US-Africa Leaders’ Summit: Obama committed to tackle issues faced by Africa
Africa is a fundamental part of our interconnected world – and is partners with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children, said US President Barack Obama at the summit. (Image: GNA)
President Obama is hosting leaders of nearly 50 African nations in Washington DC for a three-day summit which ends tomorrow, August 6, 2014, in a move that is the first for any US President and reaches out to the fast-growing continent on an unprecedented scale.
The US-Africa Leaders’ Summit is built on the issues observed from President Obama’s seven-day trip to Africa and it comes after Ghana has said it will seek financial aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help strengthen the West African nation’s currency, which has been one of the world’s worst performing currencies this year so far.
The focus of the summit, held on the theme ‘Investing in the Next Generation,’ is on trade and investment and highlights American commitment to many African issues including security, health, food, environment and civil society engagement.
The main objective of this summit is to foster stronger ties between US and Africa, together with emphasis on the depth and breadth of the United States’ commitment to the African continent, advance United States’ shared priorities and promote discussion of concrete ideas to deepen the partnership.
The summit is an opportunity to host discussions centred on ways of boosting growth, unlocking opportunities, and creating an enabling environment for the next generation.
“I do not see the countries and peoples of Africa as a world apart; I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world – partners with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children. That partnership must be grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect,” President Obama reiterated.
The first summit session focused on inclusive and sustainable development, economic growth and trade and investment and the second day is expected to see the US-Africa Business Forum being convened alongside discussions on long-term solutions to regional conflicts, peacekeeping strategies and combating transnational threats.
The third day will focus on enhancing governance to deliver public services; attracting increased domestic and foreign investment; managing transnational threats; and stemming the flow of illicit finance.
Additionally, the summit will feature six signature events focused on issues such as civil society, women’s empowerment, food security, global health, wildlife trafficking, and the contributions of faith communities.
Moreover, billions of dollars in new funding is expected to be announced for Power Africa during the summit, whose goal is to add 10,000 megawatts of generation capacity and 20 million new electric customers in Africa by 2018.
Incidentally, private industry has already committed a whopping USD 7 billion to the program since it was announced last year by President Obama.
According to the White House, Africa represents vast potential for America as home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies and a rapidly expanding middle class.
China surpassed the US in 2009 as Africa’s largest trading partner; hence, it is also believed that one of the reasons motivating the summit is that the US is competing for those consumers with China.
While China, Europe and Japan have all held similar events to encourage investment in Africa, but the White House denies its Africa Summit is in response to increasing investment in Africa from China.
Unfortunately, the presidents of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are not present at the summit because of an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, which caused the death of 800 people.
Besides, Ben Rhodes, a deputy White House national security adviser, added that the US did not invite certain countries that are not in good standing with the African Union or are of particular concern to the US – Zimbabwe, Sudan, Eritrea and the Central African Republic.