Within the last two weeks, top American and Chinese officials completed major trips to Sub-Saharan Africa. In classic Chinese style, Premier Li signed a laundry list of commercial deals and bilateral agreements across four countries.
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The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the Electrify Africa Act later tonight. This legislation would increase the US government’s efforts to promote reliable and affordable electricity for the roughly 600 million Africans that currently live without it. It aims to mobilize all US development tools, ranging from technical assistance grants to risk insurance to long-term debt financing for private investors.
This past weekend, Secretary Kerry delivered what was billed as a major address on US-Africa policy and a scene setter for President Obama’s Africa Summit in August. Kerry traveled throughout the region over the last week, making stops in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. As the list of countries suggest, the trip focused heavily on security hotspots. However, the so-called ‘Commitment to Africa’ speech was his big opportunity to reach beyond current crises and outline his broader vision for US engagement in the region. So, did he hit the right notes?