President Biden is planning a multi-country trip to Africa next year, with an announcement expected to be made at the US Africa summit, two sources familiar with the plans told Axios.
Why it matters: U.S. officials want the summit to be a mixture of substance and symbolism. The Biden administration hopes that announcing a presidential visit to sub Saharan Africa will send a clear signal that the U.S. is serious about deepening ties to the continent.
The big picture: With representatives from 49 African countries visiting Washington, the White House is using the pageantry of a summit to convince leaders that Africa is a priority — and move relations beyond the security concerns, humanitarian crises, and human rights abuses that have dominated in the past.
Biden will also highlight his support for an African seat on the UN Security Council, and announce that he wants the African Union to join the G20 as a permanent member, according to U.S. officials. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden would announce $55 billion in initiatives over the next three years during the summit.
The White House declined to comment on Biden’s specific travel plans, though Sullivan told reporters earlier that there will be an announcement about a “broad-based commitment” by administration officials to travel to the continent in 2023.
Between the lines: Any presidential trip to Africa will set off jockeying among countries, looking to host a high-level guest as a validation of their policies and a signal to investors.
Team Biden will have to weigh regional rivalries, as well as security concerns, before finalizing the itinerary.
Credit: Mark-Anthony Johnson