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Africa took center stage at a summit this week in the US capital with Washington announcing its backing for the African Union’s (AU) membership in the elite G20, Reuters reported.

The African Union is made up of 55 members and is one of the largest regional blocs in the world.

US President Joe Biden previously indicated that he would support its membership. At the summit, he told the 49 attending leaders that the US is “all in on Africa’s future,” emphasizing that the world’s crises today need African leadership, ideas and innovations.

Earlier in the week, the Japanese government also expressed its intention to support the AU’s admission to the G20, NHK World-Japan noted.

The US-Africa summit also comes as the US seeks to reestablish itself in the continent to counter the rising influence of China and Russia. At the summit, the US offered billions of dollars in support and investment, the BBC reported.

This includes a $500 million investment to reduce transport costs at a key port in Benin and $350 million to spend on developing Africa’s digital economy.

Analysts noted that the summit was integral to Washington’s efforts to win back influence on the continent, as Russia and China have been developing stronger ties with African nations.

Even so, they added that Biden’s message showed that the US sought a strategic relationship with Africa, which has become a key geopolitical player with some of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Observers explained that Washington will need to prove it is a better partner than Beijing and Moscow.

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