trade and investment, and development—as pathways to bolster the region’s ability to solve global problems alongside the United States.
This strategy outlines four objectives to advance U.S. priorities in concert with regional partners in sub-Saharan Africa during the next five years. The United States will leverage all of our diplomatic, development, and defense capabilities, as well as strengthen our trade and commercial ties, focus on digital ecosystems, and rebalance toward urban hubs, to support these objectives:
1. Foster Openness and Open Societies
2. Deliver Democratic and Security Dividends
3. Advance Pandemic Recovery and Economic Opportunity
4. Support Conservation, Climate Adaptation, and a Just Energy Transition
This strategy represents a new approach, emphasizing and elevating the issues that will further embed Africa’s position in shaping our shared future. It resolves to press for the necessary resources and prize innovation in our efforts to strengthen vital partnerships. The United States will both address immediate crises and threats, and seek to connect short-term efforts with the longer-term imperative of bolstering Africa’s capabilities to solve global problems. The strategy’s strength lies in its determination to graduate from policies that inadvertently treat sub- Saharan Africa as a world apart and have struggled to keep pace with the profound transformations across the continent and the world. This strategy calls for change because continuity is insufficient to meet the task ahead.