Leading the News
U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
On July 31st, President Barack Obama announced plans to launch the Steering Group on Africa Trade and Investment Capacity Building in conjunction with the start of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The Steering Group, which will be comprised of members from at least 17 federal agencies and organizations, will have 180 days to determine goals, benchmarks, and overall recommendations to bolster trade relations between the U.S. and Africa. The Steering Group will also be asked to develop recommendations for the reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). More information can be found here.
On July 31st, in advance of the start of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the New York Times published an article on potential themes for President Barack Obama’s remarks during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The article speculated that much of the discussion would be focused on human rights, and not just business. The full article can be read here.
On August 1st, President Barack Obama held a press conference to answer questions on the approaching U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, as well as the potential transmission of Ebola into the U.S. Regarding the Summit, he emphasized the goal is to give African leaders a better understanding of American systems and American businesses a better understanding of valuable industries in Africa other than mining. He also confirmed that any visitors who could have been exposed to Ebola are being tested in their home country and the U.S. The President’s comments can be seen here.
On August 1st, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and Senior Director for Development and Democracy at the National Security Council (NSC) Gayle Smith hosted a press call on the U.S-Africa Leaders Summit. Deputy Advisor Rhodes gave an overview of the schedule and emphasized that the goal of the Summit was to elevate relations with Africa and continue to foster forward-looking engagements. They also took questions on a variety of issues, such as health, security, and the environment. A transcript of the call was posted here.
On August 1st, in coordination with the White House, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah hosted a U.S.-African Leaders Summit event, entitled “Faith Works: Honoring the Contributions of the Faith Community to Peace and Prosperity in Africa.” As part of the event, Administrator Shah and other U.S. Government officials met with religious leaders, faith-based organizations, and representatives of the African diplomatic corps to discuss the faith community’s role in advancing peace, prosperity, and development throughout Africa. The event was detailed here.
On August 1st, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency’s (USTDA) African Leaders Visit: Energy concluded in Houston, TX. Energy leaders from Tanzania and Kenya spent two days conducting meetings and site visits to discuss their plans to develop significant natural gas discoveries in partnership with U.S. companies. Before departing Houston for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the delegation toured the Port of Houston and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal. More information can be found here.
On August 1st, USTDA’s African Leaders Visit: Transport concluded in Chicago, IL, strengthening U.S.-Africa cooperation in rail and aviation. Transportation Ministers from Algeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Africa, along with the Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) discussed their plans to upgrade and expand their transportation networks. Before traveling to Washington, DC, for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the delegation toured the Union Pacific Proviso Yard and visited O’Hare International Airport. The visit was summarized here.
On August 1st, the Baltimore Sun published an op-ed authored by Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield on the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. President Littlefield highlighted the increasing level of U.S. investment in Africa’s natural resources and mineral sectors. The full article can be read here.
On August 2nd, the Washington Post reported on the number of African leaders with close military relations that were planning to attend the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Amongst U.S. military officials, there is a realization that a greater and more robust military expansion in Africa is needed to combat Islamic extremism and violence. Though the number often fluctuates, there are approximately 5,000 American troops spread out throughout the African continent. Because much of the event will focus on growing markets in Africa, U.S. military expansion was not anticipated to be one of the main themes for the conference. Additional information can be found here.
On August 3rd, OPIC and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) co-hosted a reception to kick off the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Speakers included OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield, MCC CEO Dana Hyde, Senate Foreign Relations Africa Subcommittee Chairman Chris Coons (D-DE), Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH), and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA). The event was noticed here.
On August 4th-6th, the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit commenced in Washington, DC. Events included a U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a Capitol Hill welcome reception, a White House Dinner, and Summit Leader Meetings, among other events hosted by the private sector. Videos of the conference can be seen here.
On August 4th, the White House issued a statement marking the beginning of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The statement said the leaders of Sierra Leone and Liberia canceled their trips because of the Ebola outbreak, and leaders of Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Central African Republic (CAR) were not invited because of their poor human rights records. The statement also noted plans to unveil over $1 billion in businesses deals, funding for peacekeeping, and investments in food and power programs during the Summit. The announcement was posted here.
On August 4th, National Security Advisor Susan Rice met with Mauritanian Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam at the White House. They discussed the U.S.-Africa Business Forum and strategies for deepening U.S. trade and investment in Mauritius. Additionally, the two emphasized the need to combat illicit finance and to partner to promote transparency and fight corruption. There was also recognition of the importance of countering piracy in the Indian Ocean. A statement on the meeting can be found here.
