U.S.-AFRICA SUMMIT 2014: Preview

(Image courtesy: The White House)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – In early August U.S. President Barack Obama will host a historic summit, the first ever gathering of heads of state from across the African continent in Washington, D.C. to discuss the future of the relationship between the United States and Africa. A diplomatic relationship formally began under President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 when the first American diplomatic mission to the African continent arrived in Ethiopia to sign a commercial treaty with Emperor Menelik II.

The White House notes that during the upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Obama will not hold any one-on-one meetings with heads of state. Instead, the administration will engage guests in group sessions focusing on various topics. The President and First Lady Michelle Obama will also host a dinner at The White House.

“This Summit, the largest event any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government, will build on the President’s trip to Africa in the summer of 2013 and it will strengthen ties between the United States and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions,” the White House announced. “Specifically, the August 4-6 Summit will advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.” The press release adds: “At the same time, it will highlight the depth and breadth of the United States’ commitment to the African continent, advance our shared priorities and enable discussion of concrete ideas to deepen the partnership. At its core, this Summit is about fostering stronger ties between the United States and Africa.”

The theme of the Summit is “Investing in the Next Generation.”

“Focusing on the next generation is at the core of a government’s responsibility and work, and this Summit is an opportunity to discuss ways of stimulating growth, unlocking opportunities, and creating an enabling environment for the next generation,” the announcement stated. “Throughout the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, African leaders will have an opportunity to engage with President Obama, his Cabinet members, and other key leaders, including business executives from the U.S. and Africa, Members of Congress, and members of civil society.”

The Summit agenda includes “key areas that Africans define as critical for the future of the continent” such as trade and investment ties, engaging young African leaders, promoting inclusive sustainable development, expanding cooperation on peace and security, and gaining a better future for Africa’s next generation.

“President Obama invited all African heads of state or governments in good standing with the United States and the African Union to attend the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. An invitation was also extended to the African Union Chairperson.”

Below is a description of events:

AUGUST 4 – Signature Events
The Summit will include six U.S. Government-sponsored “Signature Events,” allowing for in-depth conversations on some of the most pressing issues facing the U.S.-Africa partnership. These sessions will set the stage for the high-level discussions that President Obama will chair during the subsequent Summit leader meetings.

1) Faith Works
2) Civil Society Forum
3) Investing in Women, Peace, and Prosperity
4) Investing in Health: Investing in Africa’s Future
5) Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate
6) Combating Wildlife Trafficking

AGOA Forum
To further demonstrate our commitment to the sustainable economic growth and development in Africa U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will host the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Ministerial at the World Bank. African and U.S. trade officials will discuss the future of the AGOA program and U.S. plans to pursue renewal of AGOA legislation.

Capitol Hill Reception
The Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees will host a welcome reception for African leaders on Capitol Hill in the afternoon.

AUGUST 5
U.S.-Africa Business Forum
On August 5, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on strengthening trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa. President Obama will participate in the Business Forum along with Secretary Pritzker and Mayor Bloomberg, as will other senior U.S. government officials. Held at the Mandarin Oriental, in Washington, D.C., the U.S.-Africa Business Forum will intensify efforts to strengthen trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa and seek to create partnerships that will promote trade, accelerate job growth, and encourage investment. The Forum will focus on U.S. private sector engagement in Africa in the areas of finance and capital investment; infrastructure; power and energy; agriculture; consumer goods; and information and communication technology. African leaders will engage with business executives from both sides of the Atlantic to engage in conversations about successes and solutions to increase trade with and invest in Africa. President Obama will participate in the conversation with CEOs and government leaders from the United States and Africa.

White House Dinner on the occasion of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
On the evening of August 5, President and Mrs. Obama will host a dinner at the White House for African heads of state and government and select guests.

AUGUST 6
Summit Leader Meetings
African leaders and President Obama will engage in dialogue in three action-oriented sessions that will address issues of shared interest and mutual concern.

Leader Session I – Investing in Africa’s Future
The opening session will discuss inclusive, sustainable development, economic growth, and trade and investment.

Leader Session II – Peace and Regional Stability
A working lunch centered around shared concerns regarding peace and security, including a discussion of long-term solutions to regional conflicts, peacekeeping challenges, and combating transnational threats.

Leader Session III – Governing for the Next Generation
This session will allow for a candid conversation about the greatest challenges and opportunities for Africa’s continued political and economic progress and a specific focus on governance. This session will focus on how to enhance governance in order to deliver services to citizens, attract and prepare for increased domestic and foreign direct investment, manage transnational threats, and stem the flow of illicit finance.

Leader Press Conferences

Spousal Program
On August 6, First Lady Michelle Obama, in partnership with former First Lady Laura Bush and the Bush Institute, will host a day-long spouses symposium at the Kennedy Center focused on the impact of investments in education, health, and public-private partnerships.

Side Events
In order to leverage the presence in Washington, D.C. of so many African leaders as well as the intense interest in U.S.-Africa ties that the Summit has engendered, a number of non government actors – the private sector and non-profit organizations — are organizing events along the margins to coincide with the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative)
President Obama launched the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in 2010 to support young leaders with opportunities and resources. Through YALI, the United States is committing significant resources to enhance leadership skills, bolster entrepreneurship, and connect young African leaders with one another, with the United States, and with the American people. Investing in the next generation of African leaders is critical to ensuring the success of Africa’s democracies and its economies.

The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the exchange program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). This program brings over 500 young leaders to the United States each year, beginning in 2014, for leadership training, academic coursework, and mentoring. It also creates unique opportunities in Africa, through internships and follow-on opportunities, to put those new skills to practical use in propelling economic growth and prosperity and strengthening democratic institutions. To be part of the YALI Network, follow @YALINetwork on Twitter or find us on Facebook.

For more information on YALI, please visit YoungAfricanLeaders.state.gov.

Related:
Transport Chiefs From Five Countries to Visit Chicago Ahead of U.S.-Africa Summit
Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

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