The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. reaffirmed that African leadership is critical to confronting today’s defining global peace, security, and democratic governance challenges. In the Peace, Security, and Governance Forum, Secretary of Defense Austin, Secretary of State Blinken, USAID Administrator Power explored innovative, locally led, inter-ministerial, and multi-sectoral approaches to advancing democracy, peace, and security in the region. Their discussion emphasized that fostering partnerships that are rooted in a mutual learning and collaboration with African nations, institutions, and people is essential to sustainable approaches to security.
The Civil Society Forum, with over 200 participants from a diverse range of civil society organizations, provided a platform to discuss opportunities to increase representation of marginalized voices in policymaking and public affairs, to strengthen efforts to counter corruption, and to promote workers’ rights. The Forum reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to supporting, amplifying, and listening to civil society voices and demonstrated the dividends of accountable and inclusive government.
A balanced and comprehensive whole-of-government approach that includes defense, diplomacy, and development, and integrates African voices, is essential to develop and sustain democracy and advance security. Since the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, the United States has invested and aims to provide more than $6.5 billion to support peace, security, democracy, human rights, and governance in Africa. This includes efforts to develop African partners’ military capabilities; support peacekeeping efforts; advance women, peace and security objectives; increase African institutional capacity; promote gender equality, human rights, and the rule of law; empower civil society; strengthen accountability mechanisms; and support democratic transitions and institutions.
Peace and Security
- 21st Partnership for African Security (21PAS): President Biden announced this new initiative, which will incentivize and bolster African efforts to implement and sustain security sector capacity and reforms. Working with Congress, this $100 million, three-year pilot program, will support U.S. and African partners to coordinate, share, and support solutions to security challenges.
- Civil Society Partnerships for Civilian Security: Working with Congress, the Department of State plans to invest at least $2 million to develop a new initiative that facilitates civil society engagement in the security sector. By facilitating the development of Civil Society Consortiums, the program will amplify civil society voices at the nexus of security, governance, and human rights on the continent.
- Supporting Peace and Stabilization Efforts: The U.S. Government is currently investing $58.5 million through the new Prevention and Stabilization Fund, authorized by the 2019 Global Fragility Act, to enhance partnerships with Mozambique, Libya, and the Coastal West Africa countries of Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, and Togo over the next 10 years. Long-term efforts are focused on promoting reconciliation; encouraging inclusive and sustainable development; improving responsive governance; promoting respect for human rights; strengthening justice systems; and reinforcing resilience in historically marginalized and conflict-affected areas, including countering recruitment by violent extremist organizations.
- Bolstering Peace, Security, Democracy, and Governance in the Sahel: The U.S. Government aims to bolster peace and security as well as democracy, governance, and human rights programming in the Sahel to curb growing instability in the region and address the long-standing crisis of state legitimacy. To support this effort, the United States is investing over $115 million in FY 2022 for economic and development assistance, with a particular focus on democracy and governance programming, and approximately $60 million to support the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership.
- U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS Strategy): The U.S. Government’s WPS Strategy is a cornerstone of the United States’ broader peace and security priorities and investments in Africa. The United States will continue to promote women’s and girls’ empowerment, protection, and leadership in conflict and crisis situations across Africa while prioritizing partnering with governments and regional institutions as a critical approach to support positive change for women and girls. For example, the Supporting Her Empowerment: Women’s Inclusion for New Security (SHE WINS) program supports leadership and sustainability of women-led organizations in addressing peace and security challenges at the community level, in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Peace Enhancement for Community Empowerment through Women Investing in more Secure Environments (PEACE-WISE) program supports women in Niger, Nigeria, and Sudan to play an active role in preventing and mitigating violence and conflict by engaging in the country’s political processes.
- Military and Security Assistance: Through United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), the United States provides security assistance to allies and partners in Africa for military material, equipment, and training. These efforts and programs address, among other things, human rights; women, peace, and security (WPS); maritime security; intelligence capacity; health security; and logistics and maintenance capabilities. The Department of Defense also works with African partners to improve cyber security and secure cyber information sharing through pan-African, multilateral, and bilateral engagements. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USAFRICOM is currently investing nearly $250 million in security assistance resources throughout the continent.
- The U.S. Strategy to Anticipate, Prevent, and Respond to Atrocities: In the first-ever Strategy to Anticipate, Prevent, and Respond to Atrocities, the U.S. Government commits to applying tools from across the government to identify, prevent, and respond to early warning signs of atrocities as a core national security interest. It will also broaden U.S. involvement to engage with our international partners and civil society, including through preventative diplomacy to deter violence, foreign assistance programs that help address underlying grievances and advance reconciliation and transitional justice, and defense support and security cooperation to bolster institutions and promote democracy, transparency, and respect for human rights.
Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights
- African Democratic and Political Transitions (ADAPT): The Biden-Harris Administration’s new ADAPT initiative reaffirms the U.S. commitment to engage with complex political transitions in Africa and demonstrate U.S. Government support to governments and civil society at critical moments. Over three years, the Administration intends to work with Congress to invest $75 million for this initiative to counter democratic backsliding in partnership with regional bodies, governments, and civil society in support of durable political transitions.
- Transform Digital Spaces to Reflect Feminist Democratic Principles (Transform): USAID Administrator Power announced plans to, working with Congress, invest $1.8 million over three years to ensure the inclusion of African countries and organizations in the Transform program. When launched, Transform will support the piloting of practical activities to prevent, respond to, and mitigate the risk of technology-facilitated gender-based violence (TFGBV), including TFGBV perpetrated against women in politics and public life.
- The Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal (PIDR): Announced at the 2021 Summit for Democracy, the PIDR is a landmark set of policy and foreign assistance initiatives totaling more than $400 million that build upon the U.S. Government’s significant, ongoing work to bolster democracy and promote respect for human rights globally. New programs launched under the PIDR include efforts to protect free and independent media, support democratic reformers, and strengthen election processes, including on the African continent. In March 2023, the U.S. Government will co-host the second Summit for Democracy with Zambia, as well as Costa Rica, the Netherlands, and South Korea.
- Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership: On December 7th, the United States and the Government of Cote d’Ivoire signed a CPC partnership that aims to support the Ivoirian government’s work with national stakeholders and civil society organizations to address child sex trafficking and forced child labor.