US Leads Technology Investment In Africa At Biden Summit

US Leads Technology Investment In Africa At Biden Summit

President Joe Biden on Wednesday called for a long-term partnership with Africa based on trade and good governance as US companies invest billions of dollars in a continent where China is a major player.

At a meeting of 49 African leaders in Washington, Biden avoided mentioning China, but said the United States would take a different approach.

Barack Obama

"When Africa succeeds, the United States succeeds. The rest of the world succeeds," he said.

The Biden administration pledged more than $55 billion in aid during the three-day summit and on Wednesday praised American and African companies that pledged more than $15 billion in trade deals.

Biden told leaders that good governance is critical to business, not interfering with countries like China where it invests.

"The core values ​​that unite our people – all our people, especially our youth – are freedom, opportunity, transparency and good governance," Biden emphasized.

"Africa's economic transformation depends on good governance, healthy populations and secure and affordable energy," he said.

Biden announced a $100 million clean energy aid package, and the White House announced an additional $800 million in public and private funding for Africa's digital development.

China has surpassed the US in investment in Africa over the past decade, largely in high-profile infrastructure projects backed by more than $120 billion in loans since the turn of the century.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned African leaders on Tuesday that China and Russia were "staging" the continent, saying Beijing's mega deals lacked transparency.

Investing in technology

In one of the company's biggest announcements, credit card maker Visa said it would grow digital payments to $1 billion in Africa, with China leading the way globally.

Sibas and partner Sibas said they will invest $858 million to support cybersecurity through 10 agreements across Africa to address vulnerabilities that hinder online development.

ABD Group has announced that it will allocate $500 million from Ivory Coast to use cloud technology in data centers that can work with major US technology companies.

Technology leader Microsoft says it will use satellites to provide Internet access to about 10 million people, half of them in Africa, in a bid to bridge the digital divide that has left the continent behind.

The project will prioritize internet access in parts of Egypt, Senegal and Angola where there is no internet access due to highly unreliable electricity.

Microsoft president Brad Smith said he appreciates the company's engineers in Nairobi and Lagos.

"There is no lack of talent, but there is a huge lack of opportunity," Smith told AFP in Africa.

– Create a level to help –

China is turning the continent into a geopolitical battleground, rejecting US accusations that it has set up a "debt trap" in Africa.

The United States has aligned much of its infrastructure aid with democratic standards.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has signed a $504 million contract with Benin and Niger for projects in countries that meet basic good governance standards under the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

The deal aims to link the port of Cotonou in Benin with Niger's capital, Niamey, and the United States estimates the benefits for 1.6 million people.

"For a long time, we considered it our natural port," said Niger's president, Mohammed Bazoum.

They praised the cooperation with the United States and promised "institutional reform" to support trade.

Blinken said in a slim report to China that the deal "will not burden the government with debt."

"The projects will bear the hallmarks of American partnership. They will be transparent. They will be of high quality. They will be accountable to the people they intend to serve," said Blinken.

Blinken later met with Tunisian President Kais Saeed and called for free elections, which were widely criticized this weekend.

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Trade, investment and development are the main topics discussed at the US-Africa summit.

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