Power play: Mauritius Prime Minister attends dinner hosted by President Obama
Also, in a speech at the US-Africa business summit on 05 August 14, President Obama disclosed that the US is making a major and long term investment of USD 33 billion in Africa’s progress. (Image: State Photos)
Mauritius’ Prime Minister, Navin Ramgoolam, attended a dinner hosted by US President Barack Obama and First lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday 05 August 14 in honour of the Heads of State and Government of African countries, at the sidelines of the first Africa-US Leaders summit in Washington DC.
During the course of the day, the Prime Minister also participated in a series of working sessions attended by President Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, mainly focused on new opportunities in Africa, the opening of new markets and the future of the continent.
Also, in a speech at the US-Africa business summit on the same day, President Obama disclosed that the US is making a major and long term investment of USD 33 billion in Africa’s progress, saying that he will strive to increase the US’ economic footprint in the continent.
He said, “Through our Trade Africa initiative, we would increase our investment to help our African partners build their own capacity to trade, to strengthen regional markets, make borders more efficient and modernize the customs system. We want to get African goods moving faster within Africa as well as outside of Africa.”
The President also stressed on human resources being the greatest strength of Africa, stating that “we don’t look to Africa simply for its natural resources; we recognize Africa for its greatest resource, which is its people and its talents and their potential.”
He went on to make reference to a contingent of 500 young Africans who have been in the country on the Young Africans Leaders Initiative (YALI) tour, with whom he had a town hall meeting last week.
Obama said, “We want to make sure that all that talent is tapped and they have the access to capital and the networks and the markets that they need to succeed. Because if they succeed, the countries in which they live will succeed; they will create jobs, they will create growth, they will create opportunities.”
The US President further announced the extension of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) adding that American companies will be encouraged to become more involved in the development of Africa.
The AGOA has contributed to the creation of more than 1 million jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa and more than 100,000 American jobs.
In addition, trade has more than tripled since AGOA`s enactment in 2000, and US direct investment in Africa has grown almost six-fold.
Not only has AGOA enhanced trade, investment, and job creation throughout the continent, but it has also served to strengthen democratic institutions across Africa.
However, while US-Africa trade may have doubled from about USD 50 billion in the early 2000s to USD 110 billion in 2013, it is still playing catch-up with China.
The Asian economy`s trade with Africa exceeded USD 200 billion last year, and it is believed that the US is now soliciting African business opportunities as China has shown the way and the US is coming around to recognizing the fast-growing continent’s potential.
Following the discussions at the US-Africa Leaders’ summit, the United States will take concrete measures to increase trade in Africa, enabling the continent to modernize its infrastructure and expand the services of electrical supply to reach maximum citizens.