Scott Pushes Back on China, Empowers American Students Through HBCU-Africa Partnership Act | U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina

Friday | October 27, 2023

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), co-chair of Congressional Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caucus and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, joined his Senate colleagues in introducing the HBCU-Africa Partnership Act of 2023 to foster greater partnerships between Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and U.S. foreign policy institutions and promote exchange opportunities between HBCUs and African partners. 
“Malign actors like China continue to expand their influence across Sub-Saharan Africa, jeopardizing America’s national security interests and exploiting African communities,” said Senator Tim Scott. “Our HBCUs are producing top-tier researchers and academics who are working to find solutions to global challenges. Encouraging greater collaboration between HBCUs and African partners will strengthen our relationships and combat authoritarian influence, while helping to fortify the foundations that enable free-market economies to flourish.”


For the past two decades, the People’s Republic of China has endeavored to expand its influence across Sub-Saharan Africa, leveraging the size of its economy to cement the Chinese Communist Party’s geopolitical interests across the continent. Understanding the value of people-to-people linkages, Beijing has also asserted its influence by expanding academic exchange programs for African students. The number of African students at Chinese institutions grew by 258% between 2011 and 2017, with over 80,000 African students studying in China in 2018. Last year, China opened its first CCP-funded party school in Africa.
Despite China’s growing influence, partnerships with American businesses and educational institutions are still the most sought after in the world. Many of our HCBUs have a long history of conducting research and exchange programs with international partners, including those in Sub-Saharan Africa. By expanding these ties, with an emphasis on economic growth and other development indicators, the HBCU-Africa Partnership Act provides an opportunity to weaken Beijing’s leverage while empowering HBCU students and academics to find solutions to global challenges.
In his role as co-chair of the HBCU Congressional Caucus and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa, Senator Scott has:

  • Secured passage of the HBCU PARTNERS Act, which was signed into law in 2020. 
  • Championed the John Lewis Fellowship Act—legislation named for civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis to create a fellowship within the Fulbright Program for the study of nonviolent civil rights movements—which was included in the Senate-passed Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
  • Promoted HBCU research on critical defense priorities through expanding funding for the DoD’s HBCU and Minority Serving Institutions Program.
  • Hosted seven consecutive Congressional HBCU fly-ins.
  • Fought for the FUTURE’s Act, which was signed into law to provide permanent funding for HBCUs. 
  • Pressed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the Biden administration’s plans to strengthen relations with African partners and combat China’s expanding influence across the continent.
  • Secured language in the FY 2024 NDAA to examine alternative methods to fill long-standing vacancies at U.S. diplomatic posts, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Introduced a resolution expressing concern over the worsening cycle of political violence and suppression of free speech in Eswatini, which was adopted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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