US-Africa summit invites Zimbabwe in from the cold

By Julian Pecquet
Posted on Monday, 19 September 2022 16:50

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa attends the swearing-in ceremony for Kenya's new president William Ruto, at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

The Joe Biden administration will use its upcoming Africa summit to try to chart a new path forward with Zimbabwe after almost two decades of sanctions against the late President Robert Mugabe and his successor.

The US government sent out formal invitations for its 13 – 15 December US-Africa Leaders Summit this past week. Only governments that don’t have diplomatic relations with the US (Eritrea, Western Sahara) or have been suspended by the African Union (Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Sudan) weren’t invited.

In a marked departure from President Barack Obama’s original 2014 summit, the Biden team asked the government of Zimbabwe to join as the US presses President Emmerson Mnangagwa to abandon the authoritarian ways of his predecessor. The invitation however went to Foreign Minister Frederick Shava, as Mnangagwa remains under US sanctions, accused of undermining democratic processes in the country.