United States–Africa Leaders Summit

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US–Africa Leaders Summit
Host country United States
Date August 4–6, 2014
Motto Investing in the Next Generation
Venue(s) Mandarin Oriental Hotel
White House
Harry S Truman Building
Cities Washington, D.C.
Participants Barack Obama
50 African leaders (incl. 37 HOS)
U.S. Business Executives
Website Official website

The United States–Africa Leaders Summit was an international summit held in Washington D.C. from August 4–6, 2014. Leaders from fifty African states attended the three-day summit, which was hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama. The summit primarily focused on trade, investment and security of the continent.[1]


In 2013, President Obama whilst on a three nation tour of Africa, announced his plans to host a summit of leaders from across Africa.[2] America's annual trade with the continent is about $85 billion compared to China's $200 billion.[3] President Obama in an interview with The Economist, welcomed foreign investment in the continent saying "the more the merrier" and advised African leaders to ensure that local workers benefit from the infrastructure projects and that the roads shouldn't "just lead from the mine, to the port, to Shanghai."[4]


More than two-thirds of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is without electricity. In 2013, Obama launched Power Africa, a $7 billion initiative that will double access to power in SSA over a 5 year period[5]

The summit will focus on trade and investment and will underline the United State's commitment to the continent's people, democracy and security. It will facilitate the discussion on how to deepen this partnership. US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said that new deals worth about $900 million would be announced at the summit.[6]

A number of organisations have written to President Obama to draw particular attention to the rights of LGBT Africans.[7] The Human Rights Campaign and Human Rights First issued a statement urging Obama to include the discrimination against this minority in the agenda and described this summit as a 'once-in-a-generation moment' to promote equality.[8][9] Homosexuality is criminalized in 37 Africans states. It is punishable by death in four countries: Mauritania, Nigeria (states under Sharia law), Somalia and Sudan; and up to life imprisonment in Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Only South Africa grants full marriage equality and constitutional protection against discrimination.[10]


Africa consists of 54 sovereign states; all except Morocco are members of the African Union. Invitations were extended to fifty African leaders who are "in good standing" with both the US and the African Union.[11] Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission was also invited.[12][13] President Obama will meet the leaders "as a group", and not on an individual basis.[14][15] Of the fifty leaders, thirty-seven were Heads of State.[16]

Program of Events[edit]

A Program of Events was released on the White House website. [17] Even though the first ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit was held from Monday August 4th to Wednesday August 6th, there were a great number of side events around the Summit. [18] On Friday August 1st a Signature Event – Faith works: Honoring the contributions of the Faith Community to Peace and Prosperity in Africa took place. This included religious leaders, faith-based organisations, African leaders and U.S. Government officials. The role the faith based community plays in promoting peace, prosperity and development all over Africa was discussed. The U.S.-Africa Leaders were given opportunities to contribute. [19]

August 4th Signature Events – (1) Civil Society Forum; (2) Investing in Women, Peace and Prosperity; (3) Investing in Health: Investing in Africa's Future; (4) Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate; and (5) Combating Wildlife Trafficking. [20] Other events included The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum which was discussed in order to pursue efforts to renew legislation. [21] A Capital Hill Reception was held by the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees to welcome African Leaders in the afternoon. [22]

U.S.-Africa Business Forum[edit]

U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a family photo with African leaders on the final day of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on August 6, 2014.

