by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – THE new United States (US) government is mending relations that were strained with Africa under the previous administration of Donald Trump.
The revival of relations would entail an expansion of economic, social and political ties with the natural resource richest continent in the world.
Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, is leading the drive on behalf of President Joe Biden, who was recently sworn-in as the 46th American head of state.
Blinken has in recent days called the African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor.
Ned Price, the US Department of State spokesperson, confirmed the talks.
Blinken and Faki discussed the US-AU partnership to strengthen democratic institutions, further lasting peace and security, propel economic growth, trade and investment.
The dialogue also focused on the promotion of health security, particularly in the context of the coronavirus.
“Secretary Blinken congratulated Chairperson Faki on pandemic response efforts by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and on the commencement of trading under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area,” Price stated.
Blinken and Pandor discussed the two counties’ desire to expand the US-South Africa trade and investment relationship and to cooperate on global and regional issues in Africa.
The pair also discussed multilateral COVID-19 vaccination efforts and future engagement on climate change.
South Africa is US’ largest trading partner in the African continent.
Relations between US and Africa were tense under Trump. After his election in 2017, he opposed international trade agreements and sought to reduce US funding for international organisations in Africa.
Trump left office without visiting the continent.
US-Africa trade fell to $41 billion in 2018, down from a high of $100 billion in 2008.
– CAJ News