The President of the United States, Joe Biden, announced on Tuesday (26) the first members of the Advisory Council for Engagement with the African Diaspora. The list includes renowned actress Viola Davis, who will advise the government on strategies to strengthen ties with African communities.
The United States has sought to highlight the importance of the region and face the challenges presented by China and Russia, which have growing influence and interests in the area. Plans for the creation of this council were announced by Washington in December last year during the US-Africa Leaders Summit, which aimed to deepen ties with the region.
The council will aim to advise the president on various issues, including strengthening relations between African communities and the United States, promoting trade and investment, as well as fostering educational exchanges, among other topics, as explained by Judd Devermont, senior director of the National Security Council for African Affairs, in a press conference. The president of the council will be Silvester Beaman, the bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church who led the blessing at Biden’s inauguration in 2021.
Additionally, Viola Davis recently won a Grammy for her audio recording of her memoir “Finding Me,” placing her in the select group of EGOT winners, comprised of those who have received an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award. The White House highlighted in a press release that Davis is a “revered artist, activist, producer and philanthropist” and that she has collaborated on several programs to combat childhood hunger in the United States. The United States seeks to establish a stronger partnership with African countries, while China expands its influence by financing infrastructure projects on the continent and in other parts of the world. Russia, for its part, has stepped up its presence in Africa since its first summit with the continent in 2019, increasing its efforts to gain influence and business opportunities, especially considering the continued activity of the Wagner mercenary group.