This past week proved to be a truly remarkable “Africa Week” in Washington. In keeping with our deep and broad interests in, and commitments to, Africa, we held three major Africa-related programs: The President's Forum with Young African Leaders, the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act Forum, and the African Women's Entrepreneurship Program.
Tuesday morning, I welcomed 115 of Africa's most dynamic and capable young people to the beginning of the President's Forum with Young African Leaders. This group of civil society and business leaders, all between the ages of 20 and 35, will have a major influence on building Africa in the next 50 years. If you have ever wondered how Africa is going harness its resources and address its challenges, this is the group of people to ask. They have ideas, and they have answers. Secretary Clinton's remarks truly inspired this group, and many were still talking about her speech the next day.
Tuesday afternoon, it was my privilege to accompany the Forum participants to a town hall meeting with President Obama in the White House. I loved seeing these young leaders, many of whom were wearing stunning traditional African dress, in the elegant East Room. The atmosphere was charged with energy and optimism as the young people shared their vision of the future with the President. We all recognize the very real challenges Africa faces, but I believe that all of us left the White House newly committed to realizing the continent's extraordinary potential. It won't be easy or fast, but it is clearly in America's interest to build partnerships with this impressive generation of leaders.
Also on Tuesday, Secretary Clinton addressed the Ninth Annual Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum here in Washington. The AGOA Forum provides a platform for government officials, business people and civil society leaders from African countries and the United States to promote opportunities for economic growth in the U.S. and in Africa. This year, we have a split venue -- two days in Washington and two days in Kansas City, Missouri -- in order to more fully engage on agricultural development and business opportunity. Americans and Africans share a love of the land and a tradition of farming, and I believe that agriculture offers tremendous opportunities for mutual benefit.
Finally, in association with the AGOA Forum, we invited a truly dynamic group from Africa to visit the United States: 35 African businesswomen. The group that is here now, representing businesses as diverse as commercial fishing, construction, and export/import, is made up of truly extraordinary people. These women have begun to network among themselves and with American business leaders, and businesses and economies in Africa are sure to benefit.
As the leader of America's diplomatic relations with Africa, I am truly pleased to see this new focus on Africa and the concrete activities that give it substance. I believe that we are breathing new life in our relationship at many different levels -- government, business and civil society -- and know that Americans and Africans will benefit from those efforts. We are at a new beginning in helping Africans build the next 50 years of their future, and invite you all to participate in building and deepening those partnerships.