50 African Presidents in Washington to meet Obama

Cameroon President Paul Biya and his wife, Chantal, arrive for the US-African summit. It is not yet known if the hair cleared customs.

By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
5 August 2014

Fifty African Heads of State are in Washington attending a three day US-Africa summit being hosted by President Barack Obama.

Despite reports that some Presidents were contemplating boycotting the event in solidarity with President Robert Mugabe, who has been excluded from the talks, all those invited are in attendance.

Economic analyst Luke Zunga told us it would have been suicidal for any country on the continent to have missed such an opportunity to ‘wine and dine’ with most powerful leader on earth.

‘This summit will allow the African leaders to engage with President Obama, his cabinet members and other key leaders, including business executives from the US and Africa, members of congress, and members of civil society,’ Zunga said.

Only four leaders were snubbed by the US and these are from Zimbabwe, Sudan, Eritrea and the Central African Republic. The summit started on Monday and will end on Wednesday.

A statement released from the White House on Tuesday said President Obama is working to strengthen ties with Africa at the three day summit. The leaders will discuss issues to do with security, health, economics and corruption.

Zunga said the key thing from the summit is Obama’s resolve to strengthen ties between the US and the African continent which is seen as the most dynamic and fastest growing region in the world.

‘Obama is on record saying he wants to use the summit to focus on trade and investment in Africa and highlight his country’s commitment to the continent’s security, its democratic development, and its people. At its core, this Summit is about fostering stronger ties between the United States and Africa,’ added Zunga.

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