‘Diplomacy not about just one visit’ – US deputy Secretary of State’s pledge to engage more with Africa

Wendy Sherman, Deputy of Secretary of State.

Wendy Sherman, Deputy of Secretary of State. Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket

Over 600 US businesses operate in South Africa and employ over 200 000 South Africans.

  • The US is to provide Angola with more than $25 million in new resources under the Global VAX initiative.
  • The US was inspired by Gabon’s wildlife conservation project.

From meeting business leaders and entrepreneurs in South Africa, and launching the Global Vaccination initiative in partnership with the Angolan government, to discussing climate change in Gabon, US deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, ended her inaugural African tour on Friday.

At the end of the tour, as she left for France, Sherman told journalists that, “diplomacy is not about just one visit” as she promised more engagements with African governments were planned.

South Africa 

In South Africa, she visited Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pretoria with the highlight of her visit being the meeting with US-linked business leaders and entrepreneurs.

“I met with business leaders and entrepreneurs, including at Nike Soweto, to discuss deepening our trade and investment relationship with South Africa.

“… we want to do more to strengthen our economic relationship and our support for the young population of South Africa looking for a future, looking for a job,” she said.

She also noted that over 600 US businesses operated in South Africa and employed over 200 000 South Africans.

Sherman also met Roegchanda Pascoe, the woman who braved death threats while trying to ease the gang violence plaguing the Cape Flats.

Last month, Pascoe won the 2022 International Women of Courage Awards for demonstrating her exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equity, and equality.

Sherman delivered the award to Pascoe in person.

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Diplomatic meetings were held with the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor and her deputy Alvin Botes.

They spoke about trade, investment, and their shared commitment to fighting against climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic, and, “regional issues and global issues of peace and security, as the United States, considers South Africa not just a regional leader, but a global one”.


In Angola, Sherman launched the Global Vaccination initiative also known as the Global VAX initiative in partnership with the Angolan government.

Through the initiative, “the United States will be providing more than $25 million in new resources”, she said.

Her high-level meetings were with Angolan President João Laurenço, Foreign Minister Tete Antonio, and Minister of State General Francisco Pereira Furtado.

“We discussed all we are doing to deepen cooperation between the United States and Angola, on everything from maritime security to renewable energy to public health and to further improve transparency in Angola’s business sector and help increase US investment,” she said.


On her last leg, on Friday, she met Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba and Foreign Minister Michael Moussa Adamo to, “discuss our strategic partnership and close collaboration on climate change and environmental conservation”.

She later met Defence Minister Félicité Ongouori Ngoubili to discuss and deepen the security relationship.

But her top priority in Gabon was on the country’s wildlife conservation initiatives.

“Over 80 percent of Gabon’s territory is made up of forests, and over 10 percent of the country has been set aside as national parks, and I want to acknowledge and applaud Gabon’s leadership on conservation – not just in Africa, but globally,” she said.

She noted that in all the three countries, “we also discussed Russia’s war in Ukraine… African voices matter when it comes to Ukraine”.