Digital Press Briefing on U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment through Prosper Africa

Listen to or download the audio file here. 

Moderator:  Good afternoon to everyone from the U.S. Department of State’s Africa Regional Media Hub.  I would like to welcome our participants from across the continent and thank all of you for taking part in this discussion.  Today, we are very pleased to be joined by the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Africa at the National Security Council Ms. Dana L. Banks.  Ms. Banks will discuss how the U.S. Government is working to increase U.S.-Africa trade and investment through Prosper Africa.  This press briefing comes as the Corporate Council on Africa’s U.S.- Africa Business Summit 2021 takes place virtually, with Prosper Africa as a sponsor of the event.

We will begin today’s call with opening remarks from Ms. Banks; then we will turn to your questions.  We will try to get to as many of them as we can during the time that we have.

At any time during the briefing if you’d like to ask a question live, please indicate that by clicking on the “raise hand” button and then typing your name, media outlet, and location into the “questions and answers” tab.

Alternatively, you can type your full question directly into the Q&A for me to read to our speakers.  Again, please include your name, media outlet and location when you do so.  If you would like to join the conversation on Twitter, please use hashtag #AFHubPress and follow us on Twitter @AfricaMediaHub.

As a reminder, today’s briefing is on the record, and with that, I will turn it over to Dana L. Banks.

Ms. Banks:  Thank you so much, Marissa, and it’s really a pleasure to be here with you today, with the Media Hub, and with journalists from across the continent.  As someone who has spent the bulk of her career in government service either working on the continent or working on African issues from Washington, it is a real pleasure and honor to serve the administration in this capacity here at this time for the Biden-Harris administration at the National Security Council.

So I’ll just start briefly with a few remarks and, as you stated, then we’ll take questions.  Happy to take questions.

This past year has really shown us how interconnected our world is and how our fates are bound together.  This is why President Biden is committed to rebuilding our partnerships around the world.  We must all work together to advance – to advance our shared vision of a better future.  Africa is a pivotal moment in its trajectory.  The next decade will determine which path Africa takes.  President Biden believes that Africa’s many dynamic and fast-growing economies and populations can and should mean a bright future for the continent – one featuring inclusive growth, sustainable development, enhanced health security, democratic progress, and the rule of law.

The United States stands ready to partner with African nations as well as its vibrant civil society and young leaders to achieve this future.  Our commitment to achieving Africa’s potential also means working with African nations to combat the threats posed by violent extremism, by climate change, and undue foreign influence.  And as we pursue our shared affirmative agenda, we also – we will also work with African leaders to address conflicts and humanitarian crises that are costing lives around the continent.  And as President Biden said in the opening weeks of this administration, the United States stands ready to partner with Africa in solidarity, in support, and in mutual respect.

And so I would like to just mention briefly about Prosper Africa and what was announced this week, and then we’ll turn it over for questions.

So yesterday, the administration kicked off our Prosper Africa Build Together Campaign at the Corporate Council on Africa’s U.S.-Africa Business Summit.  In light of this, the President has requested $80 million in additional funding resources to jumpstart this campaign.  The campaign is a targeted effort to elevate and energize the United States commitment to trade and investment with countries across the African continent under the Biden-Harris administration.  And our goal is to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa by connecting U.S. and African businesses and investors with tangible deal opportunities.  And how will we get this done?  So, a few concrete ways in which we will seek to do this.  And consistent with the commitment made by President Biden through the Build Back Better World, or B3W Partnership at the G7, we will accomplish these goals by identifying and promoting new opportunities for U.S. and African businesses, investors, and workers that increase trade and mobilize private capital to fuel economic growth and job creation, with a focus on key sectors and the green economy.

For example, the U.S. Development Finance Corporation, or DFC, committed nearly $2 billion in financing for projects in Africa in the first half of Fiscal Year 2021 and aims to close another $500 million or more by the end of the fiscal year.  Meanwhile, the Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a cooperative agreement with the West African Power Pool and an MOU with the governments of Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire, which will facilitate opportunities for increased U.S. trade and investment in the energy sector in the West Africa region.  There are also several other agreements and initiatives involving USAID, the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and other agencies, with the goal of making it easier for U.S. businesses in key sectors critical for Africa’s economic growth to invest on the continent.

Lastly, we will provide targeted support to small and medium-sized businesses with a specific focus on the African diaspora and their businesses and investors across the United States.

