President Obama’s Landmark US-Africa Summit (The New York Times Editorial)

Obama and Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.(Photo: Getty Images)

The New York Times


President Obama’s Africa Push

One major purpose of President Obama’s landmark White House summit meeting on Africa last week was to advertise this often underrated continent’s economic potential and ensure it a brighter future. But determined follow-through will be required if the aspirations of the president and more than 40 African heads of state who were his guests are to be realized and Africa is to satisfy its promise as the world’s last big economic frontier.

Despite the event’s heavy focus on trade and investment, African leaders could not completely ignore (even though some tried) the manifold challenges — conflict, corruption and disease — that still confront them. The ability to achieve real and sustained prosperity will be compromised if such problems are not addressed as robustly as efforts to land lucrative business contracts.

The summit meeting, a mix of plenary sessions and elaborate dinners that also included leaders of major American corporations, was a determined, and splashy, initiative by Mr. Obama to stake a claim for the United States against other countries doing business there, especially China, which is investing heavily in infrastructure projects and using Africa as a source of vital oil and metals. It was also an opportunity to counter critics who say he has devoted insufficient attention to the land where his Kenyan father was born. Billions of dollars in deals and projects were announced, including an expansion of Mr. Obama’s Power Africa initiative, which aims to bring electricity to 60 million houses and businesses, up from a goal of 20 million announced last year.

Read more at NYT »

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