A CONVERSATION WITH JUDD DEVERMONT, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES - On February 16, the Africa Center hosted Special Assistant to the US President and National Security Council Senior Director for African Affairs, Judd Devermont, for a conversation on the next steps in US-Africa relations. After years of stagnation, the Biden administration made significant promises to the continent at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in December. It seems to be making a concerted effort to engage the continent with a new strategy towards Sub-Saharan Africa, which includes new commitments for engagement in the coming year, support for the African Union to join the Group of 20 (G20), and backing for reforming the Bretton Woods Institutions.
Recent trips to Africa by US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and the US Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and promised upcoming trips by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Vice President Kamala Harris, and President Biden, help demonstrate that the US is serious about its commitments. The political context within the African Union is also changing since December with the election of the Chair, President Assoumani of Comoros, at the 36th AU summit in February.
At the event – his first public appearance following his new appointment and the summit in December – Devermont took the opportunity to point to signs of progress on the Biden administration’s commitments from the summit; he also laid out broader US objectives for engagement with the continent. The discussion was moderated by Africa Center Senior Director Amb. Rama Yade, and included Africa Center Senior fellows Dr. Michael Shurkin, Abdoul Salam Bello, Jacqueline Muna Musiitwa, in addition to Eurasia Center Assistant Director Andrew D’Anieri.
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 02/16/23