On August 4th, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama, and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete participated in a Civil Society Forum Global Town Hall. Secretary Kerry discussed the emerging opportunities in Africa and the need to create lasting and sustainable change. Secretary Kerry’s remarks at the Forum were recorded here.
On August 4th, Secretary of State John Kerry participated in the AGOA Ministerial hosted by the World Bank as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Secretary Kerry said that for 14 years, AGOA has been one of the primary tools to push forward greater investment and trade in Africa, with imports from AGOA nations growing by more than 300%. He also argued that fighting corruption will be necessary to help promote economic growth on the continent. U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim also participated in the event. Secretary Kerry’s remarks were posted here. Ambassador Froman’s remarks can be accessed here and President Kim’s remarks can be found here.
On August 4th, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered remarks at a working session on resilience and food security in a changing climate, along with White House Special Advisor John Podesta and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. In Africa, Secretary Kerry noted climate change, food security, and resilience are interrelated challenges and must be considerations for planning for the future. Secretary Kerry’s speech was transcribed here.
On August 4th, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations (U.N.) Samantha Power addressed the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. In her remarks, Ambassador Power emphasized that the U.S. and Africa will be moving forward towards a new partnership built on common interests, such as democracy and growth. Her speech can be found here.
On August 4th, USTR Michael Froman attended a Congressional Reception honoring the Heads of Delegation attending the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. He also attended a dinner with CEOs and African leaders hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Ambassador Froman’s schedule was detailed here.
On August 4th, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sylvia Matthews Burwell, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden consulted with Guinean President Alpha Conde and senior officials from Liberia and Sierra Leone about the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. The group identified national and regional priorities and held intensive discussions on the types of assistance needed to mount an effective response. Secretary Burwell and Director Frieden also reiterated U.S. support for addressing the Ebola outbreak. The meeting was noticed here.
On August 4th, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell hosted Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, and Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba in a conversation on combating wildlife trafficking. Additional participants included other Africa leaders, government officials participating on the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking, members of the federal Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking, NGO leaders, and Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) participants. Details were shared here.
On August 4th, congressional leaders hosted a U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Congressional Reception on Capitol Hill. Participants included House and Senate leadership, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee, and members of the executive branch, including National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry, and U.N. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power. African Union (AU) Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma also delivered a speech at the event. More information can be found here.
On August 4th, as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, General Electric (GE) announced it will invest $2 billion in Africa infrastructure projects by 2018. GE’s commitments include supplying gas turbines to help grid reliability in Algeria and to supply uninterrupted power to Nigeria’s state oil refinery. Additional funding was announced for rail and power equipment in Angola and additional infrastructure projects in Nigeria. GE saw $5.2 billion in revenues from Africa last year. An article on the company’s investements on the continent can be read here.
On August 4th, in conjunction with the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, African Leadership Magazine and Global Political Solutions, LLC hosted a U.S.-Africa Private Sector Forum at the National Press Club
(NPC). The forum included sessions on direct opportunities for investment and business development in Africa, strategies for market entry, political risk analysis, and legal investment structures, and the presentation of African Leadership Magazine’s 2014 Awards. Presidential delegations from Tanzania, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Seychelles, Mauritius, and South Africa participated. Details can be seen here.
On August 4th, the U.S.-South Africa Business Council hosted the U.S.-South Africa Business and Investment Forum. The event included a keynote speech by South African President Jacob Zuma, who was visiting Washington to participate in the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The event also included panel discussions on investments in infrastructure and how innovation can foster economic growth in South Africa. Event details are available here.
On August 4th, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted a Presidential Plenary featuring Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, and Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama. The event also included the release of a report on the ways U.S.-Africa engagement can be deepened. More information can be viewed here.
On August 4th, on the sidelines of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the Brookings Institution hosted an event on the changing landscape of business and innovation in Africa. Speakers included President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Donald Kaberuka, Director of the African Growth Initiative Mwangi Kimenyi, President and CEO of GE Africa Jay Ireland, and Founding Director of the Enough Project John Prendergast. The schedule of events is available here. In addition, the Brookings Institution shared an information sheet comparing the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit with other recent African leaders’ summits. The infographic can be seen here.
On August 4th, the Corporate Council of Africa hosted a presidential breakfast with Mozambican President Armando Guebuza at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. The breakfast was a part of the Council’s week-long program, “Leading the Way in U.S.-Africa Investment,” which shed light on ways to spur economic growth in Africa. More information on the program can be viewed here.
