The US-Africa Leaders’ Summit: A Step Forward for Relations?

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Following the success of our last show — “America in Africa: Genuine Partners or Neocolonialism?” — we will focus more on the upcoming US-Africa Leaders’ Summit. Will this high-profile gathering of heads of state represent the start of a new era for relations? Or will it simply be a box-ticking exercise for the U.S. administration and a case of “same old, same old”?

Featuring individuals close to the US policy world, African leaders, and expert discussants, this show will cover the big questions. What is really different about the new US policy towards Africa and its 54 distinct countries? What do African leaders hope to achieve at the summit? How will President Biden manage the contradiction between his rhetorical support for democracy and the reality of inviting so many authoritarian leaders to the White House? And will America step up its investment in Africa to balance out China and Russia?

Julian Pecquet is a veteran journalist who has covered U.S.-Africa relations extensively, including in the run-up to this month’s summit. He is currently the Washington and United Nations correspondent for The Africa Report and Jeune Afrique. He is also the founder of Foreign Lobby Report, which tracked Washington’s $500 million-a-year foreign influence industry.Follow on Twitter

Tendai Biti is the former Finance Minister of Zimbabwe, a position he held from 2009 to 2013, during the country’s ill-fated Government of National Unity. His tenure was globally lauded for stabilizing the Zimbabwean economy, normalizing relations with multilateral institutions, and for spearheading critical legislative reforms. He is a highly accomplished constitutional lawyer and today serves as an elected Member of Parliament for Harare East Constituency.Follow on Twitter

Dr. Nancy Okail is an Egyptian-American scholar and activist. She is the President and CEO of the Center for International Policy, a Washington-based organization that focuses on US foreign policy to ensure a more just and peaceful world. Previously known as “Defendant No. 34,” Nancy was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison for her work following Egypt’s January 2011 revolution that ousted long-ruling dictator Hosni Mubarak. Previously, she was the executive director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP).Follow on Twitter

Ambassador Makila James is currently a senior advisor within the Africa Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), an independent institution devoted to the prevention of deadly conflict worldwide. Prior to joining USIP, Amb. James led a distinguished career in the foreign service that spanned three decades, building a reputation as a strong diplomat and a trusted ally of human rights defenders. She served in many leadership positions, including as deputy assistant secretary for East Africa and The Sudans as well as the Ambassador to Eswatini from 2012-2015.

Phumzile Van Damme is former Member of Parliament in South Africa, first elected at age 31, who quickly rose through the leadership ranks, serving as National Assembly Whip and national spokesperson for the Democratic Alliance. She is an alumnus of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program and has been lauded for her innovative and recent work on electoral disinformation, including by Vital Voices, which awarded her their Global Leadership Award in 2022.Follow on Twitter

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