The United States has told African countries that the U.S will not interfere with their engagement with any other countries of the world.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made this known on Friday in Abuja, during a speech at the ECOWAS headquarters where he said many countries across the region are wary of the strings that come with more engagement, and fear that in a world of sharper rivalries among major powers, countries will be forced to choose.
“I want to be clear – the United States doesn’t want to partnerships with other countries. We want to make your partnerships with us even stronger. We don’t want to make you choose. We want to give you choices. Together, we can deliver real benefits to our people, on the issues that matter most to them,” Blinken said..
The Secretary of State noted that the African continent plays a major role in addressing issues affecting the globe. “The United States knows that, on most of the urgent challenges and opportunities we face, Africa will make the difference. We can’t achieve our goals around the world – whether that’s ending the COVID-19 pandemic, building a strong and inclusive global economy, combating the climate crisis, or revitalizing democracy and defending human rights – without the leadership of African governments, institutions, and citizens.
“Countries like Nigeria are not just global leaders, they are increasingly prominent around the world beyond this region, and they’re deserving of a prominent seat wherever the most consequential issues are discussed. Institutions like the African Union, ECOWAS, SADC, IGAD should play a larger role – and they should have a greater voice in global debates.
“The United States firmly believes that it’s time to stop treating Africa as a subject of geopolitics – and start treating it as the major geopolitical player it has become. The facts speak for themselves. This is a continent of young people – energized, innovative, hungry for jobs and opportunity,” he said.
Blinken predicted that by next 50 years, the African continent will become the third largest continent. While Nigeria, he said, will surpass the United States in population.
“By 2025, more than half the population of Africa will be under age 25. By the year 2050, one in four people on Earth will be African. And Nigeria will surpass the United States as the third most populous country in the world.
“Africa is poised to become one of the world’s most important economic regions. When the 54-country African Continental Free Trade Area is fully implemented, it will comprise the fifth-largest economic bloc in the world, representing a huge source of jobs, consumers, innovation, and power to shape the global economy.
“As we work to end the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen global health security, we must work closely with the countries of Africa to build public health systems here that can prevent, detect, and respond to future emergencies – because as these past two years have taught us, none of us are completely protected unless all of us are protected.
“As the urgency of the climate crisis grows, our focus will increasingly be on Africa – to solve an emergency that threatens our collective security, our economies, and our health. Here, where the potential for renewable energy is greater than anywhere else on the planet, we see not only the stakes of this crisis but also – also its solutions.
“At this moment of testing for democracy around the world, we see across Africa a microcosm of what democracies can achieve – as well as the challenges that they must overcome. And as we debate how to govern the use of technologies to ensure they strengthen democracies – not undermine them – the choices that governments, industries, and innovators make here will affect people’s rights and freedoms everywhere for a long time to come.
“For all these reasons and more, I believe Africa will shape the future – and not just the future of the African people but of the world. That’s why I’m here this week, visiting three countries that are democracies, engines of economic growth, climate leaders, drivers of innovation. We’ve just come from Kenya, where we announced a new initiative to help more people get vaccinated against COVID-19; committed for the first time to join negotiations on a global agreement to combat ocean plastic pollution; and launched a project with National Geographic to empower young people across Africa fighting against the climate crisis,” Blinken said.
He spoke on the effort of the US to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic; The United States is making good on our commitment to provide COVID vaccines to the world. This week, we hit a new milestone: 250 million doses delivered worldwide. By next spring, that number will be well over 1 billion donated doses. We’ve also announced that we’ll significantly ramp up our vaccine manufacturing capacity, to meet global need. We’ve provided more than 50 million doses to 43 African countries, and more are on the way – all of this – all of this with no political strings attached. We’ve given more than $1.9 billion in COVID-related assistance, for urgent needs like emergency food and other humanitarian support. And the new public-private partnership, the Global COVID Corps, will connect American businesses with countries that need logistical help with the so-called “last mile” – turning vaccine doses into actual shots in arms.