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U.S. Assistant Secretary Molly Phee Addresses Key African Issues in Virtual Press Briefing

Tinashe Mupasiri



WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a virtual press briefing held at the State Department’s Brussels Media Hub, U.S. Assistant Secretary Molly Phee discussed various aspects of U.S. policy towards Africa, emphasizing the recent visit of Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the continent.

Ambassador Molly Phee, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

The briefing, which took place on the record, touched upon crucial topics such as the shift in U.S. policy from delivering assistance to genuine partnership activities with African nations. Assistant Secretary Phee highlighted Secretary Blinken’s visit to Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Angola, stating that it provided a valuable opportunity to witness the impact of U.S. programs and engage with partners on their ambitions and concerns.

Phee emphasized the commitment of President Biden and Secretary Blinken to elevate African voices in international forums, noting President Biden’s advocacy for a permanent African seat on the UN Security Council. She also mentioned efforts to ensure that international financial institutions better reflect the voices of the 21st century, with a focus on African leadership roles.

The Assistant Secretary provided insights into the discussions during Secretary Blinken’s visit, emphasizing a move towards genuine partnership, particularly in addressing shared challenges related to food security, health security, and physical security. She also underlined the importance of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and the engagement with African partners on various fronts, including health, digital economy, and global norms for the responsible use of technology.

During the Q&A session, Assistant Secretary Phee responded to inquiries from journalists. Topics included U.S. efforts to minimize civilian harm in Nigeria, developments in the Sahel and Coastal West Africa region, the situation in Sudan, and concerns about the recognition of Somaliland as an independent state. Phee also addressed questions on Guinea, Ethiopia’s naval base agreement with Somaliland, and Italy’s Mattei plan for cooperation with Africa.

In response to concerns about governance in ECOWAS member states, particularly in Guinea, Phee highlighted ongoing efforts to engage with various stakeholders in Guinea, supporting the country’s transition towards democracy.

The Assistant Secretary expressed optimism about the collaboration between the U.S. and African tech sectors, citing the visit to the headquarters of 21st Century Technologies in Lagos during Secretary Blinken’s visit.

As the briefing concluded, Phee emphasized the importance of engaging with African journalists and promoting a dialogue on issues critical to the continent’s development.

The State Department will share audio recordings and transcripts of the briefing with participating journalists, encouraging ongoing communication and feedback.

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