Biden’s new Africa strategy promises democracy while countering Russia and China

By Julian Pecquet
Posted on Monday, 29 August 2022 10:30, updated on Thursday, 15 September 2022 21:00

Joe Biden addresses a civil society forum during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington
Joe Biden, then US Vice-President, addressing a civil society forum during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington August 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Africa has long played a secondary role in US defence planning, a sideshow theatre characterised mostly by reactive crisis response. No longer, say Biden officials.

The Joe Biden administration has committed to reframing the continent’s importance to American national security interests, embracing Africa’s economic dynamism while vowing to work “by, with and through” African partners to promote civilian-led, non-violent approaches to conflict resolution whenever possible.

The new focus is spelled out in a new National Defense Strategy that the Biden administration shared with Congress back in March.

While the document is classified, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Chidi Blyden summarised its security priorities regarding Africa in 12 July testimony before the US Senate.

These include: