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
“I am concerned to hear about the arrest of Tanzanian opposition leader, Freeman Mbowe and 11 other party officials and staff of Part of Democracy and Progress. The Tanzanian authorities must end the escalating crackdown on opposition parties and leaders, and the arbitrary arrests and detentions show the disregard for the rule of law, human rights, and the rights to freedom of expression and association. Those arrested have not been charged with any criminal offense. I encourage the safe return of Mr. Mbowe – who at present is still unaccounted for.
“I stand with the people of South Africa and call for calm and order in the country. Culprits disguised as citizens have used the arrest and trial of former President Jacob Zuma to commit violence all across the country. On the surface, the recent violence is because of Jacob Zuma being sentenced to 15 months in jail. Citizens are frustrated over post-apartheid promises that have not addressed youth unemployment and the unequal distribution of wealth, and now the COVID pandemic has exacerbated the political, social, and economic tensions in the country.
“Today, the international community observes the tenth anniversary of South Sudan’s independence. As the world’s youngest country, South Sudan remains a fragile state in the midst of a civil war and facing chronic food insecurity and large numbers of displaced communities. In the face of these challenges, the United States will continue to support South Sudan in its efforts to achieve a peace agreement that will include free and fair elections, sustainable economic reforms, and a unified national army.
"I am discouraged to see the unfolding of violence against protestors in eSwatini by the King Mswati. The protests are rooted in the pure anger of the eSwatinis towards the monarch, and the people want constitutional reforms, including the legalization of political parties, the right to elect a prime minister who is accountable to the people, better public services, and an end to police brutality.
"I am encouraged to learn that Burundian human rights defender Germain Rukuki was finally released after serving more than four years in prison out of his original 32-year sentence. A champion of human rights, he risked his life and freedom to highlight the mistreatment of many citizens in Burundi. Mr. Rukuki’s release is a true testament to the power of protesting by hundreds of thousands of people around the world who tirelessly campaigned for his release. I fully support Mr. Rukuki and encourage his continued fight for the human rights of all people.
“I am extremely excited that the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and other global financiers are partnering with South African manufacturer, Aspen Pharmacare, to combat COVID-19 by helping them produce 500 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Africa for Africans by the end of 2022, including providing more than 200 million doses this year. This will save lives, build local capacity, strengthen supply-chain infrastructure, and help create a self-reliance for developing nations.
“I am discouraged that there are currently more than 32 million refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons in Africa. Since last year, three million more people have lost their homes due to conflicts, government repression against citizens, violent extremism, and the militarization of politics. Eighty-eight percent of all IDPS in Africa come from just 10 countries. Ethiopia saw the most significant increase in IDPs from last year with an estimated 1.8 million people displaced due to the current conflict in Tigray.
"I am deeply concerned about the provisions of the national elections in several regions of Ethiopia. I appreciate the increased participation from various political parties; however, the elections were not held in many regions of the country and several political parties were not allowed to participate. In addition, voter registration was low and there was a limited number of election observers. The government of Ethiopia must continue the work to ensure that the elections are free, fair, and inclusive to all and not a flashpoint for violence."
“My heartfelt condolences go out to the family of President Kenneth Kaunda and the people of Zambia. His leadership and vital role in fighting for independence from the former colonial power in northern Rhodesia, and his tireless support in fighting against HIV/AIDS made him a champion of global human rights and invaluable to the continent.”
“I urge the Government of the Central African Republic (CAR) to not partner with Russian mercenaries to solve internal conflict, and I call for an immediate investigation into Russian mercenaries torturing and killing innocent civilians in the country. This is another example of how a country uses a developing African nation for its own economic gain. CAR is a mineral-rich country that has faced interreligious and intercommunal fighting since 2013, and the Russians are taking advantage of their plight for economic gain.