So with that, I will gladly turn it over for questions and happy to expound further on some of – any of those points I’ve just raised.

Moderator:  Well, thank you, Ms. Banks.  We will now begin the question and answer portion of today’s call.  For those asking questions, please indicate if you would like to ask a question and then type in your name, location, and affiliation into the “questions and answers” tab.  We ask that you limit yourself to one question related to the topic of today’s briefing: how the U.S. Government is working to increase U.S.-Africa trade and investment through Prosper Africa.

Those of you who are asking questions in language – in French or Portuguese, you may type those questions into the Q&A and we’ll make sure that those questions are translated for our speaker.

Our first question, we’ll go to questions sent to us, the first one being from Mr. Peter Fabricius of Daily Maverick out of South Africa.  Oh, we’re going to go live to Peter.  Let’s go live to Peter Fabricius.  Okay.  Peter, you may ask your question live.

Question:  Hi.  Thanks, Marissa.  Thank you, Ms. Banks, too, for briefing us.  Yeah, I just want – my question is really just to ask whether you believe, as the U.S., that the incidents in South Africa in the last couple of weeks of quite massive rioting and looting and so on will impact on business confidence from the U.S. in South Africa, and possibly either cause U.S. companies to disinvest or discourage new companies from investing?  Thank you.

Ms. Banks:  Thank you, Peter, and it’s good to hear your voice this morning.  Look, we – I think we were definitely concerned by the recent protests and subsequent rioting and looting in South Africa, but we are also encouraged at the way that South Africans have pulled together in the wake of that to rebuild the country and how President Ramaphosa has marshaled the resources of the government, also of the private sector, to help companies build back and to help individuals who were affected by the looting.  And I think that for Prosper Africa, which is an initiative of 17 U.S. Government departments and agencies, each bringing their own skills and expertise to the initiative to strengthen what they do to the benefit of American investors and key sectors on the continent, I think that it’s important – even more so now, in the light of this, and unfortunately South Africa is not alone; there are – there’s instability and other concerns across the continent in various sectors and markets where investors are looking to invest, and that’s why it’s even more important that we have experts on the ground who can help advise our companies and businesses about the investment climate.  And we will continue to do that.

I think American investors are intrepid and they are looking for new markets and they absolutely realize that Africa is the fastest-growing and potentially the most profitable markets for them to invest.  So that is what we will continue to do as the U.S. Government: advise, provide context and the like to ensure that there are good, sound investments in key sectors across the continent.

Moderator:  Thank you.  Next we’ll go to Simon Ateba.  Mr. Ateba, please ask your question and identify your outlet.

Question:  Good.  Thank you for taking my question.  This is Simon Ateba with Today News Africa in Washington, D.C.  And thank you for doing this.  President Biden and his administration are dead serious about competing and confronting China in Africa.  Can you talk a little bit about how the new commitment made at the U.S.-Africa Business Summit will help the U.S. counter China in Africa as far as trade is concerned?  Thank you.

Ms. Banks:  Sure.  Thank you, Simon.  Thanks for that question.  Look, I think that we are – the United States is interested in investing and increasing investment in Africa for the basic, sound potential and possibilities that exist on the continent.  The way we do trade and investment is quite different from other countries, and particularly in China that you mentioned.  And we – the reason why we are re-envisioning or have re-envisioned Prosper Africa is because we see it as a genuine partnership based on a commitment to shared prosperity.  And that is how the United States does foreign policy; it’s in line and consistent with our goals and with our beliefs as Americans.

Africa’s increasing integration into global markets, the demographic boom, and of course the thriving culture of entrepreneurship presents a remarkable opportunity for us to strengthen those economic ties and promote new opportunities for both U.S. and African businesses to fuel economic growth and job creation and greater U.S. participation in Africa’s future.  So that is really our goal in this.

Obviously, the Build Back Better World initiative is one that will play on more of the infrastructure type of deals and engagements in terms of health infrastructure and actual hard infrastructure in countries, digital infrastructure, things that countries need in order to prosper and to grow and to also make it a more conducive environment for investing.  And so we don’t see ourselves as necessarily in competition with China.  Obviously, there are some challenges related to Chinese engagement, and we will address those directly as necessary, but our engagement with Africa is focused on the mutually beneficial relationship and partnership that we see with countries across the continent.

