Summer 2014 is an exciting time for anyone following U.S. relations with the countries of Africa. Right now, 500 of Africa’s most talented and innovative young people are in the United States participating in the Washington Fellowship, the signature exchange component of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). On July 28-30, this extraordinary group of 500 will convene in Washington for a Presidential Summit. This is not only an opportunity for U.S. leaders to hear from the Washington Fellows -- it’s a chance for them to network with each other and share ideas.
A week later, President Obama will welcome 51 Leaders from across Africa to our Nation’s capital for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The Summit’s theme, “Investing in the Next Generation,” reflects the common ambition we share with the people and governments of Africa to leave our nations better for future generations by making concrete gains in peace and security, good governance, and economic development. This historic three-day event constitutes the largest single engagement by any U.S. President with Africa.
We are excited about the broad scope of opportunities for dialogue that this Summit offers. The first day kicks off with a series of events on topics ranging from civil society, women’s empowerment, food security, global health, wildlife trafficking, and many more. The annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Ministerial will also take place that day. The entire second day of the Summit will be dedicated to the U.S.-Africa Business Forum. The reason is simple -- Africa wants American investors and American investors want to be in Africa. Home to several rapidly growing economies, Africa is creating more opportunities for its people than ever before. Now the challenge is to ensure these gains are expanded and spread to benefit as many people as possible. On the final day of the Summit, President Obama and the African Heads of State and Government will meet for a dynamic face-to-face conversation. You haven’t seen a Summit like this before, so make sure you stay tuned to state.gov.
The bottom line is Africa's success is good for Africa and good for America. It serves our shared security interests, increases prosperity for our countries, and reflects a shared commitment to the dignity, well-being, and freedom of all people. We hope you will stay engaged during these Summer 2014 events by following @StateDept and @StateAfrica and by using the hashtags #USAfrica and #YALI2014.
Please also visit state.gov/social/usafrica to check out our toolkit for more ways you can engage about this topic on social media. And if you are a young African leader, make sure you stay connected with @YALINetwork and yali.state.gov!
About the Author: Melissa Schumi Jones serves as a Press Officer in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs.