Strengthen US relationship with Africa – CDD tells Biden
Tiamiyu Saheed Oluwatosin
Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Idayat Hassan, on Friday, advised President Joe Biden to strengthen United States-Africa relationship.
Hassan also called on African leaders to take full responsibility for ameliorating the conflict ravaging the continent.
Hassan made the call at a virtual event: “From Africa to the US: Recommendations for the Biden’s Administration”.
The CDD Director noted that liberal democracy, security, and accountability must be encouraged between America and Africa.
On liberal democracy, Hassan cited eight serving Heads of State who have spent at least twenty years in power in a continent where the average age is about 19 years old.
“90% of African countries now practice democracy, but there are 8 leaders who have stayed in power for more than two decades. But overall, Africa has made progress with more elections and peaceful transitions” Hassan said.
To promote security and democracy, she advocated active engagement with civil society, sanctions against undemocratic regimes and standardized training of military personnel.
For accountability, the Director said the Magnitsky Act was critical in the plan to address human rights violations and corruption across the continent.
Judd Devermont, Program Director, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), highlighted some Biden administration’s actions which are positive for Africa.
Devermont listed the reverse of the travel ban imposed by Donald Trump’s administration, the Paris Climate Agreement rejoin, and Biden’s move to speak directly with the African Union (AU).
Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera, in his keynote address, said the current U.S. government has demonstrated a firm cognizance of the urgency of the moment.
Chakwera noted that the pandemic presents an opportunity for the U.S. and Africa to jointly address systemic inequalities.
“Neither America nor Africa can afford to treat the problems of the other as to having no bearing on the interest, or progress, of the other.
“The Biden administration is in a unique position to leverage its influence at multilateral forums and institutions to ensure that the sovereignty of African states is respected and defended,” the President said.
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