Africa has one of the fastest growing Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets in the world. Yet even still, the continent has its fair share of infrastructure, power, and technology challenges. So in the past, economic commitments and partnerships from large geo-political partners like China and Russia have become increasingly important for African countries to stabilize their economies.
Now United States is transitioning to become a more vocal and meaningful partner in Africa's economic success. In late March 2023, United States Vice President Kamala Harris completed a historic trip to Africa (Ghana, Tanzania, & Zambia), where she focused on a message of investment and empowerment. This visit continues the trend of a noticeable shift in United States policy in relation to African countries, which began with President Biden’s second ever U.S. - Africa Leaders Summit that happened in December 2022.
The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit was the first specific outcome of President Biden’s U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa. This Summit brought together 44 African heads of state and resulted in several specific technology related commitments.
Here is a quick summary of the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit's commitments:
$55 Billion pledge to support the African Union Agenda
Creation of a new Transformation with Africa (DTA) Initiative
President Biden’s endorsement for the inclusion of the African Union (AU) as a permanent member of the G-20
$15.7 billion worth of private sector investments and partnerships reported by Prosper Africa during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
U.S. signed a memorandum of understanding to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), signaling a predominant focus on shifting from “aid to trade.
Vice President Kamala Harris visited three countries, Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia, and delivered remarks to highlight partnership opportunities with each of them. Despite skepticism of US intention’s, at every stop she was warmly embraced. In Ghana, she spoke about supporting Ghana through its debt crisis and leveraging the large Ghanian-American community in the United States. She also hosted a star-studded state banquet at the Ghanaian presidential palace known as the Jubilee House, where Black American celebrities, activists, and business people gathered. Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, one of dozens of slave forts in West Africa where millions of enslaved Africans were imprisoned and loaded onto ships en route to America.
“The horror of what happened here must always be remembered,” she said from the fort as the sun set over the water. “It cannot be denied. It must be taught. History must be learned.”, said Vice President Kamala Harris.
This critical confrontation of the painful past between the United States and Africa, has laid the foundation for a hopeful future. During Harris’s speech at Black Star Independence Gate she spoke about a new era of partnership, and “a future that is propelled by African innovation.” Other areas of focus in Ghana included a focus on youth entrepreneurship and the empowerment of women for full participation across their economic, political, and social lives.
New $500 million memorandum of understanding between the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) and the government of Tanzania to help U.S. companies export goods to Tanzania
Partnership in 5G technology and cybersecurity,
Plan by LifeZone Metals to open a new mineral processing plant in Tanzania to produce battery grade nickel for electric vehicle batteries.
However, President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s most important request of the United States, was to “improve the visa process” between the US and Tanzania for trade and tourism purposes.
In Zambia, Vice President Harris met with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema and publicly spoke about the U.S.'s plans to help support Zambia in restructuring its $15 Billion of debt. V.P. Harris also announced a range of private-and public-sector commitments, covering anti-corruption efforts, economic and democratic reforms, agriculture.
In conclusion, the trip was a significant and well-received event of historic importance. The initiatives discussed this year will most likely result in economic success for both the United States and several African countries. Given the pace of Africa's growing cryptocurrency markets, the US's involvement in building critical tech and power infrastructure will be vital for Africa's cryptocurrency industry to thrive in the long-term.