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US-Africa Business Summit: Chance to offset China’s influence?

By Julian Pecquet

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Posted on July 26, 2021 21:08

U.S. President Joe Biden talks with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa
U.S. President Joe Biden talks with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa as they arrive for a working session during G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, June 12, 2021. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS

The new US administration is looking to turn the page on Donald Trump’s disdainful attitude to Africa even as it doubles down on the former president’s signature African initiative this week at the first US-Africa gathering in the Joe Biden era.

Political and business leaders from across the continent will be mingling virtually with their US counterparts from Tuesday 27 July to Thursday 29 July at the US-Africa Business Summit organised by the Corporate Council on Africa. The theme for this year’s event is ‘New Pathways to a Stronger US-Africa Economic Partnership’.

The online gathering is a chance for US officials to elaborate on what Biden promised in his February address to the African Union: that this would be a partnership rooted in “mutual respect” in tackling global challenges from the Covid-19 epidemic to climate change. Largely unmentioned, but never far from mind, is the goal of countering growing Chinese influence on the continent.

Top US officials slated to address the event include Gina Raimondo (Commerce Secretary); Katherine Tai (US Trade Representative); Linda Thomas-Greenfield (US Ambassador to the UN), Samanth

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