Equal dialogue at Obama summit shows Africa’s starting to emerge

2014-08-07 11:13

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has admitted that African delegations came to President Barack Obama’s United States-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington DC this week, not knowing what to expect.

Briefing journalists shortly after the summit ended last night, Davies admitted: “We came here and we did not exactly know what we were going to get. It wasn’t clear in advance.”

He added, however, that what had come out of the summit was “generally positive”.

The practice with big summits like the one held this week is to negotiate outcomes beforehand and to issue a declaration.

The lack of a declaration or summit communiqué had been criticised by some countries and there were fears that the summit would be reduced to a talk shop.

Responding to a question whether the summit had meant relations between the US and Africa had become those of equals as opposed to the one asking for aid and the other imposing conditions, Davies had said it was different to how things had been 10 years before.

“It was a more equal dialogue than before. This is an important sign that Africa is starting to emerge and that is why many of us welcomed this summit,” he said.

At a press conference yesterday afternoon, Obama said he wanted to see a repeat of the summit and would convince his successor to continue hosting it.

The Americans had announced $33 billion (about R355 billion) in new trade and investment in African countries. It has also pledged more money for Obama’s Power Africa initiative of providing electricity to more houses. The aim is to take power to 60 million African homes.

» City Press’ trip to Washington DC was partly funded by the US State Department.

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