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U.S.-Africa Summit - US Commitments

President Biden announced (December 15) at its “African Summit” that the United States will make $55 billion worth of investments towards advancing “the priorities we share” with African countries, and also to support the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Agenda 2063 claims to be a blueprint and master plan for “transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future.” It is a strategic framework that says it aims to deliver inclusive and sustainable development, and that it reflects a “pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance."

The President suggested that investments will go towards people, infrastructure, agriculture, health system, security, “and more.” Among other things, commitments include $20 billion in health programs, $15 billion trade deals, and $1.1 billion for efforts to fight climate change.

The President also announced a $100 million, 3-year, pilot program to support U.S. and African partners to coordinate, share, and support solutions to security challenges; he committed that the United States will lead a global effort to pursue debt relief; and, the President said that he will ask the Congress for authority to lend $21 billion to the International Monetary Fund for lending to low- and middle-income African countries.

The President also announced his endorsement of the African Union joining the Group of 20 (G20), a global forum for major economies, and reiterated a prior proposal from September that Africa have a presence on the United Nations Security Council

(posted: 12-15-22)


Emergency Food Assistance for Africa

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced (July 18th) emergency food assistance to horn of Africa countries – Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. An estimated $1.2 billion in food assistance will be sent to meet “immediate needs.” The U.S. recently committed to $507 million in assistance, and therefore food aid to the region will now total $1.7 billion.

USAID says some of the food assistance will include staples like sorghum and split peas, and enriched cooking oil that can help sustain those who lack access to food. About $200 million will be used for Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic Food (RUTF) which the agency claims is the “the largest commitment that has ever been made to treat severely malnourished children.”

Another $200 million will be sent to UNICEF to “maximize the procurement of RUTFs,” and distribute them to the areas that most need them.

(updated: 7-19-22)


International Fishing Trade and Malnutrition Study

A new study (led by Professor Christina Hicks of Lancaster University and published by the National Academy of Sciences) is bringing to light how the global trade of international fishing may be contributing to global malnutrition. The study finds that foreign fishing fleets and international trade contribute substantially to broad-scale redistribution of fish from the waters of the countries where they are caught and away from where the people who likely need fish for nutrition the most.

The study estimated that while 60% of countries receive net gains in nutrition from the fishing trade (with France, Japan, Italy, and Nigeria gaining the most), about one-third of nations are net losers, including significant net exporters of fish – China and Russia. Net losers also include more resilient countries such as Norway and the United Kingdom, but the nations most affected by nutrient loss are less developed, small island states such as Papua New Guinea and Guyana, as well as African countries such as Namibia and the Maldives.

Fish are an important source of bioavailable micronutrients and essential fatty acids, often providing a greater concentration and diversity of such nutrients than animal-based food on land. Ultimately, the study finds that there is a current lack of understanding of how international trade and foreign fishing affect the distribution of nutrients, and that policymakers need to “harmonize fisheries, health and trade policies to ensure nutrients reach people vulnerable to undernutrition…[and that]…decision-makers must consider nutrients 

derived from fisheries as a key resource that needs protection.”

(updated: 5-24-22)


US Troops in Somalia

The Biden Administration announced (May 16, 2022) that the United States will re-establish limited military support of the African Union in its efforts to counter terrorist threats in the country primarily from al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda affiliate. The African Union updated its longstanding mission in support of Somali security in April, and the Union was attacked by al-Shabab earlier this month. The Washington Post reported (May 17, 2022) that the Africa Center for Strategic Studies estimates that al-Shabab attacks rose by 17 percent in 2021 from the prior year, anthat the trend this year is another 71 percent increase.

Somalia recently succeeded in its presidential elections process, and the United States is eager to ensure more permanent stability in the country and also help the African Union improve its success in countering threats. The Defense Department says the U.S. will return to having a “small, persistent U.S. military presence” in Somalia.

The size of the force will be less than 500, which is down from a level of 750 that were present when the Trump Administration removed troops in January 2021. The Department says that forces will be used for “training, advising and equipping partner forces to give them the tools that they need to disrupt, degrade and monitor al-Shabab,"  and that they will not be directly engaged in combat operations.

(updated: 5-17-22)


China Military Base Aspirations in Northern Africa

In testimony before the House Armed Service Committee (March 17, 2022) U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, Commander of the U.S. Africa Command, expressed concern about China’s efforts to secure a military base in Western Africa. He says that China has “made the most progress” with Equatorial Guinea. He testified that in response, the U.S. recently sent an interagency delegation to the country to discuss U.S. security concerns, and that as a “first priority” we need to prevent or deter Chinese military capacity on the Atlantic coast of Africa.

(updated: 3-21-22)


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Proposed Refugee Admissions for FY 2022
Proposed Refugee Admissions for FY 2022

This is the Biden Administration's annual Proposed Refugee Admissions Report for FY 2022. The report provides that the  Administration is raising the cap on refugee admissions from  62,500 in FY 2021 to 125,000 in FY 2022.

Status: updates on the number of refugees admitted into the United States during FY 2022 will be available in the spring of 2022.

Kunming Declaration (COP 15 - Biological Diversity)
Kunming Declaration (COP 15 - Biological Diversity)

This is a declaration that is an outcome of the 15th meeting of participating countries of the UN Convention of Biological Diversity (i.e., COP 15). The key outcome of the meeting and this declaration is that participants have committed to develop and implement an effective biodiversity framework "to reverse the current loss of biodiversity and ensure that biodiversity is put on a path to recovery by 2030 at the latest."

Status: the declaration was approved on October 13, 2021.


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