- The United States hopes that the appointment would give them a leverage above China and Russia in Africa.
- A seasoned diplomat, Johnnie Carson brings his many years of experience on-board US-Africa relations.
- He has served as a United States ambassador and envoy to many African countries in the past.
In December 2022, the United States president, Joe Biden, hosted African leaders in Washington, D.C., for the second edition of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit.
The aim of the summit was to engage African leaders on the plans of the United States to increase its existing partnerships with Africa. It was also a way of cushioning the increasing diplomatic ties between Africa and China and the dependency of African leaders on the Asian giants.
The power delegation present at the summit revealed the level of importance of the African continent to the overall success of the United States. President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Devi Harris, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and other top government officials were all present at the summit.
Presenting his closing remarks, President Biden confirmed the conscious intentions of his administration towards increasing the United States’ partnership with Africa by announcing the appointment of a United States representative to monitor the country’s interest and partnership implementations in Africa. The man for the job was none other than Johnnie Carson.
“We know that commitments are only as good as our ability to deliver on them,” Blinken told reporters after the Summit.
“That’s why we asked one of our most experienced senior diplomats, Ambassador Johnnie Carson, to return to the State Department as our special representative for the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit implementation. With nearly four decades of experience as a diplomat, deep relationships across the region, I can think of no one better to ensure that our words are actually translated into action.”
But who really is Johnnie Carson – the man trusted as the point man to handle US-Africa relations and represent America’s interest in Africa? Let us find out below.
Who is Jonnie Carson?
Johnnie Carson was born on 7 April 1943 in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, but resides in Reston, Virginia.
He bagged a B.A. in History and Political Science from Drake University in 1965 and a Master of Arts in International Relations from the School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of London, in 1975.
After his graduation, he volunteered for the Peace Corps in Tanzania from 1965 to 1968. He is married with three children.
Mr. Carson has enjoyed an illustrious career. With over 40 years in public service, mostly as an ambassador or special envoy of the United States to Africa, he is one of the most experienced diplomats regarding issues relating to the African continent.
Highlighted below is the career timeline of Mr. Johnnie Carson. Check it out!
• U.S. Envoy to Mozambique (1975–1978)
• U.S. Envoy to Nigeria (1969–1971)
• Africa section at State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1971–1974)
• Staff Officer for the Secretary of State (1978–1979)
• Staff Director for the Africa Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives (1979–1982)
• U.S. Envoy to Portugal (1982–1986)
• U.S. Envoy to Botswana (1986–1990)
• Ambassador to Uganda (1991–1994)
• Ambassador to Zimbabwe (1995–1997)
• Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs (1997–1999)
• Ambassadorships to Kenya (1999–2003)
• Senior Vice President of the National Defense University in Washington D.C. (2003–2006)
• National Intelligence Officer for Africa with the United States National Intelligence Council (2006-2021)
Awards and Recognition
Mr. Johnnie Carson is a recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including about a dozen awards from the United States Department of State. He also received a Meritorious Service Award from the then Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.
He was awarded the highest award, the “Champion of Prevention Award” by the Centers for Disease Control, for his leadership, foresight, and tenacity in spearheading the United States government intervention process in preventing HIV/AIDS in Kenya.
The leadership of the ECOWAS member states bestowed on him an award to recognize and recognize his effort in presenting the interests of their countries to the United States.