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Congresswoman Karen Bass

Representing the 37th District of California

U.S.-Africa Policy

The African continent has long captured international attention, for its cultural and societal diversity, its awe-inspiring landscapes and wildlife as well for the social and political challenges. Over the last 50 years, the continent has emerged more peaceful and stable than at any other time in contemporary history. And for over a decade now, a number of African nations have experienced double-digit or near double-digit economic growth.

Congressmember Bass seeks to transform how we think and engage African nations and to promote the many opportunities to promote trade and economic growth between the U.S. and African nations. A top priority for Congressmember Bass is the African Growth and Opportunities Act or AGOA, our country’s trade preference program with eligible African nations. While conflict and global health challenges remain a concern and must be addressed, Africa nations are eager to engage the United States, in particular, Congress, on trade versus aid opportunities.

Learn about the Africa Policy Breakfast series.

Subscribe to Africa Updates from the office of Congressmember Bass.

The tragic kidnapping of Nigerian girls by Boko Haram captured international awareness in May 2014 and inspired a social media campaign #BringBackOurGirls. On social media, traditional media, and in Congress, Congressmember Bass is a vocal advocate for girls' education, anti-trafficking legislation, and international efforts to stop Boko Haram. 

Watch Congressmember Bass's interviews about the U.S. response to the missing Nigerian girls above.

Key Foreign Policy Initiatives & Accomplishments

Africa Trade and Investment

Congressmember Karen Bass is an advocate for robust trade and investment-oriented relationships between the U.S. and the nations of Africa with the goal of not only expanding relations, but securing and increasing jobs here at home and in Africa.  One of her key priorities is the re-authorization of a strengthened Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) that enables the nations of Africa to export goods to the U.S. duty free.  AGOA plays a central role in efforts to expand economic growth on the continent and in so doing provide prime opportunities for U.S. companies to invest in Africa and work/partner with African companies.  These initiatives are critical given the role increasingly played by Africa in the global economy.  Africa is currently home to 6 out of the 7 fastest growing economies in the world and is viewed by investors from Europe, Malaysia, China, India, Turkey and Brazil as a priority region for investment. 

With this in mind, Congressmember Bass places a priority on developing strong economic between the U.S. and Africa. As the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, she helped lead Congressional efforts in the passage of HR 5986 to extend a special provision (Third Country Fabric Provision) under AGOA.

Mindful of the importance of supporting AGOA, Congressmember is also an original co-sponsor of both the “Increasing American Jobs through Greater Exports to Africa Act of 2013” (HR 1777) , and “Electrifying Africa Act of 2013 (HR 2548) – bills aimed at supporting greater U.S. trade and investment with the continent.

Other Africa-related legislative resolutions sponsored by Congressmember Bass include:

Watch Congressmember Bass speak about U.S.-Africa Policy:

 

More on U.S.-Africa Policy

January 16, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), top Democrat serving on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, introduced a resolution along with the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Eliot L.

January 11, 2019 Press Release

“On December 30th, after two years of delay, people across the Democratic Republic of Congo went to the polls to cast their ballots. I congratulate the Congolese people's courage and commitment to holding elections and expressing themselves peacefully.  

January 8, 2019 Press Release

Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), top Democrat serving on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, issued the following statement:

January 7, 2019 Press Release

Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), top Democrat serving on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, issued the following statement:

“I strongly condemn the coup attempt in Gabon. The rule of law must be respected and any transition must be in line with the country’s constitution.”

December 6, 2018 Press Release

“It is in the best interest of the United States to maintain a strong bilateral relationship with a politically stable, democratic, and economically sound Nigeria that can play a leadership role in the region and the continent more broadly. A credible, transparent and peaceful election this coming February would further consolidate democratic gains achieved over the last two decades.  Nigerians are deeply committed to democracy and ensuring transparency in electoral preparations would build public confidence in the electoral process.

December 1, 2018 Press Release

“Today is a day to raise awareness, reflect on our progress, and recommit our resolve to fight HIV/AIDS throughout the world.

“This year, Congress came together in a bipartisan fashion to extend the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program which has already saved 17 million lives across the globe.

November 27, 2018 Press Release

“The DRC has the potential to be one of the richest countries on earth, but it has been crippled by decades of conflict and corruption,” said Rep. Bass. “Congolese citizens have long called for the international community to play a role in holding the ruling party accountable to their country’s constitution. This bill responds to that request and also sends a message to the world that the United States has not retreated from its commitment to protect human rights and advance democracy around the world.”

November 16, 2018 Press Release

“I’m encouraged that the Trump administration and the State Department are expressing interest in staffing important U.S. diplomatic posts in African countries. This is absolutely essential to bettering our relationship with the countries on the continent and the economic opportunities they offer. 

November 6, 2018 Press Release

“Kidnapping should always be condemned, especially if it involves more than 70 children. 

“Last night, armed separatists kidnapped 79 students and three staff from a Presbyterian boarding school in Cameroon’s Northwest anglophone region. This is the most recent example of how citizens, especially children, are increasingly the ones who suffer the most from terrorist activity. 

“In the wake of President Biya’s re-election to serve a seventh term, we are at a critical moment for him to work towards a nonviolent solution to the conflict in the anglophone region.”

October 9, 2018 Press Release

“I am encouraged by the First Lady’s trip to the continent,” said Rep. Bass. “I hope that during her trip she was able to see the critical work of the U.S. Agency for International Development and the benefits of the contributions that our country makes every day across Africa. Successful U.S-Africa policy hinges on mutual interests on issues such as maternal and newborn health as well as education, so I was glad to see that these topics were highlighted during her time there. I hope that this visit is parlayed into continuing collaboration and cooperation with the continent.”