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Congresswoman Karen Bass

Representing the 37th District of California

U.S.-Africa Policy

Throughout her entire time in Congress, Bass has held the position of being the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations. Her goal is to transform how we think and engage African nations and to promote the many opportunities to expand trade and economic growth between the U.S. and African nations. During her time in that post, one of her key priorities was the re-authorization and Strengthening of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which enables the nations of Africa to export goods to the U.S. duty-free. In 2015, Bass was instrumental in reauthorizing the bill.

Bass has been a leading voice and an advocate for preventing and ending famine in Africa. In 2017, she helped secure nearly $1 billion in funds to combat famine in Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan.

She has introduced more than 50 bills and resolutions pertaining to democracy protection, expanding economic opportunity, and other issues pertaining to the continent. Bass continues to engage the African diaspora with regular popular policy breakfasts, which are open for public participation, to discuss the latest issues on the continent.

More on U.S.-Africa Policy

January 24, 2020 Press Release

January 24, 2020

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

January 15, 2020 Press Release

“I am concerned by the attempted kidnapping and assault of Mozambican journalist Matias Guente.  No citizen should be harmed for being outspoken or having different beliefs. The assault, kidnapping and detainment of critics of the government is becoming increasingly common. 

January 5, 2020 Press Release

"This attack by Al-Shabaab is a reminder that the United States should continue robust engagement throughout Africa, embrace and include international cooperation, and support African countries in the battle against this type of armed threat.

“My thoughts are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives. I also wish those injured a speedy recovery. The U.S. must remain engaged and maintain a robust foreign policy across Africa in order to support African partners and address the root causes of violent extremism.”

December 26, 2019 Press Release

“I am saddened by this attack and would like to express my condolences to the people and government of Burkina Faso. The magnitude is particulary troubling. As usual, innocent civilians continue to bear the brunt of the increased insecurity, which has lead to the displacement of hundreds of thousands across the country. Rather than decreasing involvement in West Africa as the administration proposes, this is certainly the time to embrace international cooperation and support in the battle against an armed threat that has spread across the region.

December 18, 2019 Press Release

“Blocking or restricting access to the internet violates freedom of speech, limits economic opportunities, and suppresses political participation,” said Rep. Bass. “Increasingly, many African governments describe content on the internet as ‘fake news’ as the basis for blocking the information during disasters, terrorist attacks, and social unrest. African governments also harass and detain journalists, whistleblowers, bloggers, and other media workers trying to do their job in disseminating information to citizens.

December 17, 2019 Press Release

“I am alarmed by the recent kidnapping of local official and parliamentary candidates by armed separatists. These actions are counterproductive and not conducive to solving the conflict in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon. Those advocating for independence must understand that preying on innocent Cameroonians who simply want to exercise their civic duties will not help them get any closer to an independent state. I encourage separatists to commit to peacefully resolving the conflict in order for the country to have open and fair elections for all in 2020.”

December 17, 2019 Press Release

“President Alpha Conde’s unconstitutional decision to seek a third term is alarming and has resulted in mass protests in the Guinean capital of Conakry, which have been met with numerous arrests and several casualties. The citizens of the country have spoken by taking to the streets to protest President Conde’s run for a third term and I encourage the government of Guinea to adhere to the will of the people and honor the county’s constitutional term limits.”

December 13, 2019 Press Release

The letter also seeks to encourage the government of Cameroon to demonstrate political will by engaging in a Swiss-led facilitation process, which could lead to future negotiations between the Cameroonian government and the opposition in the Northwest and Southwest regions of the country, as well as the diaspora. 

December 10, 2019 Press Release

“I am alarmed by the re-arrest of Mr. Sowore and his co-defendant Olawale Bakare just hours after their release, especially the violent manner in which this all was conducted. Nigerian citizens have the right to exercise their civil liberties without harassment and arbitrary arrest. There are currently numerous journalists and activists in detention in the country. I am increasingly concerned about Nigeria’s attacks on freedom of expression. Nigeria’s own rule of law and due process must be respected."