From the U.S.’s Power Africa initiative—through which $27 billion in government and private sector financing has been committed to improve electricity generation in sub-Saharan Africa—to the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, where over $14 billion in new commercial deals were signed between African heads of government and U.S. business leaders, President Obama’s second term has signaled a vast expansion of U.S.-Africa engagement, with a particular emphasis on trade and investment. In his Foresight Africa article, Brookings Nonresident Fellow Witney Schneidman argues that to secure a positive legacy in Africa President Obama will need to continue to elevate African issues within the U.S. foreign policy agenda and establish clear political and economic partnerships with African nations to address the region’s foremost security and development challenges. Through key initiatives, such as Power Africa, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and many others, President Obama has already taken concrete steps towards achieving these goals. However, the U.S.-Africa agenda still needs sustained attention through the end of Obama’s term in 2016 in order to consolidate these mutual gains.
Schneidman recommends that the Obama administration focus on championing strategic pieces of legislation that will enhance U.S.-Africa commercial relations, such as working to pass the Energize Africa Act and to extend and update AGOA, which is up for renewal in 2015. Fostering trilateral cooperation with Africa and China, convening a U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in sub-Saharan Africa and establishing a bipartisan framework for strengthening commercial ties could also help deepen U.S.-African relations in the long term.
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Foresight Africa 2015
, which details the top priorities for Africa in the coming year, to learn more about U.S.-Africa engagement throughout Obama’s presidency as well as other critical issues for the region.