On August 5th the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies co-hosted the first ever U.S.-Africa Business Forum. [23] The focus was on strengthening trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa. Good morning and welcome remarks were given by Penny Pritzker, United States Secretary of Commerce and Michael Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, Bloomberg L.P. and the 108th Mayor of New York City. The Business Forum was divided into four moderated sessions. Session 1: Expanding Opportunities: The New Era For Business in Africa. Session 1 explored the U.S.-African partnerships and identified new ways to strengthen business ties and enable greater economic progress. Ashish J. Thakkar, Founder and Managing Director of Mara Group welcomed the panel. Bill Clinton 42nd President of the United States and Founder of the Clinton Foundation was the Moderator. The five speakers were: Aliko Dangote, President and CEO Dangote Group, Jeff Immelt, CEO General Electric, Andrew N. Liveris, President, Chairman and CEO The Dow Chemical Company, Phuti Mahanyele CEO Shanduka Group and Doug McMillon President and CEO Walmart Stores Inc. [24] Prior to the second session, remarks were given by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. [25] Session 2: Open Markets: Financing The Africa of Tomorrow. Session 2 explored the trends guiding successful and good governance in African countries, reduction of risks, strengthening investor confidence and increasing availability of U.S. capital to African and U.S. firms intending to partner on the African continent. Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of the Treasury of the United States welcomed the panel. Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank was the Moderator. The six speakers were: Ajay Banga, President and CEO MasterCard, Tony Elumelu, Chairman Heirs Holdings Limited, James Mwangi, CEO Equity Bank Group, David Rubinstein, CEO The Carlyle Group, Sim Tshabalala, Joint CEO Standard Bank and Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation. [26] Session 3: Powering Africa: Leading Developments in Infrastructure. Session 3 explored public-private partnerships, technological innovations and financing tools that are transforming energy, transport and digital infrastructure in Africa. Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group welcomed the panel. Susan Rice, Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor was the Moderator. The five speakers were: Muhtar Kent, Chairman of the Board, CEO Coca Cola Company, Tshepo Mahloele CEO Harith Fund Managers, Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Chairman Econet Wireless, Virginia Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO of IBM and Stephen Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone. Afternoon remarks were given by Joseph Biden, Vice President of the United States. [27] Session 4: Game Plan: Shaping The Future Of A Fast-Growing Continent. Session 4 featured the African Heads of State. The assembled leaders represented the continents five regions. The discussion entailed policies that enable economic growth, intelligent infrastructure and successful private and public partnerships for the present and all the future years ahead. John Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States welcomed the panel. Charlie Rose was the Moderator. The five president speakers were: Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Mohamed Moncef Marzouki, President of the Republic of Tunisia. [28] Remarks were delivered by President Obama[29] and Vice President Biden [30] during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum.

Penny Pritzker and Michael Bloomberg co-wrote to a Forbes Opinion article where they stated that the inaugural U.S.-Africa Business Forum was expected to stimulate $14 Billion worth of business. [31]

In the evening, President Obama and the First Lady hosted a Dinner Reception at the White House for the African Leaders, government and select guests. [32][33]


Summit Leaders Meetings[edit]

On August 6th the Summit Leaders Meetings took place. President Obama and African Leaders engaged in dialogue in three action-oriented sessions that addressed issues of shared common interest and mutual concern.[35] Session 1: Investing in Africa's Future – inclusive sustainable development, economic growth and trade and investment were discussed. Session 2: Peace and Regional Stability – a working lunch centered around long-term solutions to regional conflict, peace keeping challenges and combating transnational threats. Session 3: Governing For The Next Generation – the focus was on how to enhance governance in order to deliver services to citizens and to attract and prepare for increased domestic and foreign direct trade and investment.

The Summit concluded with President Obama holding a press conference. [36] He called the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit "an extraordinary event" [37]

Other events of the final day were: (1) A Spousal Program accompanied by the tag line "Investing in Our Future at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit" hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama in partnership with former First Lady, Laura Bush and the Bush Institute. This day-long spouses symposium which was held at the Kennedy Center focused on the impact of investments in education, health and public-private partnerships. [38] [39] The 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush made an appearance, he sat with the African First Ladies and drew applause when he said "If you're worried about your husbands' political future, taking care of women is good politics. As a proud father and grand father he "is concerned about the future, not less" when it comes to freedom, economic empowerment and health of girls and women around the world.[40] Dr. Jill Biden delivered remarks earlier on [41][42] and also spoke about creating opportunities for young women leaders.[43][44] (2) A Dialogue with African CEO's hosted by Congressman Gregory W. Meeks and the Congressional Black Caucus Africa Task Force entailed panel discussions and networking with African business and political leaders, U.S. private sector representatives and members of congress. [45] [46]


