Obama's message resonates with The African Dream authored by Presidents Museveni, Kagame & Kenyatta ahead of the US-Africa Leaders Summit

Tuesday 5th August 2014

US President Barack Obama has said a Ugandan woman spoke for many Africans when she told him Africa needs equal business partners and commitments and not necessarily aid.

"Last year in South Africa, in Soweto, I held a town hall with young men and women from across the continent, including some who joined us by video from Uganda. And one young Ugandan woman spoke for many Africans when she said to me, "We are looking to the world for equal business partners and commitments, and not necessarily aid. We want to do business at home and be the ones to own our own markets."

That's a sentiment we hear over and over again. When I was traveling throughout Africa last year, what I heard was the desire of Africans not just for aid, but for trade and development that actually helps nations grow and empowers Africans for the long term," Obama said at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit -- the largest gathering any American President has ever hosted with African heads of State and Government at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington DC.

Obama said the summit reflects a perspective that has guided his approach to Africa as President.

"Even as Africa continues to face enormous challenges, even as too many Africans still endure poverty and conflict, hunger and disease, even as we work together to meet those challenges, we cannot lose sight of the new Africa that's emerging," he said.

The ceremony was attended by Uganda's President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who has consistently called for economic transformation and infrastructure development for self sufficiency back home as opposed to donor aid. He was accompanied by a high powered Ugandan delegation.

Obama said Africa is such an extraordinary opportunity, with some of the fastest-growing economies in the world; A growing middle class; expanding sectors like manufacturing and retail; and one of the fastest-growing telecommunications markets in the world.

"More governments are reforming, attracting a record level of foreign investment. It is the youngest and fastest-growing continent, with young people that are full of dreams and ambition. And since I took office, we've stepped up our efforts across the board. More investments in Africa; more trade missions and more support for U.S. exports. And I'm proud -- I'm proud that American exports to Africa have grown to record levels, supporting jobs in Africa and the United States, including a quarter of a million good American jobs," he said.

Obama announced a series of deals that American companies are dealing in Africa.

"Blackstone will invest in African energy projects. Coca-Cola will partner with Africa to bring clean water to its communities. GE will help build African infrastructure. Marriott will build more hotels. All told, American companies -- many with our trade assistance -- are announcing new deals in clean energy, aviation, banking, and construction worth more than $14 billion, spurring development across Africa and selling more goods stamped with that proud label, "Made in America," he said, adding, "And I don't want to just sustain this momentum, I want to up it. I want to up our game. So today I'm announcing a series of steps to take our trade with Africa to the next level."

Obama said on top of the significant resources the US has already committed, he announced an increase of their pledge to $300 million a year for this effort.

"And as of today -- including an additional $12 billion in new commitments being announced this week by our private sector partners and the World Bank and the government of Sweden -- we've now mobilized a total of more than $26 billion to Power Africa just since we announced it -- $26 billion. So we're tripling our goal, aiming to bring electricity to more than 60 million African homes and businesses that can spark growth for decades to come. "

Obama said they we'll do more to help Africans trade with each other, because the markets with the greatest potential are often the countries right next door and they are also doing more to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs and business leaders.

President Obama assured the African leaders that the United States administration is determined to be partners in Africa's success and is not simply trying to extract resource for it's own purpose.

"United States is determined to be partner in Africa's success" he said.

"We don't look to Africa simply for natural resources, we recognize Africa for it's greatest resource which is it's people their talents and their potential," he said.

In an unprecedented event, the United States private sector has announced a 14 billion dollar investment commitment to Africa which shows Africa's growing appeal for business.

Coca-cola announced 5 billion investment in production lines and equipment, General electronics 2 billion, 200 million dollars from Marriott and 66 million dollars from IBM to Ghana Fidelity Bank.

President Museveni and other African leaders were in the evening hosted by President Barrack Obama at a state dinner at the White House.

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