Moderator:  So the question of China versus Africa in relationship to the U.S. is a big one, and we have two questions that are in our Q&A, and so I’m going to sort of combine those for you to answer.  One is from Voice of America, from Si Yang.  The other is from Brooks Spector here in Johannesburg.  So the questions are:  “The Biden administration has made it clear that the U.S.-China relationship for the future is one of a competition between democracy and authoritarian governance.  The other side of that is with the new administration’s push, can the Biden administration match Chinese engagement with Africa, and what role does democratic values play and human rights play in President Biden’s plan for Africa?”  So maybe a little insight on the possible strategy for Africa here from the Biden administration.

Ms. Banks:  Right.  Thank you.  Thank you for those questions and for putting those together.  So we issued the interim strategic guidance early on in the administration, and obviously, we are currently in the process of drafting the full National Security Strategy, which we hope to release later this year.  But I think – and as we’ve seen with various executive orders and national security memoranda specifically as it relates to anticorruption, democratic values, we know, are at the core of American principles, and certainly are at the core of the Biden administration’s goals in engaging across the world and particularly in Africa.  And it is a priority for the Biden-Harris administration to elevate democracy, good governance, rule of law, and human rights as issues across our foreign policy because this is fundamental to who we are and this is fundamental to what the United States stands for.

And our support for citizen-centered governance and respect for human rights seeks to reduce instability, fragility, and resurgent authoritarianism, as you mentioned.  So really getting at the root causes of instability and drivers of conflicts that we see across the continent, such as in northern Mozambique and the Sahel – very acutely we see it there.  But we also know that there has been worrying backsliding in democracy and respect for human rights in places on the continent, and that is a concern.  But I think that what we hope to do is work with our partners, work with governments, work with civil society to address these issues, and again, making our values and that of democratic governance and the rule of law a cornerstone of our strategy, of our diplomacy, and, of course, of our engagement with our African partners going forward.  Does that help answer the question?

Moderator:  I think that it does.  Thank you.

Ms. Banks:  Okay.

Moderator:  Next we’ll go live to Pearl Matibe.  Pearl, please state your affiliation and your question.

Question:  Hi.  I’m Pearl and I’m with Power FM 98.7.  I am stationed here in Washington, D.C. but we broadcast throughout South Africa and neighboring countries.  Ms. Banks, I just want to begin by applauding your efforts and the fact that you have acknowledged and you are working to include a significant sector that supports the continent, which is the diaspora.  Previous administrations have not done the same, and I look forward to seeing something definitive, demonstrative in a Biden doctrine towards Africa that is inclusive of the diaspora beyond just remittances that they send to the continent.

My question to you is regarding the diaspora, and that is:  Can you clarify a little more and maybe go beyond what you shared already about what you’re willing in this new initiative?  I’m glad to see that there is a fresh take in this foreign policy approach, but I’d like to get a clearer understanding as to how that might work, where people might be able to get this information.  I think that this is going to be welcome news for millions of people in our audience, so I appreciate your response and I look forward to a Biden doctrine that has the diaspora included in that.  Thank you.

 Ms. Banks:  Thank you very much, Pearl.  Great question.  Happy to give you a few specific examples of how Prosper Africa has already sort of lived up to what we are envisioning now for this reimagining phase of it and the types of deals we – excuse me – and the activities and engagements we will continue to do.  And I just want to mention that all of this information can be found on Prosper Africa’s website, which is, and we hope to have a fact sheet on the White House website shortly to enumerate all of the – the entire reimagining of the initiative and some more details that you can refer to.

So I’ll just mention a couple of deals here.  So several examples.  There is a mother-daughter time behind Eu’Genia Shea cosmetics, which is based in Ghana, that was supported by Prosper Africa working with USAID and the U.S. African Development Foundation to build their business from the ground up.  They are now exporting Mother’s Shea moisturizer to over 1,000 Target stores across the United States, supporting 10,000 women shea pickers in the process.  And I know many of us on this call, particularly women, are very familiar with the Shea moisture brand.

Also, the United States worked with institutional investors across the United States to tap new investment opportunities in Africa.  The Chicago public school teachers’ pension fund recently invested $20 million in an African fund that supports African businesses in healthcare, education, telecommunications, and more.  This investment is generating returns for Chicago’s teachers while supporting innovative and impactful African businesses.  And then last but not least, just yesterday actually, the Development Finance Corporation announced that it will provide $217 million in debt financing for a new 83 megawatt powerplant in Freetown, which will increase Sierra Leone’s generation capacity while improving the lives and livelihoods across the country.

