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Biden plans trip to Angola, signalling renewed engagement with Africa

On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced his plans to visit Angola in a trip that could mark the resurgence of U.S. involvement with Africa amidst global challenges.

President Joe Biden plans to visit Angola
  • During an Oval Office meeting with Angolan President Joao Lourenco, President Joe Biden expressed his intention to visit Angola.
  • The specific date for the visit was not provided.
  • As part of the visit, Angola was expected to agree to the Artemis Accords.

During an Oval Office meeting with Angolan President Joao Lourenco, President Joe Biden expressed his intention to visit Angola, stating, "I have been there and I will be back."

However, the specific date for the visit was not provided, and the White House did not offer additional details in response to inquiries, Reuters reported.

As the U.S. president, Joe Biden, gears up for re-election next year and grapples with various foreign policy challenges from Ukraine to Israel, the absence of a visit to the African continent has raised eyebrows, despite acknowledging its significance on global issues.

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During the meeting with his Angolan counterpart, Joao Lourenco, the leaders were set to delve into discussions regarding collaboration and investment in solar energy, infrastructure development, and space—areas where the Biden administration sees itself locked in competition with China and where it has also been trying to counter Russia.

As part of the visit, Angola was expected to agree to the Artemis Accords, a pact aimed at shaping the rules for space exploration. Angola, with a satellite program that has received support from Russia, has been a key player in space-related initiatives.

The United States has been supporting a project that links resource-rich Democratic Republic of Congo to the port of Lobito in Angola by rail to bypass road congestion and avoid delays on the copper and cobalt route.

"Africa: 1 billion people. Critically important," Biden said ahead of the Oval Office meeting. "No country more important than Angola."

Last December, Biden said, "I'm eager to visit your continent," at a Washington summit of African leaders. "I'm looking forward to seeing many of you in your home countries."

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While Biden briefly attended a climate conference in Egypt last year, the conference was held on the Asian Sinai Peninsula. Vice President Kamala Harris, however, embarked on a week-long trip to Africa in March, visiting Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia to bolster diplomatic and economic ties on the continent.

In Tanzania, Harris pledged $500 million to boost infrastructure, transportation, digital technology, and clean energy.

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