On August 4th, the U.S.-Africa Network held a day-long event at Howard University to examine progressive policies for African development. The event was comprised of six panels, which discussed climate justice, militarism and security, agribusiness, trade unions, and economic inequality. A schedule for the event can be found here.
On August 4th, Mercy Corps held a conversation titled, “Empowering Africa's Youth: Lessons From Liberia,” at the Willard Hotel. Participants included Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Coca-Cola Alexander Cummings, Jr., USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa Earl Gast, and Mercy Corps Liberia Country Director Allison Huggins. The subject of the conversation was Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s efforts to equip Liberian children with political and economic skills through entrepreneurial and private sector work, along with opportunities in government. The announcement for the event was posted here.
On August 4th, Open Society Foundations convened a discussion titled "Resources for the Future: Partnering with Civil Society for Transparency and Accountability in Africa." Participating in the discussion were leaders from business, government, and civil society who offered their perspectives on potential improvements in natural resource governance. The discussion also touched on government contracting, governments’ budgets, and trade mis-invoicing. A webcast of the event, along with a list of the panelists, can be accessed here.
On August 4th, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted an event marking the release of its new Issue in Focus report, “Morocco’s Emergence as a Gateway to Business in Africa.” All speakers agreed that the perception of Africa as a difficult place to do business is inaccurate and should change. The panel featured Moroccan Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment, and the Digital Economy Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Chairman and CEO of Attijariwafa Bank Mohamed El Kettani, CEO of the Casablanca Stock Exchange Karim Hajji, GE’s President and CEO of Middle East, North Africa and Turkey Nabil Habayeb, and Malian Minister of Industry and Investment Promotion Moustapha Ben Barka. A summary of the event can be viewed here.
On August 4th, Chika Onyeani, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the African Sun Times and Chairman of the Celebrate Africa Foundation, called on African leaders to meet with the African Diaspora as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. He said the African Diaspora contributes significantly to their home countries and they should get the same respect as corporate groups. He acknowledged the scheduling difficulties of the Summit, but emphasized the contributions of the African Diaspora. More information on his comments can be viewed here.
On August 5th, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered remarks following the signing of the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative. He emphasized that good energy policy is good foreign and economic policy. The Secretary also announced plans to provide an additional $10 million to the effort. In addition, Secretary Kerry reiterated the U.S. commitment to the Power Africa Initiative and his appreciation for support from OPIC and USTDA. His speech can be read here.
On August 5th, USTR Michael Froman attended a U.S.-Africa Business Forum luncheon hosted by the Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies, participated in an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) TIFA signing, and attended the U.S.-Africa Leaders dinner at the White House. Ambassador Froman’s participation in the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit events was noted here.
On August 5th, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Michael Bloomberg published an article on the $14 billion in business deals emerging out of the U.S.-Africa Business Forum. They said Africa is the biggest market opportunity in the global economy today, and U.S. companies cannot afford to miss out. In particular, they highlighted IBM’s new commercial technology research lab and SEWW Energy’s work to upgrade the electricity grid in Accra, Ghana. Their article can be viewed here.
On August 5th, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker opened the U.S.-Africa Business Forum. In her speech, she announced that the Department of Commerce and USTDA will lead ten new trade missions to Africa and ten reverse trade missions to the U.S. by 2020. She also pronounced the start of National Institute of Science and Technology’s (NIST) Global Cities Challenge to catalyze the development of “smart cities,” as well as the launch of a new web portal for American businesses to explore opportunities in Africa. She spoke specifically to the work of SEWW Energy’s $175 million deal in Ghana to upgrade the energy grid, P&G’s $300 million investment in a new manufacturing plant in Nigeria, and Environmental Chemical Corporation’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) to construct a cancer institute in Nigeria. Her speech can be accessed here.
On August 5th, President Obama spoke at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum. He emphasized the U.S. commitment to develop businesses in Africa so they can own their own markets. He specifically mentioned several private sector commitments, such as Blackstone investing in African energy projects, Coca-Cola partnering with Africa to bring clean water to its communities, GE developing African infrastructure, and Marriott building more hotels. He also mentioned that the $33 billion in development commitments cannot help Africa, if good governance is lacking. His full remarks can be read here.
