What has Joe Biden already Done for Africa?

It has exactly been 11 days since Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States after an almost never-ending election.  It’s obviously too soon to wonder what the new president has done for the African continent so far

It has exactly been 11 days since Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States after an almost never-ending election.  It’s obviously too soon to wonder what the new president has done for the African continent so far. We indeed previously hoped for a better cooperation between US and Africa and we are looking forward to seeing some of the claims being materialized by the new administration. Even though he has been in office in less than a month, Joe Biden has already taken key actions that indicate he will renew the links and restore hope and mutual understanding between both parties.

An executive order reversing the Travel ban:

The first actions of the new president in office have really been something rather simple – and roughly of a “Ctrl+Z” type. As a matter of fact, Joe Biden has already taken 30 executive actions in the first three days following the inauguration. He signed more than half (17) of the orders on his first day in office, 11 on the second and 2 on the third one. Also, 10 of the decrees reversed some of Trump’s policies including the most controversial ones: The United States’ withdrawal from the World Health Organization, the state’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, the Trump wall and of course the Travel ban. The latter is the first action pointed towards Africa – though not directly. Among the 13 countries affected mostly by the Travel, six were of African continent (Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania) which is half of the countries on the list. This reversal is a hint indeed that things are on their way to the age of cooperation and mutual respect.

The president has also signed an order dealing with the fight against racism in public institutions. It orders the various federal agencies to assess inequalities in their policies and programs. Adding to the previous decrees, Joe Biden has also announced a bill that will offer young people arrived illegally in the country before their maturity – the “dreamers” – and other people in an irregular situation the possibility of being naturalized.

An African nominated to lead the MCC:

One of the key actions Joe Biden has already taken including Africa has been the appointment of an African as interim leader of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC): the American-Guinean Mahmoud Bah. Established in 2004, MCC is an independent agency of the US government that provides grants and economic assistance to selected countries. Present in around twenty African states (including Morocco), the MCC claims an “innovative” approach to official development assistance. Mahmoud Bah has held various positions within the MCC for over ten years. He notably worked for three years in Ivory Coast as country director; after being appointed Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance, and Chief Financial Officer.

Another notable thing to keep in mind is that Donald Trump’s administration was known for its refusal to genuinely engage in Africa and by its clear disinterest in the continent (a policy that effectively reflects the former president’s behaviour regarding Africa). The arrival of Joe Biden at the White House and these first decisions point to a return of the United States to multilateralism and a more pacific relations with some African countries.

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