This year’s Africa Day takes place against the backdrop of an unprecedented threat to global health and economic security. With the full impacts of COVID-19 on the continent yet to be realized, it’s critical to address the social and economic challenges facing African countries while preserving the hard-won achievements of the last 30 years. The African Union has already employed a coordinated continental response to the COVID-19 crisis and is actively advocating for extraordinary measures based on global solidarity. But how can the continent turn this early leadership into a peaceful and prosperous future for all Africans, both during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond?

On May 27, USIP hosted representatives of the African Union Commission and the African Diplomatic Corps, and other experts to discuss the African Union’s efforts to mobilize the fight against coronavirus while still alleviating threats to human security and international peace. 

Panelists discussed how COVID-19 impacts the continent’s social and economic progress, how this year’s Africa Day theme of “Silencing the Guns, Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development” fits into the current reality, and how the U.S. and Africa can foster a genuine partnership to address shared priorities, concerns, and opportunities during a time of global solidarity.

Speakers

Ambassador Johnnie Carson
Senior Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace

H.E. Serge Mombouli
Ambassador of the Republic of Congo; Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps.

Ambassador Matthew Harrington
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of African Affairs

H.E. Nomaindiya Mfeketo
Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa

Ambassador Frederic Gateretse-Ngoga
Head of the Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division at the African Union Commission

H.E. Sidique Abou-Bakarr Wai
Ambassador of the Republic of Sierra Leone; Co-Chair of the African Ambassadors’ Committee for Public Affairs

Professor Landry Signé
Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Professor and Co-Director, Thunderbird School of Global Management

Susan Stigant, moderator
Director, Africa Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

Vice-Presidential Candidates Lay Out Visions for Colombia’s Future

Vice-Presidential Candidates Lay Out Visions for Colombia’s Future

Thursday, May 19, 2022

By: Anthony Navone

Colombia is on the precipice of historic presidential elections amid a backdrop of significant social unrest, deepening polarization and the escalation of the country’s six-decade old armed conflict. Last year’s nationwide mass protests sprung up over worsening racial and socioeconomic inequality in most of the country’s major urban metropolitan centers, and a heavy-handed police response only served to worsen the crisis.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernancePeace Processes

Lebanon’s Vote and the Prospect of Long-awaited Political Reform

Lebanon’s Vote and the Prospect of Long-awaited Political Reform

Thursday, May 19, 2022

By: Osama Gharizi

On May 15, Lebanon held its first election since mass protests swept the country in October 2019. Trigged by economic crisis and profound frustration with an inept, detached ruling establishment, the protest movement sparked hope that real change to the country’s anachronistic, corrupt political system was in the offing. Fast forward nearly three years, and such promise seems to have been extinguished by the calamitous August 2020 Beirut port explosion, traditional party supporters’ efforts to stifle new opposition movements, and an historic economic collapse.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

U.S.-ASEAN Summit: A Chance to Explore New Steps to Resolve Myanmar’s Conflict

U.S.-ASEAN Summit: A Chance to Explore New Steps to Resolve Myanmar’s Conflict

Thursday, May 12, 2022

By: Priscilla A. Clapp;  Jason Tower

The February 2021 coup in Myanmar, which overthrew an elected government and installed a brutal military dictatorship, has posed an enormous challenge to the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN). The group has split on what — if any — action to take regarding the coup. Meanwhile, the military’s unbridled violence against the country’s citizens failed to suppress an increasingly militarized opposition and the conflict now affects ASEAN states bordering Myanmar and those beyond. As the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit gets underway this week in Washington, Myanmar will not be present, a symbol that the organization — as a whole— does not accept the coup government’s legitimacy. What’s next remains to be seen.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyDemocracy & Governance

Russia’s Ukraine War Weighs Heavily on Tajikistan

Russia’s Ukraine War Weighs Heavily on Tajikistan

Thursday, May 5, 2022

By: Barmak Pazhwak

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has left the five republics of Central Asia in a bind, but none more so than Tajikistan, a fragile country that depends on Russian troops and remittances for stability. As former Soviet republics, Central Asian states all enjoy special relations with Moscow and are considered traditional allies of the Russian Federation. The invasion of Ukraine — another former Soviet republic — raises urgent questions for Tajikistan about how to meet Russian expectations of support from Dushanbe in the face of global outrage and condemnation.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyDemocracy & Governance

View All Publications