During a three-day conference at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington D.C., a meeting of the minds took place during a youth summit with multiple discussions on the diaspora and youth.
Michigan Chronicle Staff Writer and Real Times Media Writer Sherri Kolade ventured to the nation’s capital for a three-day U.S.-African Leaders Summit, December 13-15. The Summit took place just five minutes from the White House, and addressed food security, economic and technological advancements, and mobilizing youth among many other topics. This three-part series will cover high-level aspects of the summit that hosted 49 African leaders and many U.S. state officials and leaders including President Joe Biden.
It’s no secret that the future of Africa is as bright as it is ready to move the needle north in making inequities cease in the second-largest continent of the world.
Addressing these needs doesn’t happen in a vacuum, however.
During a multi-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Tuesday, December 13- Thursday, December 15 in Washington D.C., the heavily-sought after summit addressed security and stability needs for the burgeoning continent and the Diaspora.
President Joe Biden invited 49 African countries and the African Union to attend the Summit December 13-15 in the nation’s capital with many of the summit’s events live-streamed at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
Biden said during that summit that as vice president, serving with then-President Barack Obama, their administration hosted the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, including U.S.-Africa Business Forum in 2014 and this year’s event is a long time in the making.
“The African diaspora community is one of America’s most diverse communities, inclusive of people who speak multiple languages, come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, and practice various faiths,” their administration said. “While unique on some fronts, culturally, people of African descent also share similar values: supporting their families, creating opportunities for their communities, and contributing to America’s growth and prosperity.”
That prosperity looks like the United States sharing its commitment to reducing inequities in access to quality health services in Africa through coordinated health workforce investments.
Despite bearing 25% of the world’s illness load and experiencing more than 100 medical emergencies annually, just 4% of the world’s health workforce is currently located in Africa. By 2030, Africa would require 5.3 million additional health professionals to fulfill the necessary Sustainable Development Goals.
In response to this issue, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) declared at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit that the U.S. government would align its investments with national needs through the Global Health Worker Initiative of the Biden-Harris Administration and strategically collaborate with African and international partners to close the health workforce gap in Africa.
The African Union, the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are just a few of the regional stakeholders whose actions and aims this U.S. commitment supports. These programs reflect our common health goals as well as the wide range of functions and requirements of the health workforce, such as preventative services, healthcare services, and emergency preparedness and response.
Other improvements to the continent includes a new digital transformation initiative with Congress support to invest over $350 million and facilitate over $450 million in financing for Africa in line with the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy and the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa. This will promote opportunity, advance social equality and gender equality, and create jobs.
Robert Scott, deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs, told the Michigan Chronicle that the summit brings a “synergy” of ideas flowing between leaders, hundreds of CEOs, and others for a meeting of the minds that are actualizing what the future of Africa could really look like.
“Obviously America benefits as well,” he said adding that there is a “two-way intellectual trade” happening with some of the summit events including trading and deals taking place primarily benefitting African commerce and African initiatives. “I think we need to have good governance, justice, and economic development, and my team and I worked for six months to pull this event together. … We’re hugely excited to have these people that this is taking place and we can build on this for months and years to come for the things coming out of this. To continue to build on what we created here at this summit.”
Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist talks about the needs of Africa, the diaspora, and Michigan.
Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist told the Michigan Chronicle in a phone interview that with a large African diaspora population it’s equally important for the state to support Africans and African Americans.
“We (have) a very rich history here in the state of Michigan and Detroit and in Grand Rapids in particular of many people from different parts of Africa coming and doing very well seeking out opportunity in Michigan and building intercontinental businesses,” Gilchrist said. “That’s something we want to continue to see and support here in Michigan.”
Gilchrist added that the Summit is a great way to “accelerate” support for Africa and the Diaspora.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses Africa and the diaspora in Michigan.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer agrees and said diversity is a “huge strength” for the state.
“Michigan continues to be a welcoming place where all people have a path to success,” she said. “So much of what we’re doing and will continue to be a kind of the north star with this administration.”
Cameroonian-based Serge Espoir Matomba, CEO of For You Medias outlet talks Africa’s future.
Cameroonian-based Serge Espoir Matomba, CEO of For You Medias outlet, also a social justice advocate, told the Michigan Chronicle that “the future is Africa.”
“I hope that this Summit will bring more means to Africa,” Matomba said adding that he is looking forward to the diligent African leaders to bring forth a true metamorphosis. “Now we go forward with (this) transformation that will bring more jobs, development.”