Africa: Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield During a Press Conference at the U.S.-Africa Business Summit

Dallas, Texas — AS DELIVERED

Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to this press conference. On behalf of the entire Biden-Harris administration, I’m really thrilled to be here at the U.S.-Africa Business Summit, to be here among my colleagues. I will try to keep my remarks brief before turning it over to each of my colleagues to share their deliverables and what comes next in more detail.

You know, the first summit was held 16 years ago, which probably means it was happening while I was in Africa. I’d just started my tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia and in the face of real challenges – including global recession – but there was a tremendous amount of hope, and I would engage on the planning for the Summit and with others for the Summit to help it come to fruition.

There was a lot of hope – as I said, hope that in the years to come there would be increased trade and investment; that Africa would become even more of a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation. And I don’t need to tell any of you that getting there hasn’t been without challenges. Over the last 16 years we’ve seen democratic backsliding; we’ve seen epidemics that pushed public health to the brink; the negative impact of climate change and conflict and even COVID on agriculture and food security; and a population boom that infrastructure and the economy haven’t fully kept pace with. But we’ve also seen a tremendous amount of innovation and resilience, and we’ve seen the ties between the United States and Africa continue to grow stronger.

As demonstrated by the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the Biden-Harris administration has made partnership with the continent a cornerstone of our economic and diplomatic strategy.

And so, in the last year and a half alone, we’ve supported and helped close to 547 new deals, for a total estimated value of over $14 billion. We’ve helped increase digital infrastructure, transportation, and clean energy projects across the continent. We’ve worked to increase our engagement with the African diaspora. And it was interesting seeing that. As we talk about the diaspora, I remember many years ago meeting with members of the diaspora, trying to figure out how we could work together, and now we have an actual council, a diaspora group that we can work with.