U.S.-African Leaders Summit 2022

📅 13 – 15 December 2022
Washington D.C., USA

Heads of state and leaders from across the African continent will from 13 to 15 December 2022, converge in Washington D.C., within the context of the United States – Africa Leaders’ Summit hosted by President Joseph R. BIDEN, President of the United States of America. Facilitated by the African Union Mission to the U.S, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), is expected to lead a powerful delegation to Washington to take part in this important summit.

According to the organizers, the summit aims to serve as a demonstration of the Biden administration’s commitment to the African continent and provide a forum for new joint initiatives between the United States and countries in Africa. According to senior White House officials, approximately 50 heads of state and senior government officials from African countries are expected to attend the summit.

Worth recalling that, the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit was held in 2014, under President Obama’s administration, announcing and engaging new private sector commitments to invest and partner with African countries on initiatives in energy, financial services, climate change, food security, and health care, among other areas. This year’s summit is expected to prioritize similar issues while placing an even greater emphasis on bilateral trade and investment initiatives.

The summit will include new initiatives to increase U.S. engagement with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as well as initiatives to boost the continent’s recovery from COVID-19, bolster food security, and promote investment in infrastructure, health, and renewable energy projects, among other priorities. The forum will also include interactions with civil society, multilateral meetings between President Biden and African Heads of state, secretary and cabinet-level meetings for trade, energy, and diplomacy, and a collection of industry-focused meetings under the purviews of the U.S.-Africa Business Forum.

The Biden administration is also expected to reiterate the need for African governments to address democracy and human rights concerns. According to a Statement issued by the White House on 20 July 2022, President Biden said:

“ I look forward to working with African governments, civil society, diaspora communities across the United States, and the private sector to continue strengthening our shared vision for the future of U.S.-Africa relations”.

The US President added that the Summit will demonstrate the United States’ enduring commitment to Africa and will underscore the importance of U.S.-Africa relations and increased cooperation on shared global priorities. the U.S.- Africa Leaders Summit will build on shared values to better foster new economic engagement; reinforce the commitment to democracy, human rights, and civil society; mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and of future pandemics; work collaboratively to strengthen regional and global health; promote food security; advance peace and security; respond to the climate crisis; amplify diaspora ties and promote education and youth leadership.

Africa will shape the future — not just the future of the African people, but of the world. Africa will make a difference in tackling the most urgent challenges and seizing the opportunities the world is facing.

Activities during the summit will include Civil Society Day scheduled to take place on 13 December 2022. This will include the following:

  • African and Diaspora Young Leaders Forum – This forum will elevate the diaspora engagement to strengthen the dialogue between U.S. officials and the diaspora in the United States and provide a platform for young African and diaspora leaders.
  • African Growth and Opportunity Act Ministerial Meeting – the ministerial will be hosted by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai with Sub-Saharan African trade ministers and senior officials.

Furthermore, a Business Day scheduled for 14 December 2022 will comprise the U.S.-Africa Business Forum (USABF), hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Corporate Council on Africa, in partnership with the Prosper Africa initiative. The USABF will focus on advancing a two-way trade and investment partnership that bolsters Africa’s role in the global economy, scale innovation and entrepreneurship, and drive advancements in key sectors. The USABF will also include “Deal Rooms” that will showcase commitments made by U.S. companies investing in and partnering with Africa.

Meanwhile, a Leaders Day has been scheduled for the 15 of December 2022. The Leaders Day will feature government meetings and events for the visiting country delegations.

On the other hand, there will also be different side events held by think tanks and associations, featuring key African government leaders and thematic issues of interest. Additional details about the summit and events surrounding it will be communicated subsequently.

Tourism rebound at risk as global crises take their toll

A post-pandemic recovery in tourism risks faltering as the global economy loses momentum amid the energy shock triggered by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, high inflation and weakened household purchasing power, according to a new OECD report.

OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2022 says many countries saw a strong rebound in tourism in 2022 on the back of pent-up demand, household savings and travel vouchers. However, international tourism is now not expected to recover until 2024 or 2025, or even later.

After six decades of consistent growth, the sector was dealt a huge blow by COVID-19. International tourism came to a near complete halt at the height of the pandemic, which accounted for 77c of every USD 1 of lost revenue in service exports in OECD countries in 2020. With domestic tourism also constrained, tourism’s direct contribution to GDP fell by 1.9 percentage points in OECD countries with available data.

COVID-19 highlighted the vital role tourism plays in global, national and local economies, says the report. Before the pandemic, tourism directly contributed 4.4% of GDP and 6.9% of employment, and tourism generated 20.5% of service-related exports on average in OECD countries.

The latest evidence indicates that tourism has performed above expectations in many countries. International tourist flows in July 2022 were just 19.9% below July 2019 levels across reporting OECD countries, although there were marked variations across regions. Arrivals in Denmark, Greece, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain exceeded 2019 levels but in countries bordering Russia and Ukraine, tourist numbers were at least 30% below pre-pandemic levels in July 2022. In OECD countries in the Asia Pacific region, tourist arrivals were at least 40% lower than in 2019.

“The pandemic exposed underlying weaknesses in the wider tourism economy,” OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann said. “Fallout from Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is now threatening the sector’s recovery. The challenge for governments and businesses is not only to boost tourism in the short-term but to also ensure the sector’s longer-term strength and sustainability.”

Tourism businesses, already struggling to recover from the pandemic, are now also facing rising energy, food and other input costs. The sector faces huge uncertainty regarding labour and skills shortages which further risk constraining recovery. Restoring safe mobility is also required to bring back traveller confidence and tourism demand.

To support recovery and to transform the tourism sector, policy action is needed to:

  • Strengthen collaboration across government, and with the private sector, to support recovery and shape a brighter future for tourism. For example, the United States National Travel and Tourism Strategy 2022 draws on engagement and capabilities from across the Federal Government and will be implemented under the leadership of the Tourism Policy Council and in partnership with the private sector.
  • Secure a robust and stable tourism sector that is more resilient to future shocks – the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis have underlined vulnerabilities in the sector and the need to build the capacity of government and business to react and adapt quickly, develop tailored destination management approaches and promote a business environment where SMEs can succeed. For example, Chile Supports Tourism 2022 Programme is designed to finance training, business planning, consultancy, technical assistance, working capital and/or investment projects to support the reactivation of tourism SMEs.
  • Take sustained and transformative action to promote a green tourism recovery. For example, Norway has developed the CO2RISM calculator to estimate the amount of transport-related CO2 emissions associated with visitors travelling to and within Norway and is one of several operational tools to support destinations’ shift to more sustainable tourism planning and development under the National Tourism Strategy 2030.