Event Recap

New Atlanticist

Sep 10, 2021

Gregory Meeks: For counterterrorism and economic opportunity, turn toward Africa

By Katherine Walla

After the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, it has become clear that “terrorism now is global, and we’ve got to work in a multilateral way to combat and fight that,” said US Representative Gregory Meeks.

Afghanistan Africa

Just days before the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 and the opening of the seventy-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Atlantic Council hosted Congressman Gregory Meeks, chairman of the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee, to discuss the Committee’s priorities. Hosted by the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, the discussion explored the Committee’s ambitions for renewed engagement with African nations, the paths toward a new African narrative—such as investment in African creative industries, green growth, the currency race, and the industrialization of a continent with the world’s youngest population—along with topics of African security and commercial relations.

In addition, the global community has been rattled by the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan and its disruption of the international landscape ahead of the annual gathering at the United Nations, putting into question the leadership of the Biden administration as it addresses its first international crisis. In Africa, questions are emerging about the consequences from this crisis in the Sahel during a time when US leaders had been seeking to strengthen ties with African countries, particularly after a period of strained relations under the Trump administration. However, if the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic do not hinder the emergence of the “Afro-century” too harshly, significant success stories and opportunities for increased US multilateral engagement and economic ties across the African continent could still prove possible and inspire this new philosophy.

What role should the United States take as the global community grapples with COVID-19 and an uncertain future of Afghanistan? What role will Congress take to improve ties with the African region? As leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, how can the African-American community strengthen US connections with the African continent? To address these issues, Chairman Gregory Meeks joined the Atlantic Council in a public conversation on September 9, 2021.

This live show is part of the #ACFrontPage event series, a live ideas platform spotlighting global leaders who are championing constructive solutions to global challenges.

An #ACFrontPage Event

Atlantic Council Front Page is our premier live ideas platform for global leaders to discuss the defining challenges of our time. #ACFrontPage is a high-level event series featuring top newsmakers across multiple digital platforms. Harnessing the convening power and expertise of the Council’s sixteen programs and centers, #ACFrontPage leverages the Council’s capabilities in social media, press, and digital outreach to spotlight the world’s most prominent leaders and the most compelling ideas across sectors and engage new audiences eager for nonpartisan and constructive solutions to current global challenges. This widely promoted program features the Council’s most important guests and content serving as the highlight of our programming.


The Hon. Gregory Meeks

Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; United States Representative (D-NY)

In conversation with

The Africa Center works to promote dynamic geopolitical partnerships with African states and to redirect US and European policy priorities toward strengthening security and bolstering economic growth and prosperity on the continent.