Bipartisan Coalition Leads Charge to Strengthen Partnerships with African Nations

November 16, 2020 by Sean Trambley
A local resident holds her child as a Mozambican nurse explains contraception methods and sexual education during an health point gathering organised by the United Nations Fund for Population activities in partnership with the Mozambican Health Department to address early motherhood and child marriage on July 4, 2018 in Massininca on the outskirts of Nacala, Nampula Province, Mozambique.(Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON – Reps. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., Anthony G. Brown, D-Md., Austin Scott, R-Ga., and Richard Hudson, R-N.C., have introduced the Africa Foreign Relations, International Cooperation, and Assistance Act, H.R. 8186, to enhance security and economic partnerships between the United States and African countries.  

The bill requires the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to submit a report on the groundwork necessary to strengthen these critical alliances and relationships.

“Our security and economic relationships in Africa must foster democratic and developmental advancement,” said Rep. Panetta. “The AFRICA Act is a positive step in ensuring continued, mutual support. I am glad to lead on this legislation so that US-Africa engagement supports prosperity, democratic values, and humanitarian priorities.”

The 2017 United States National Security Strategy recognized the strategic importance of democratizing the rapidly growing African continent. African countries represent approximately 16% of the global population and 60% of the population under the age of 25. By 2050, Africa is expected to have more than half of the global population.  

As this region enters a new period, United States partnership and engagement with African countries will help defend peace and security, advance economic prosperity, and promote respect for fundamental human rights.

“Global stability, American security and economic opportunity require us to be engaged with our allies and partners in Africa. The AFRICA Act is a starting point toward stronger, more mutually beneficial relationships on the continent,” said Rep. Brown. “I’ve seen firsthand the aspirational progress being made toward a more democratic, economically prosperous and secure Africa. Through increased engagement we will continue to foster these bonds.” 

“I am proud to join my colleagues on the AFRICA Act because it will expand DOD’s theater security cooperation efforts across the entire continent of Africa. I have had the opportunity to visit several countries in Africa on multiple occasions to see firsthand how the men and women of the U.S. military are working to support and expand our partnerships. The good work they have done over the years to foster security must not be squandered by allowing U.S. adversaries like Communist China and Russia, who are bent on stealing the natural resources of the continent, to gain a foothold in the region,” said Rep. Scott.

The AFRICA Act was included in the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act passed by the House of Representatives. The cosponsors urge inclusion of the bill in the final conference report.  

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