So I hope those examples help bear out some of what we are and will continue to do with the Prosper Africa initiative.

Moderator:  Thank you so much for sharing those.  We’re going to go to one of our French-language contacts out of Senegal, Abdourahmane Diallo of the African Press Agency, APA News, based in Dakar, Senegal.  His question is:  “I would like to know if the 80 million requested by President Biden is ready and available” – and let’s see about that – “is ready and available, and how it will be used, allocated with different sectors, et cetera, how those funds will be used and if there are any particular sectors which are being targeted.”

Ms. Banks:  Right, so sectors.  Yes.  So currently that request is part of the President’s overall budget request to Congress.  That is also publicly available information, so you can look and see what all is included, not just the 80 million but the President’s entire request.  And we cannot sort of get ahead of what Congress may eventually approve, but what we’re hoping that will do is to support, as I mentioned, some initiatives that will be in line with what Build – the Build Back Better World initiative envisions in terms of infrastructure financing.  I mentioned the Development Finance Corporation, additional deals, but also to try to assist the 17 U.S. Government agencies as they seek to do their work on the continent, whether that’s increased match-making for businesses for American investors in key sectors on the continent, whether it’s healthcare, agriculture, the power sector.  Those are some of the key sectors that we will be looking at.

So that’s generally how we envision using, if approved, this 80 million that has been requested, and to really – Prosper Africa was a new initiative started in 2019.  There is a history of wonderful initiatives being started in previous administrations that have carried over.  Just to name a few: PEPFAR, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and Power Africa.  So this is an initiative that definitely we felt had hope, had promise, and we wanted to build it up better, to build Prosper back better to make sure that it truly meets the needs of not just the American investors, but the sectors and the businesses in Africa where we seek to invest, and that is also why we added the element of diaspora businesses and support to women-owned businesses and small and medium enterprises on the continent.

Moderator:  Thank you.  That’s actually a great segue, talking about initiatives, as we see a question in our Q&A from Femi Adekoya from Nigeria, The Guardian.  The question is:  “Do you see Prosper Africa replacing AGOA, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, when the latter ends in 2025?”

Ms. Banks:  Great question.  I know there is a lot of consternation and concern about the looming legislative end of the AGOA legislation, seeking to sunset in 2025.  And look, and I think we’re still having conversations with our colleagues at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office in how we can take sort of the next chapter of AGOA.  Because even if AGOA sunsets in – well, the legislation does it in 2025, but if there is not another round of AGOA that comes up, then what would be the next element?  What is the next step in the trade relationship with the United States and Africa?  And I think the AfCFTA is one way that we are looking at increasing – going back to the previous question about the 80 million – increasing some of the engagement that we want to see with the continent through a mechanism that was approved by host countries on the continent, and we want to use that to try and help for our engagement, because this is something that African countries have said that they want.  So we want to see how we can support that and look at sort of the next level of trade, of a trade relationship with Africa as a bloc but also with individual countries.

So it’s something that we’re still reviewing and we’re looking at, and I would not necessarily think of the sunsetting of AGOA as necessarily a bad thing.  I think that larger countries on the continent have been able to take advantage of AGOA benefits, and some of the – some countries, frankly, have not yet been able to.  So I think we need to look at sort of new ways to make sure that our trade relationship with all of Africa, with the entire continent, is one that’s mutually beneficial for all of us.

Moderator:  Absolutely.  Advisor Banks, can we have you for another five minutes or so?  We have a couple —

Ms. Banks:  Sure.

Moderator:  — of questions we’d like to get in.  Thank you so much.  The next question is from ESI, out of South Africa, from Ms. Claire Volkwyn.  Her question is:  “How is this initiative,” Prosper Africa, “likely to impact on the work being done by Power Africa and USAID?  Is there a specific focus on power in the Prosper Africa program?”  I’m excited to hear your response because it will help people to understand that this big umbrella consists of 17 U.S. Government agencies working together.  Over to you, Ms. Banks.

Ms. Banks:  That’s right.  Thank you, Marissa.  So, as I mentioned earlier, we are – Power Africa was an initiative that came about under the Biden administration and really has emerged as one of the strongest and most enduring, I think, and most tangible initiatives that we see that really makes an impact in the lives of people across the continent.  And so, of course, power is a sector that we are definitely looking at as one of the priority sectors for engagement with Prosper Africa, and I’d like to also sort of fold in climate as well because climate is also – or the climate sector is one that we are looking at.

