United States–Africa Leaders Summit
|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (August 2014)|
|US–Africa Leaders Summit|
|Host country||United States|
|Date||August 4–6, 2014|
|Motto||Investing in the Next Generation|
|Venue(s)||Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Harry S Truman Building
50 African leaders (incl. 37 HOS)
U.S. Business Executives
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.
On July 31, 2014, just days before the Summit, there was an On-the-Record-Conference Press Call, the discussions and details of the conference which afforded enormous insight into the Summit in advance were released by the White House Office of the Press Secretary. The participants were (1) Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications; (2) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; and (3) Gayle Smith, Senior Director for Development and Democracy at the National Security Council.
In 2013, President Obama whilst on a three-nation tour of Africa, announced his plans to host a summit of leaders from across Africa. America's annual trade with the continent is about $85 billion compared to China's $200 billion. 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."
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.
A number of organisations have written to President Obama to draw particular attention to the rights of LGBT Africans. 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. 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.
A Program of Events was released on the White House website. Even though the first ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit was held from Monday August 4 to Wednesday August 6, there were a great number of side events around the Summit. On Friday August 1 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.
August 4 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. Other events included The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum which was discussed in order to pursue efforts to renew legislation. A Capital Hill Reception was held by the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees to welcome African Leaders in the afternoon.
US–Africa Business Forum
On August 5 the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies co-hosted the first ever U.S.-Africa Business Forum. 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. Prior to the second session, remarks were given by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. 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 Rubenstein, CEO The Carlyle Group, Sim Tshabalala, Joint CEO Standard Bank and Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation. 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 The 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. 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. Remarks were delivered by President Obama and Vice President Biden  during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum.
Summit Leaders Meetings
On August 6 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. 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.
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. 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. Dr. Jill Biden delivered remarks earlier on  and also spoke about creating opportunities for young women leaders. (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. 
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. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission was also invited. President Obama will meet the leaders "as a group", and not on an individual basis. Of the fifty leaders, thirty-seven were Heads of State.
- Central African Republic – interim President Catherine Samba-Panza was not invited as her country is currently suspended from the African Union (AU) following the 2013 coup d'état. An election will be held in February 2015.
- Eritrea – President Isaias Afwerki was excluded and the White House cited the UN sanction on the country and its refusal to accept full diplomatic relations with the U.S.
- Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara) – President Mohamed Abdelaziz was omitted as the U.S. does not recognize his country.
- Sudan – President Omar al-Bashir was excluded as he is indicted at the International Criminal Court, which also issued an arrest warrant for him. The Department of State lists Sudan as one of the state sponsors of terrorism. The Sudanese government criticized its exclusion. The Deputy Speaker disagreed with the U.S. stance on her country.
- Zimbabwe – A U.S. official[who?] was reported to have said that President Robert Mugabe was not invited because he is currently on the list of the Specially Designated Nationals. Information Minister Jonathan Moyo dismissed the summit as a "non-event" saying that the U.S. was afraid of China. Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, was quoted to have said that they were not bothered as the "world is larger than America."
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". Following the successful presidential election in May 2014, the US extended a late invite.
- Guinea-Bissau – was suspended following the 2012 coup d'état Election was held in April 2014.
- 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
|Country||Leader||In power since|
|Angola||José Eduardo dos Santos||1979|
|Burkina Faso||Blaise Compaoré||1987|
|Republic of the Congo||Denis Sassou Nguesso||1997|
|Equatorial Guinea||Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo||1979|
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.
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.” He announced $20 billion of investment in energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa.
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. On August 4, 2014, FACTSHEET: Investing in African Trade for Our Common Future was released. It clarified strategies pertaining to the renewal and update of the African Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA), synergies through aligning assistance, improving infrastructure to enhance competitiveness, strengthen trade capacity and creation of new African markets. On August 5, 2014, FACTSHEET: The Doing Business in Africa Campaign (DBIA) was released. The emphasis was on the United States' commitment to strengthen its ties and commercial relationship with Africa. The Fact Sheet clarified this new commitment to expand the Doing Business in Africa Campaign: "At today’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum, President Obama announced $7 billion in new financing to promote U.S. exports to and investments in Africa under the DBIA Campaign. U.S. companies announced new deals in clean energy, aviation, banking, and construction worth more than $14 billion, in addition to $12 billion in new commitments under the President’s Power Africa initiative from private sector partners, the World Bank, and the government of Sweden. Taken together, these new commitments amount to more than $33 billion, supporting economic growth across Africa and tens of thousands of U.S. jobs." In addition, the Fact Sheet emphasized the President's Executive Order to create a Presidential Advisory Council on DBIA and new U.S. Government resources to support U.S. exports and investments in Africa.
Other Materials, Outcomes and Fact Sheets directly related to the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit were: (1) U.S.-Africa Cooperation in Advancing Gender Equality  (2) U.S.-African Cooperation on Global Health (3) Shared Investment in Youth  (4) U.S.-African Cooperation on Food Security  (5) U.S. Engagement on Climate Change and Resilience in Africa  (6) U.S. Support for Democratic Institutions, Good Governance and Human Rights in Africa  (7) U.S. Support for Combating Wildlife Trafficking  (8) Powering Africa: Increasing Access to Power in Sub-Saharan Africa  (9) Investments Announced at Symposium for African Spouses Hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and Former First Lady Laura Bush. "More than $200 million committed to programs that will empower more than 1 million people in Africa."  (10) U.S. Support for Peacekeeping in Africa  (11) Security Governance Initiative  (12) Partnering to Counter Terrorism in Africa 
The White House Press Office released a Statement by the Chair of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Topics covered were the Summit's Background; Investing in Africa's Future; Advancing Peace and Regional Stability; Governing for the Next Generation; Investing in Women for Peace and Prosperity; and, Providing Skills and Opportunities to the Youth. In closing, it was duly noted that President Obama announced that the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit would be a recurring event.
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