Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen’s recent 10-day trip to Africa kicks off a year of sustained, high-level U.S. engagement, aimed at demonstrating that the Biden administration is “all in on Africa, and all in with Africa” following December’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. With trips from the president, vice president, and other cabinet secretaries in the works, this “super-charged” U.S. diplomacy is moving beyond the typical secretary of state visits. A close look at some of the issues encountered by Yellen on her trip demonstrates that showing up on the continent may be the easy part of going all in with Africa.
Lorsque le dirigeant tchadien Mahamat Idriss Déby a annoncé en octobre que la période de transition du pays serait prolongée de 24 mois, les manifestants sont sortis dans les rues pour protester et ont été confrontés à une violente répression des forces de sécurité tchadiennes. Lorsque les choses se sont calmées, les autorités tchadiennes ont d'abord révélé que 50 personnes avaient été tuées, mais les groupes d'opposition et observateurs indépendants avancent un chiffre beaucoup plus élevé.
When Chadian leader Mahamat Idriss Déby announced in October that the country’s transition period would be extended another 24 months, demonstrators took to the streets in protest, where they were met with violent repression from Chadian security forces. As the dust settled, Chadian authorities initially disclosed 50 people had been killed — but opposition groups and independent observers claim a much higher figure.
The Congo Basin rainforests, the world’s second largest, form the planet’s single greatest “carbon sink,” absorbing the atmospheric carbon dioxide that is overheating our planet. Yet this crucial front line against climate change is threatened by illegal and industrial logging, mining, oil and gas concessions and ongoing warfare in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). To save the rich and unique ecosystems of the Congo Basin forests, policies are needed to stop destructive resource exploitation and ongoing violence. This includes devising more effective, holistic approaches to upholding conservation laws in national parks and other protected areas.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says he expects a credible election to choose his successor in just 10 weeks. A credible, publicly accepted result and a peaceful transfer of power could help consolidate democracy in Africa’s most populous country following democratic setbacks in the region, notably seven coups in 26 months in the Sahel and West Africa. Buhari, first elected in 2015, is completing his second term in office, the constitutional maximum, and is to hand power to his elected successor in May — an extension of democracy that Buhari has said he wants to ensure as part of his legacy to the country.
The countries of Coastal West Africa are currently facing significant challenges to peace and security as extremist violence spills over from the neighboring Sahel region. Attacks in 2022 in the northern parts of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and Togo illustrate the immediacy and gravity of the threat, and governments across the subregion are grappling with protecting fragile communities in the north, addressing porous borders that facilitate attacks from neighboring states, and building the capacity of security forces to address the threat.
America needs strong partners in meeting this century’s accelerating challenges: climate change, human migrations, pandemics, tech revolutions and threats to democracy. A vital new partner, the U.S. administration has rightly declared, must be a rising geostrategic actor: Africa. Next week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit will test America’s readiness to move from visionary declarations to concrete work. The key step, little noted in American public discussion, is for the United States to invest in Africa’s own 21st century development plan. This summit should send Americans and Africans home with “to-do” lists and a schedule to shape the first joint projects under that plan.
The Biden administration has a full agenda planned for African heads of state arriving for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington next week. While much of the summit will focus on economic development, peace and security challenges exist throughout Africa. One area where concerted leadership on both fronts could make a real difference is in northern Mozambique, where an African-led regional intervention has helped to stem — but not quell — an insurgency that has ravaged Mozambique’s resource-rich Cabo Delgado province.
The U.S. government has identified stability in Coastal West Africa as a foreign policy priority, engaging five countries in particular — Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, and Togo — through its Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability, which was adopted in December 2021. The strategy reflects the U.S. government’s consideration of the five countries as strategic focal points in the fight against transnational terrorism and violent extremism emanating from the neighboring Sahel region.
The eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been the site of decades of conflict between the Congolese army and nonstate armed groups. The region’s conflict dynamics are profoundly affected by the combatants’ exploitation of and illegal trade in natural resources. Drawing lessons from eastern DRC, this report argues that the environmental peacebuilding field needs to do more to understand how armed actors shape resource governance and resource-related conflict, which in turn can lead to better-designed peacebuilding programs and interventions.