So I’ll just mention, and going here to some of my facts just to make sure that I have my numbers accurate, so Power Africa and the African Trade Insurance Agency recently signed a memorandum of understanding that extends their cooperation through 2022 to help increase investments into African member countries and two-way trade flows between Africa, the United States, and the rest of the world.  ATI facilitates exports, foreign direct investment flows into, and trade flows within the continent.  So that’s just one example of how Power Africa is incorporated into Prosper Africa.

And then another point I’ll just make:  Recent commitments from Power Africa, from the Development Finance Corporation, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, as well as the U.S. Africa Development Foundation, will support the expansion of off-grid energy solutions in Africa, which represents $24 billion – a $24 billion opportunity annually.  Also, through its global partnership for climate-smart – here we go – for climate-smart infrastructure, U.S. – the U.S. Trade and Development Agency plans to dedicate up to $60 million over the next three years to advance climate-smart infrastructure solutions that will open emerging markets to the export of U.S.-manufactured goods, technologies, and services.  A significant portion of these funds will support resilient and low-carbon infrastructure solutions across Africa.  And of course, I mentioned the West African Power Pool cooperative agreement with the MCC earlier as well.

So that’s just some examples of how we’re – how Power Africa is involved in Prosper Africa.

Moderator:  There, it really is amazing how the U.S. Government is piecing all of this together to really show what economic statecraft looks like on the continent.

Our next question will be live.  We will go to Mr. Esnart Lungu out of Zambia.  Mr. Lungu, please ask your question and state your affiliation.  Esnart Lungu, you may ask your question.  Okay, you may be – oh, there you go.  Mr. Lungu, ask your question.

Question:  I can hear you, but I will just go ahead and —

Moderator:  Oh, Ms. Lungu, ask your question.

Question:  All right.  So my question is – my name is Esnart Lungu from Spring TV – Spring 24 TV in Zambia.  So my question is regarding exports.  So the U.S. has been considered as one of the most difficult countries or markets to penetrate for African producers, Zambia especially.  I think we only have, like, one producer exporting to the U.S.  So how will this initiative help make it easier for our producers to export to the U.S.?  Thank you.

Ms. Banks:  Thank you, Esnart, for that question.  Excuse me.  So what we’ve always done as the U.S. Government and various agencies that are involved in Prosper is that, through USAID, for example, we help support local entrepreneurs with advising services, with also support for growing their businesses in trying to understand how to best market their products for – excuse me, for potential export to the United States.  So we will continue to do that.  We will probably beef up some of those services to make sure that we’re truly focusing on the key sectors, but also helping some of those smaller businesses, those smaller entrepreneurs.  Look, I’ve been across – I’ve been – I’ve traveled across the continent and have seen so many wonderful, really inspirational examples of entrepreneurship from textiles to shea butter to jewelry, and I think to myself, this would sell like hotcakes in Target or in Macy’s.

So I think that Africa is definitely à la mode, as they say, and products from the continent, and so I think that this is what Prosper Africa will do and will continue to do and will seek to do more of in the future – to make sure that those smaller businesses, those women-owned businesses are on the ground, have the resources and the tools that they need to be able to connect to investors in the States and hopefully connect to diaspora businesses and women-owned businesses in the States who truly understand what it is about – what different types of products and handicrafts that can really sell to markets here in the U.S.  So I’m very excited about that.

Moderator:  I think we can hear the excitement in your voice.  So we’re running out of time.  We think we’re going to have one more question.  We’ll go live to Mr. Jared Szuba.  Jared, please state your affiliation.

Question:  Hi, thank you for doing this.  I’m with Al-Monitor.  I’m just wondering if you could provide us with an update on the relationship with Sudan.  I know that there was a promise of wheat aid under the previous administration, if that has been fulfilled; and what obstacles remain towards the U.S. relationship with, obviously, this very important country in East Africa?

Ms. Banks:  Sure, that’s a great question.  Look, I think Sudan is at a pivotal moment in its transition to a fully functioning, or back to a fully functioning democracy.  We stand with the people of Sudan.  We definitely have strong and robust engagements going forward and some things coming up that I think will definitely demonstrate our commitment to our relationship and also to the people of Sudan.  We have assistance packages.  I don’t have the exact numbers but I’m sure I can get those to – here we go.  Oh, no, that’s not the assistance numbers.  I can get those to Marissa after the fact, if you want to know the assistance, the total numbers.

