U.S.-Africa Leaders Issue Wish Lists, Summit Adds Last-Minute Event

Avatar
Written by D.A. Barber

Though the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit was billed to run Aug. 4-6, a “last-minute” event was added this morning, described as the summit’s “first official event — another indication that the summit is still a work in progress at this late date.

The “Faith Works: Honoring the Contributions of the Faith Community to Peace and Prosperity in Africa” session is set to bring together “a diverse cross-section of religious leaders and faith-based organizations, U.S. Government officials, and African leaders to recognize the significant role the faith community plays in advancing peace, prosperity, and development throughout Africa.”

The event, hosted by U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah, is taking place at Washington’s Pavilion Room in the Ronald Reagan Building and includes Bishop of Baltimore Denis J. Madden, Senior Director of ​the National Security Council Gayle Smith, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Melissa Rogers, and South African Ambassador to the U.S. Ebrahim Rassoul.

As an indication that next week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit is still a work in progress at this late date, the “Faith Works” event is also “an opportunity for the faith community to provide input into the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.”

African Leaders Issue Wish Lists

Meanwhile, as non-summit side events continue for the arriving African leaders, several issued statements through the White House Summit website prior to next week’s summit events.

Here is a sampling of the national statements released in advance of the summit by participating countries whose leaders hope to spark an open discussion and exchange of ideas on issues that concern them.

Jorge Carlos de Almeida FONSECA, President of the Republic of Cabo Verde:

“Cabo Verde and the U.S. must forge paths of convergence and complementarily strive for greater political and cultural exchange and a willingness to participate in the fulfillment of the legitimate aspirations of their respective peoples – in short, openly invest in the enhancement and expansion of relations between the two countries and peoples. And taking into account the fact that bilateral relations between the two sovereign states constitute the result of the priorities and directives guiding their respective foreign policies, it becomes imperative to identify the elements able to aid in the fulfillment of the goal of deepening the existing historical relations.”

H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh, Djibouti Head of State and Government:

“This Summit is coming at a crucial moment. It is a positive step in the right direction, where the African and American perspectives are expected to intersect on a host of issues, including peace and security and the future development of Africa.”

“My country has committed itself to using by 2020 a 100-percent green energy based on electric power generated mainly through geothermal and hydro. Geothermal energy resource is abundant in Djibouti but has yet to be exploited. The country is ready to take on board American investors. We have the necessary legal instruments in place to make their participation in such a project a profitable and secure one.”

National statement from the Ghana government:

“Ghana believes that the Summit provides an opportunity for the U.S. to deepen its engagement with Africa, and work closely with African Leaders to jointly address the challenges which continue to hinder Africa’s accelerated development and sustained growth. Ghana further welcomes the convening of this summit as we believe that it affords the Obama administration the opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic transformation and economic development, at both the regional and sub-regional levels.”

“It is reassuring to have the U.S. government pledge to enhance its partnership with Africa and to work with governments across the continent to address shared priorities. A large part of the task ahead would be to expand economic opportunities and enlarge the political space in our countries on the principles of popular participation, rule of law and respect for human rights. This is what all of Africa pledged to do in the Constitutive Act of African Union. I believe these values must remain at the center of governance in Africa, if we are to achieve our goals of stability, security and development.”

Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal:

“Senegal welcomes this meeting for its importance in the new global context, which sees Africa embarking on the growth and emergence path, but especially for the opportunities this summit could offer to both parties.”

“The second is that there is a vast potential for partnership, largely untapped, between Africa and the U.S. I therefore insist on partnership rather than assistance. It is not the mission of our partners, including the U.S., to develop Africa through aid. Africans themselves are in charge of their own destiny. And Africa has sufficient human and natural resources to achieve such a goal.”

“I hope that the Washington summit will feature interactive and pragmatic discussions that will lead us to action-oriented outcomes.”

National statement from the Nigerian government:

“It is reassuring to have the U.S. government pledge to enhance its partnership with Africa and to work with governments across the continent to address shared priorities. A large part of the task ahead would be to expand economic opportunities and enlarge the political space in our countries on the principles of popular participation, rule of law and respect for human rights. This is what all of Africa pledged to do in the Constitutive Act of African Union. I believe these values must remain at the center of governance in Africa, if we are to achieve our goals of stability, security and development.”

Submitted on behalf of President James Alix Michel, President of the Republic of Seychelles:

“The organization of this summit gives us the timely opportunity to move beyond the stale image of a relationship based on aid, crisis management and unequal trade, investment and development.”

“This summit is also occasion to celebrate the values that Africa and the U.S. share: first and foremost, the value that we place in human dignity.”

“We come to this summit with a message of confidence: confidence in the U.S. as an engaged partner in building a safer, more stable world where wealth and opportunity can be shared more evenly. And confidence in what Africa and the U.S. can achieve together if we join forces to work for security, freedom and prosperity in the world.”

Faure E. Gnassingbé, President of the Togolese Republic:

“I would like to thank President Obama and the American people for taking this initiative to host the inaugural U.S.-Africa Leaders’ summit. Togo and the U.S. may appear to have little in common. The U.S. is a vast country with substantial wealth. My own nation is half the size of the New York City area with a smaller population. What the Togolese share with the people of America is intangible, but fundamental — a high regard for freedom, peace and diversity. These values underpin both our societies.”

“Much of what we will discuss with investors, U.S. companies and the government of the U.S. over the course of this summit will be geared towards finding partnerships to address Africa’s infrastructural deficits and our mutual socio-economic needs. Joint cooperation must also address our peace and security needs. Failure to do so would present the single greatest threat to our partnership. Through cooperation with the U.S., we stand to gain from your invaluable experience in the prioritization of peace and stability as a cornerstone of development.”