Obama hosts African summit in Washington




With about 50 African leaders coming to town for a summit and massive gala dinner at the White House this week, the Obama administration had to adjust for a last-minute party spoiler: the deadly Ebola virus.

Two West African heads of state, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma, have sent their regrets, choosing instead to stay home and deal with an outbreak that has claimed at least 729 lives and threatens to spread.

Now the Ebola outbreak has necessarily taken a more prominent place in event planning. White House officials stress that they are taking all precautions to screen delegations to ensure the disease does not spread to the U.S.

The timing was unfortunate because it brought unwanted attention to the very kinds of African stereotypes about poverty and disease that the high-profile summit was meant to break. But in organizing the first-of-its kind gathering, the administration is still betting the event will burnish its credentials on U.S.-Africa relations while also broadcasting a hopeful new message about the future of the continent.

Advisors to the president say they want to signal the administration’s growing engagement with the entire continent, emphasizing an inclusive “all-Africa approach” to diplomatic relations.

“The way in which we approach the summit is to view Africa in the way in which Africa views itself in terms of its political organization,” deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes said. “In other words, we didn’t simply do a sub-Saharan African summit. We invited all of Africa.”

The African leaders are expected to come to Washington on Monday with their delegations, security details and motorcades for a three-day summit at the State Department and the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Obama will take part in group discussions and host a White House dinner at which he plans to spend at least a few minutes talking to all heads of state or their emissaries.

Not all African leaders have embraced the mass meet-and-greet approach. To some critics, the size of the event diminishes the importance of individual African countries, and many leaders sought one-on-one meetings with Obama during their stay. But the White House declined the requests to avoid isolating any single country.

Diplomacy can be especially delicate in interactions with African leaders, several of whom have spotty records on democracy and human rights. More than one has been accused of crimes against humanity.


As President Barack Obama hosts the first-ever US Africa summit, which has seen invitations being issued to 50 African leaders, BBC Africa’s Alexis Akwagyiram considers what the US hopes to achieve from the gathering.

Micheal Kimbi Tchenga is excited about the future.

The young civil servant from Limbe, in Cameroon, is in Washington for an address by President Obama.

Mr Tchenga, who has spent the last few months in the US participating in a fellowship programme aimed at nurturing the next generation of African leaders, is in a reflective mood.

“When we came here we discovered that the perception people had of Africa was one of a dark place – a jungle where people are at war and diseases decimate people living in shacks,” he says.

“We’ve had to challenge those views. We are educated and we have good stories that aren’t being told by the Western media.

“Through this opportunity, we’ve been able to showcase those stories and demonstrate that Africa has a voice.”

Mr Tchenga is one of 500 young African students and activists that Mr Obama addressed just days before most of the continent’s leaders descended on the US capital for a three-day summit organised under the theme of “investing in the next generation”.

The US president will hope that his enthusiasm is shared by the continent’s leaders.


ebola yeah..poverty yeah..blah blah..dont be fooled..this is all about the usa staying ahead of china in africa..china cant pull 50 leaders to a meeting in beijing but they do have lots and lots of loot..the battle is well and truly on to win the hearts and minds of these leaders of african countries..


~ by seeker401 on August 5, 2014.

One Response to “Obama hosts African summit in Washington”

  1. Reblogged this on Revolt of the Barbarians.

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