But we really are supportive of the transition that’s taking place.  I recently participated in a U.S.-Sudan Business Council event with Prime Minister Hamdok and was very encouraged by the opportunities that are burgeoning in Sudan right now for business, but also in terms of the opportunities that are being provided to its people through the government and through assistance from us and from international partners.  So I think there are some exciting things coming for our relationship with Sudan and for the people of Sudan.  So, stay tuned.

Moderator:  Okay, I’m probably going to get in trouble for this, Ms. Banks, but there is one final – one final question, from Ghana.

Ms. Banks:  It’s okay.

Moderator:  And we’re going to go live to Maxwell Kudekor, and then, you guys, I thank you so much, and then we’ll have to close this up.  Mr. Kudekor, the last question is for you, so please state your affiliation and your question.

Question:  Yeah, thank you.  Please, can you hear me?

Moderator:  Yes, we can hear you.  Go ahead.

Question:  My name is Maxwell Kudekor.  I’m from the Multimedia Group in Ghana.  I am particularly concerned about marine security, in the sense that most of this trade that we’re talking about happens or is going to happen largely on the sea.  How is the U.S. assisting coastal nations to provide security on the sea, especially in an era that piracy and other crimes are reportedly going high at sea?

Moderator:  So I’m just going to rephrase that question to make sure you heard it well, Ms. Banks.  The question is, what is the U.S. going to do to protect the seas – we’re talking about piracy here – as most of the trade and investment, the seas will have to be used to transport a lot of materials?  So what is the U.S. doing to sort of assist countries along coastal states in Africa to have better maritime security?

Ms. Banks:  Great, thank you for that.  And I take it since you’re calling from Ghana, I will focus it on sort of the Gulf of Guinea and maritime security.  Look, obviously we are concerned by the increasing threats that we’re seeing in the Sahel and the threats that that poses as those threats potentially move further southward and towards the maritime borders of countries like Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Togo.  And we are working with our partners in the Sahel, with the French, with the EU, and with others to try to stem some of that threat that is currently present, the terrorist threat in the Sahel, but also the maritime security concerns, we are with our colleagues at the Department of Defense, we have some assistance – excuse me – programs that we work with individual countries on helping to secure their maritime borders.

But as I mentioned earlier in the call, at the root of all of this is the root causes of instability, so we are also working with governments on that coast, in particular the Gulf of Guinea, to be able to better address the security challenges, but also service delivery to their citizens to prevent, to stem, hopefully, this threat from further encroaching on the maritime borders and threatening the lives and livelihoods of people in the Sahel and down into littoral West Africa.  So it’s a great question.  It’s one that we’re definitely engaged on and we will continue to work on that.

Moderator:  Well, everybody, that is all the time that we have today.  Advisor Banks, do you have any final words?

Ms. Banks:  Yes, I’m glad you asked.  Since no one brought this up – I’m actually surprised that no one brought it up – but I did want to highlight, because as I started my remarks saying how the last year and the pandemic has shown how we are interconnected, and as I’m sure you’re aware that President Biden, back in May, announced that we would be sharing with – globally 25 million vaccines, vaccines doses around the world and on the continent.  And we have been, over the past three weeks, working through the African Union and COVAX delivering first rounds, in some cases second rounds, of doses to our African partners.  And just today, we are happy to announce that we will be sending over 5 million doses to South Africa as well as 4 million – 5 million doses – over 5 million doses to South Africa of Pfizer vaccines as well as 4 million doses of Moderna vaccine to Nigeria.

So it just so happened that the shipment was – is timed today for my Media Hub call, but we have been delivering to countries across the continent for the past three weeks.  Please go to[1] [sic], follow Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Twitter handle and you can see all of the doses that are being and have been distributed across the continent.  But I was just very pleased to announce those two today because, to date, they are the largest number of doses that we have shipped to the continent.  So we’re very excited about that and we hope that these will go a long way in helping to provide safety and health security for the people of Nigeria and South Africa, which will then enable them to get back to their regular activities, their economic activities, and help them to build back better.

Moderator:  Well, thank you so much, Advisor Banks, and to all of our participants, remember that you heard it here at the Africa Media Hub.  That concludes today’s briefing.  I would like to thank Dana L. Banks, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Africa at the National Security Council, for speaking to us today, and thank all of our journalists for participating.

If you have any questions about today’s briefing, you may contact the Africa Regional Media Hub at  Thank you.

# # # #