U.S. President Biden announces summit with African leaders in mid-December

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 15: U.S. President Joe Biden announces new economic sanctions against the Russia government from the East Room of the White House on April 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden announced sanctions against 32 companies and individuals that are aimed at choking off lending to the Russian government and in response to the 2020 hacking operation that breached American government agencies and some of the nation’s largest companies. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced that he will bring together leaders from across the African continent for a major summit in December in Washington to discuss pressing challenges from food security to climate change.

“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,” Biden said in a statement.

The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, scheduled for Dec. 13-15, was announced simultaneously in virtual remarks by Vice President Kamala Harris to the U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Marrakech hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa and the kingdom of Morocco and attended by a U.S. delegation.

A senior administration official, discussing the U.S.-Africa summit plans on condition of anonymity, said about 50 African leaders are expected to join Biden for the Dec. 13-15 series of meetings.

It will come at the end of a year when Biden has engaged other regions of the world with trips to visit U.S. allies in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Biden has yet to visit Africa since becoming president, and the summit will be his most comprehensive look at the complexities of the continent.

Biden said the summit will work toward new economic engagement, promote democracy and human rights, advance peace and security, and address challenges such as food security and climate change as well as the pandemic.

The president believes that U.S. collaboration with leaders from African governments, civil society, the private sector and the African diaspora will help tackle some of the challenges, the official said.