US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington DC – August 4-6, 2014

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US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington DC – August 4-6, 2014 Empty US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington DC – August 4-6, 2014

Post  Sirop14 on Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:48 am

US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington DC – August 4-6, 2014

Africa optimistic for strong partnership

Seychelles like the rest of Africa have welcomed the first US-Africa Leaders Summit aimed at fostering stronger business ties and promoting the President Michel with President Obama and wife Michelle Obama at the White (Photo: White House) positive side of Africa.

President James Michel, who was in attendance, lauded United States President Barack Obama for the initiative to host African leaders to a summit.

President Michel described the summit as “a new beginning” and “the start of a new era of cooperation between the United States of America and the African continent”.

Said President Michel at the end of the three-day meeting from August 4-6, 2014 in Washington DC: “The US has decided to accompany Africa in its development and during the summit US President Barack Obama discussed with African leaders present in which direction this partnership should be heading.”

The summit ended with billions of dollars of investment and financing pledges, and the establishment of a number of partnerships aimed at countering terrorism and creating favourable environments for trade.

Bringing together more than 50 African political and business leaders, the summit was seen as a positive step towards expanding business opportunities in Africa and was also seen as a chance for African leaders to build strong and transparent institutions and governance structures conducive to supporting foreign investment.

To support this growth, US President Barack Obama announced US $7 billion in new financing to promote US exports to and investments in Africa, while American companies announced US $14 billion in new deals in clean energy, aviation, banking and construction. In addition, Obama's Power Africa initiative received US $12 billion in new commitments from private sector partners, the World Bank and the government of Sweden.

Although the relationship between Africa and the US had been good, the summit has reshaped it and has taken it to another level, with many opportunities for further development of this relationship and it augurs well for cooperation for mutual benefit in the future.

Many are excited by the interest shown by American leadership towards Africa, which is focused on mutual gains from trade and investment rather than donor aid.

President Michel is among those who believe in this line of thought and he had this to say: “I believe that with new global issues, the US has moved away from crisis management and giving aid to working in partnership with African countries. And this is what I, personally, have been advocating for some years now. In a globalised world, we need to work in partnership and create opportunities. President Obama’s proposal that American businesses invest in Africa and help African countries develop their raw potentials in different areas has been welcomed by the African leaders. These include areas like infrastructure development, agriculture for food security, and the ongoing African Energy programme. These investments will deepen US economic engagement in Africa, fueling growth that will support broader African prosperity and emerging markets for US businesses.”

Meanwhile in his intervention at the summit, President Michel placed a lot of emphasis on the blue economy and said he hopes the US with its expertise in oceanographic researches can help Seychelles map out its blue economy plan. The same can be done in the region which can become a model for the rest of the world.

“It is this same concept that Seychelles will be bringing up during the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States from September 1-4, 2014 in Samoa. During my intervention at the US-Africa leaders summit I also placed emphasis on the plight of small island states of Africa. Africa is not only the mainland Africa but is also made up of African islands. These islands should not be marginalised as we develop the concept of partnership,” added President Michel who noted that because the islands are small and don't have the economies of scale, they should not be left aside.

In the margins of the summit, President Michel also met Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

With President Kenyatta, President Michel discussed maritime security, fisheries, tourism and trade.

President Michel said the meeting opened a new chapter to the cooperation between the two countries.

"Seychelles and Kenya have strong historical links, we are neighbours with common borders and we can develop strong partnerships in the blue economy such as in the fisheries sector as well as encouraging the private sector to develop its shipping lines so that trade can increase between us," said President Michel.

President Kenyatta said he strongly believes that Kenya and Seychelles would develop stronger ties for mutual benefit of the two countries. He said Kenya is keen to increase cooperation in maritime security as well as agriculture, education and tourism.

After meeting the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, President Michel said that Seychelles and Ethiopia enjoy excellent relations and would work towards developing collaboration at different levels.

Mr Michel said that the return of Ethiopian Airlines to Seychelles would boost economic cooperation such as trade and tourism.

"I believe that the time has come for us to strengthen our relations both bilaterally and at the level of the African Union. There is so much we can do together," said President Michel.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister said that his country would welcome investors from Seychelles for mutual benefit.

They also discussed security in the region, in particular piracy issues and terrorism, as well as the possibility of Seychelles exporting fish to Ethiopia and working on capacity building in the fisheries sector.

The creation of a Seychelles-Ethiopia joint commission was also discussed.


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