US-Africa relationship a ‘partnership of equals’

2014-08-06 19:21

“Africa’s rise means an opportunity for all of us,” says US President Barack Obama.

Obama told the US-Africa Leaders Summit at the US State Department in Washington DC today that the relationship between the United States and Africa should be a “partnership of equals”.

The opportunity presented by Africa’s rise included transforming the relationship between the US and Africa, he told the heads of state and representatives from 50 African countries.

At the US-Africa business summit yesterday, Obama announced millions of dollars in US investment in Africa.

The $33 billion in new investments from private sector and government agencies that he announced, included $12 billion in addition to the money already pledged for Africa’s power sector.

There was also another $14 billion in investment deals, and $7 billion in loans to support US exports to Africa.

Obama tried to sell the US as a partner to Africa, contrasting his country with those who “simply want to extract minerals from the ground”.

This can be interpreted as a quiet dig at China, which over the past decade has overtaken the US as Africa’s leading trading partner doing more than double the trade the US does.

“The bottom line is that the United States is making a major long-term investment in African progress,” Obama said, “that will support development across Africa and jobs in the United States.”

The summit yesterday discussed investment, peacekeeping, and governance, which included US assistance for the African Union’s interim standby force, which has to be ready by October. South Africa’s defence force is the first that has volunteered to be on standby but it is as yet unclear where the funding will come from.

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