While China and Turkey have ramped up their investments in the continent, Obama is gathering nearly 50 African heads of state in Washington for an unprecedented summit aimed at building his legacy on Africa
As President Barack Obama immerses himself in talks on Africa's regional security, democracy building and business investment this week, the world's attention and much of his own will be on an extraordinary array of urgent overseas crises. Obama is gathering nearly 50 African heads of state in Washington for an unprecedented summit aimed in part at building his legacy on a continent where his commitment has been questioned.
But recent world event emphasize how hard it is for the president to focus attention on areas that he chooses to promote. As the conference begins yesterday, a number of international crises are competing for his attention.
Among them: Gaza clashes, Russia's provocations in Ukraine and mounting extremism in Iraq, to name just a few. An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa also threatens to cast a shadow over the summit, with leaders from at least two affected countries canceling plans to travel to Washington and the U.S. setting up medical screenings for other officials arriving from those nations. "It's the nature of the world we live in today where there are multiple crises at any time," said Witney Schneidman, the former deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs. "But that should not paralyze us from moving forward on key areas to advance our interests." White House officials say the American interests in Africa are immense.
The continent is home to some of the world's fastest growing economies and a rapidly expanding middle class. The U.S. is also competing for those consumers with China, which surpassed the United States in 2009 as Africa's largest trading partner. "The importance of this for America needs to be understood," Obama said Friday. "Africa is growing, and you've got thriving markets and you've got entrepreneurs and extraordinary talent among the people there." Unlike his predecessor George W. Bush, who launched a $15 billion program to address HIV and AIDS, Obama seemed to be lacking a signature Africa initiative. And his administration's focus turned instead to the Arab Spring movement sweeping through the Middle East, a heavily promoted rebalance toward Asia and a slew of pressing security concerns.
Analysts say Obama's second term has brought about a more robust focus on Africa. He's launched a new "Power Africa" initiative that aims to leverage billions in private sector commitments to bring electricity to 20 million households in sub-Saharan Africa. And he's launched a fellowship program for young African leaders that received more than 50,000 applications for 500 slots this year. Carl LeVan, a professor at American University's School of International Service, said those efforts, along with the Washington summit, suggest an administration undertaking "a concerted and calculated effort to construct its legacy, and its legacy toward Africa in particular, since expectations were so high."
Also factoring into the U.S. focus on Africa: China, which has ramped up its investment in the natural resource-rich continent and whose leaders make frequent trips to the continent. U.S. officials try to draw a distinction between Chinese and American investment in Africa. While Beijing may spend more money, they argue that the Chinese focus more on extracting resources from Africa for their own purposes rather than boosting African capacity and building long-term economic relationships. "We do believe we bring something unique to the table," said Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser. "We are less focused on resources from Africa and more focused on deepening trade and investment relationships."
to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the
used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan
ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen