The first members of the President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement, including star Viola Davis, were unveiled by President Joe Biden on Tuesday. Davis will advise Washington on strengthening relationships with African communities.
Washington has made an effort to emphasise the significance of the area and combat threats from China and Russia to the American interests there.
In December of last year, as part of the US-Africa Leaders Summit, which intended to strengthen Washington’s connections with the area, Washington revealed intentions to form the council.
The council will provide advice to the president on a variety of topics, such as how to improve links between African communities and the US, encouraging commerce and investment, and fostering educational exchanges, among others. Senior Director for African Affairs Judd Devermont of the National Security Council told reporters.
Silvester Beaman, the Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church who delivered the invocation during Biden’s inauguration in 2021, will serve as the council’s head.
Among the other members, in addition to Viola Davis, are Patrick Gaspard, the leader of the Centre for American Progress think tank, CD Glin, the president of the PepsiCo Foundation, and Almaz Negash, the creator of the African Diaspora Network.
Davis joined the select group of EGOT winners this year after winning a Grammy for the audiobook version of her biography “Finding Me,” which also earned her an Emmy, an Oscar, a Tony, and a Grammy.
As China has pushed to extend its influence by supporting infrastructure projects on the continent and overseas, the United States wants to promote itself as a better partner to African nations.
In 2019, Russia hosted its first summit in Africa and since deploying soldiers into Ukraine increased its efforts to gain business and influence on a continent where its Wagner mercenary outfit is still active.