U.S. President Joe Biden campaigned for the 2020 Democratic nomination promising not only to restore the defense of human rights and democracy to a central position in U.S. foreign policy, but also to “build back better” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. But for Africa’s 54 countries and 1.4 billion people, despite a welcome change in tone from the administration of former President Donald Trump, there is little to show for the first nine months of Biden’s presidency when it comes to engagement on values—or anything else of substance. 

In his first foreign policy speech as president, Biden triumphantly declared that “America is back,” pledging that the U.S. would pursue “diplomacy rooted in America’s most cherished democratic values” by “defending freedom, championing opportunity, upholding universal rights, respecting the rule of law, and treating every person with dignity.

Biden…

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