Country Title Leader
 Algeria Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal
 Angola Vice President Manuel Vicente
 Benin President Yayi Boni
 Botswana Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani
 Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré
 Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza
 Cape Verde President Jorge Carlos Fonseca
 Chad President Idriss Déby
 Cameroon President Paul Biya
 Comoros President Ikililou Dhoinine
 Cote d'Ivoire Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan
 Congo–Brazaville President Denis Sassou Nguesso
 Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh
 DR Congo President Joseph Kabila
 Egypt Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab
 Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
 Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
 Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba
 Gambia President Yahya Jammeh
 Ghana President John Dramani Mahama
 Guinea President Alpha Condé
 Guinea-Bissau President José Mário Vaz
 Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta
 Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane
 Liberia Vice President Joseph Boakai
 Libya Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani
 Madagascar President Hery Rajaonarimampianina
 Malawi President Peter Mutharika
 Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta
 Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
 Mauritius Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam
 Morocco Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane
 Mozambique President Armando Guebuza
 Namibia President Hifikepunye Pohamba
 Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou
 Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan
 Rwanda President Paul Kagame
 São Tomé and Príncipe Prime Minister Gabriel Costa
 Senegal President Macky Sall
 Seychelles President James Michel
 Sierra Leone Foreign Minister Samura Kamara
 Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
 South Africa President Jacob Zuma
 South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit
 Swaziland King Mswati III
 Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete
 Togo President Faure Gnassingbe
 Tunisia President Moncef Marzouki
 Uganda President Yoweri Museveni
 Zambia Vice President Guy Scott


Country Head of State Reason
 Algeria President Abdelaziz Bouteflika[47] health reasons
 Angola President José Eduardo dos Santos[47]
 Botswana President Ian Khama[48]
 Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi[49]
 Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf[50] due to an Ebola outbreak
 Morocco King Mohammed VI[51]
 Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma[52] due to an Ebola outbreak
 Zambia President Michael Sata[47] health reasons



At the time of the announcement of the summit in January 2014, the following three states were suspended from the African Union due to their political situation. They have since been re-admitted following the restoration of democracy and rule of law:

  •  Egypt – was suspended from the AU following the 2013 coup d'état. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman stated that this decision was "wrong and short-sighted".[61] Following the successful presidential election in May 2014, the US extended a late invite.[62]
  •  Madagascar – at the time the invitations were sent out, the country was suspended because of the 2009 coup d'état. On 28 January 2014, the AU lifted its sanctions following the successful election[63]


The list of invited leaders includes the following long serving African strongmen:[64][65]

Country Leader In power since
 Angola José Eduardo dos Santos 1979
 Burkina Faso Blaise Compaoré 1987
 Cameroon Paul Biya 1982
 Republic of the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso 1997
 Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo 1979
 Gambia Yahya Jammeh 1994
 Uganda Yoweri Museveni 1986

Human Rights Watch and EG Justice called upon the US to denounce Equatoguinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo's human rights abuses in his country.[66]

The Economic Freedom Fighters, a South African opposition party, objected to the exclusion of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe; it also disagreed with Morocco's inclusion as it continues to "illegally" occupy Western Sahara.[67]


President Obama delivered a personal, six-minute toast at the U.S.-Africa Summit Dinner in which he invoked his African heritage, saying, “I stand before you as the president of the United States and a proud American. I also stand before you as the son of a man from Africa. The blood of Africa runs through our family. And so for us, the bonds between our countries, our continents, are deeply personal.”[68] He announced $20 billion of investment in energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa.[69] Through the Office of The Press Secretary, the White House released a number of Fact Sheets pertaining to the outcome of the United States-Africa Leaders Summit.


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External links[edit]