US-Africa Leaders’ Summit, Why US?
People in Africa are becoming more aware of their importance to the rest of the world, as more and more investors are trooping to Africa as the destination of investment, with Nigeria topping the list of countries of interest.
To boost development in the African continent, the US held a summit with African leaders in the first week of August and several business and development partnerships were established.
Why the US? Is a question many have continue to ponder over.
Since China started partnering with African countries, the US’s investment relationship with the African continent has dropped and at the summit, it was obvious that there was need for more partnership between America and the continent.
At the first ever US-Africa Leaders Summit, hosted by President Barack Obama, over 40 African leaders sat to discuss the new partnership proposed by the US.
With the theme, “Investing in Africa’s Future” ringing through the US-Africa Business Forum, the US Government explained why the partnership would be a win-win situation for both sides.
“We don’t look to Africa simply because of its natural resources. We recognise Africa for its greatest resource which is its people and its talent and their potential.
“We don’t simply want to extract minerals from their ground for our growth, we want to build genuine partnership to create jobs and opportunity for all our peoples and then unleash the next era of African growth. That is the kind of partnership America offers,” President Obama said while addressing the leaders.
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, also stressed that Africa had the fastest growing economies in the world, and that with an anxiety to grab the future, America and Africa should do more together.
“We have to partner to invest in the next generation. To create good jobs for the young Africans, to build a stronger middle class, to provide families with clean power and clean water, to build societies where an open exchange of ideas and information are the defining hallmark,” Mr Kerry said..
Africa’s two main challenges have remained power and infrastructure development and millions have been spent to push the power sector and build infrastructures, but not much achievement has been made.
African leaders in the summit, however, maintained that they do not want the continent to be taken for granted.
“To put our view to the United State, we would want an extension of a goal so that we could have a better kind of relationship between us. We now have an experience that we can discuss better as to what we have to do to better, consolidate and enhance our relations,” South African President, Jacob Zuma, said, referring to the summit as an opportunity that came at the opportune time.
During a press briefing at the end of the summit, US President announced that the US and Africa would be partnering in health and security, two other areas posing huge challenges to Africa.
“The United States will provide additional equipment to African peacekeepers in Somalia and the Central African Republic. We will support the African Union’s efforts to strengthen its peacekeeping institutions and most importantly, we are launching a new African peacekeeping rapid response partnership, with the goal of quickly deploying African peacekeepers in support of UN or AU missions.
“We are looking forward to seeing all the great things you will do when you go back home,” Obama said, stressing the need for agreements to
Agreements have been reached and partnership has been entered into, but critics have stressed that until African governments tackle corruption no meaning growth or development may be recorded.