It Used to be What US Can Do for Africa, Now It’s What US Can Do with Africa

Representatives from various African nations gather at the opening session of the AGOA Forum during the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC on Monday, August 4th, 2014. (Reuters/VOA News)

Independent Online

By Kuseni Dlamini

Speaking Africa’s language

The inaugural US-Africa Leaders Summit marked a turning point in relations between the two in general and US economic diplomacy towards the continent in particular. The summit was a historic moment, indicative of President Barack Obama’s determination to reset the relationship between Africa and the US from being paternalistic and transactional to being strategic and mutually beneficial.

As Obama indicated in his eloquent address to the Business Forum, “in the past it used to be about what the US can do for Africa. Now it’s about what the US can do with Africa”.

We need to grow and develop the continent in such a way that the US and the world ask what Africa can do for the US and the world.

Africa has the right combination of natural and human resources (youthful and energetic population) to be a first-world continent, provided it does what is necessary. US-Africa relations are in a state of flux for the right strategic reasons.

The world has taken note of Africa’s inexorable rise. So has the US.

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