A Conversation with Top U.S. Diplomat to Africa Molly Phee

In August, the White House unveiled a new strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa focused on promoting open societies, democracy and security, while increasing U.S. efforts to help Africa combat Covid-19 and adapt to climate change. Meanwhile, the U.S. remains active in the crises in the Horn of Africa, including the peace process in Ethiopia, resolving the political impasse in Sudan and countering Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Yet, America's role has also shifted amid a changing world, especially as Washington increasingly engages with other regional powers, including in the Middle East, about Horn of Africa affairs.

This week on The Horn, Alan speaks with Molly Phee, U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, about how the Biden administration envisions partnership with African countries and Africa's role on the global stage. They talk about the administration's approach to great-power competition in relation to Africa, as well as the increasing role of regional powers, including from the Gulf. They then discuss the Ethiopia peace process, the role of Eritrea, and U.S. efforts to broker a new political deal in Sudan. They also examine whether the U.S. supports eventual political talks with Al-Shabaab in Somalia, what to do about South Sudan, U.S.-Kenya relations, and the continued and controversial use of U.S. sanctions as a diplomatic lever. Phee then previews the upcoming U.S.-Africa summit next week in Washington. 

For more in-depth analysis of some of the topics discussed in this episode, make sure to check out our Africa program page. 

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