On August 5th, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum Leaders Forum Session. In his remarks, Secretary Kerry highlighted many of the opportunities that make doing business in Africa appealing, including the growing use of mobile phone and other technologies and a globally aware and youthful population. He also observed challenges for Africa’s business environment, including the actions of extremist groups on the continent. Secretary Kerry was accompanied by Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin. Secretary Kerry’s remarks were posted here.
On August 5th, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew delivered remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum. In addition to providing an overview of the U.S. economy, Secretary Lew discussed how African countries and companies are expanding their access to international capital markets and pursuing additional economic and governance reforms. Secretary Lew’s remarks were recorded here.
On August 5th, MCC CEO Dana Hyde and Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the signing of the Ghana Power Compact. They said the $498 million compact represents a major milestone in the U.S.-Ghanaian partnership. The agreement will create a system-wide approach to transforming Ghana’s power sector. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom and Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin also attended the signing
ceremony. Details can be seen here.
On August 5th, the MCC issued a fact sheet on the MCC’s engagement in Africa, including through 16 compacts with 14 African countries. The fact sheet detailed the MCC’s support for trade and investment in Benin, Cabo Verde, Tanzania, and Ghana, energy projects in Ghana, Liberia, and Tanzania, and food security initiatives across the continent. The fact sheet can be downloaded here.
On August 5th, speaking at events held as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa Russ Feingold said that he has been involved in efforts to call upon the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) to surrender and that they will be attacked militarily without any political dialogue should they choose not to do so. He also noted that the M23 rebel group was forced to surrender last year out of a combination of diplomatic pressure and military action by U.N. and African forces. Special Envoy Feingold’s comments were captured here.
On August 5th, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall chaired a meeting on Boko Haram as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The meeting was noticed here.
On August 5th, U.S. Ambassador-At-Large and Coordinator to Combat HIV/AIDS Deborah Birx addressed advancing health and nutrition through U.S. foreign assistance at the National Academy of Sciences Symposium on “Science, Technology, and Innovation for Economic Growth and Development in Africa. Ambassador Birx’s participation in the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit was noted here.
On August 5th, U.S. Special Representative for Global Partnerships Andrew O’Brien attended an “Expanding Trade and Investment in Africa” dinner and reception hosted by the Meridian International Center and Coca-Cola around the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. He also attended a similar reception hosted by Atlas Mara. Special Representative O’Brien’s participation in the Summit was detailed here.
On August 5th, as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank) signed a MOU with Angola to boost job growth in both countries by strengthening collaboration on the financing of American exports to Angola. Ex-Im Bank President Fred Hochberg and Angolan Finance Minister Armanda Manuel participated in a signing ceremony. In the MOU, Ex-Im Bank and Angola’s Ministry of Finance agreed to exchange information on trade and business opportunities to enable the procurement of U.S. goods and services by state-owned and private sector enterprises in Angola focused on energy, infrastructure, roads and railways, mining, telecommunications, agriculture, and environment. A press release was issued here.
On August 5th, in coordination with the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA) hosted a Growth and Opportunity in Africa Forum. Participants included AU Commission Deputy Chair Erastus Mwencha, COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, President of The Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa Bernadette Paolo, YALI Fellow Sheryl Vangadasamy, President and CEO of the All American Small Business Exporters Association Sharon Freeman, AU Economic Affairs Commissioner Anthony Mothae Maruping, and East African Community Secretary General Dr. Richard Sezibera. Video recordings from the event can be watched here.
On August 5th, the World Bank Group committed $5 billion in new technical and financial support for energy projects in six African countries, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania. The agreement is in partnership with the President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative. The World Bank’s statement on the commitment is available here.
On August 5th, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted nearly 50 African leaders and their delegations on the White House South Lawn for a state dinner-style event in celebration of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The dinner had almost 400 guests. Lionel Richie performed, and President Obama gave a toast. In his remarks, the President underscored the shared task to keep working on the peace, justice, and prosperity that the people of Africa deserve. He also noted that he hosted the summit as a proud American and the son of a man of Africa. Seated at the head table with President Obama and the First Lady were the presidents of South Africa, Benin, and
Mauritania, among others, as well as actor Robert De Niro and former President Jimmy Carter. The details on his toast were shared here. The White House posted the guest list here. The program for the dinner can be accessed here.
On August 5th, the Atlantic Council hosted an event titled, “Tunisia’s Democratic Successes: A Conversation with the President of Tunisia Mohamed Moncef Marzouki.” The event featured President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki of Tunisia, who has served as President of Tunisia since December of 2011. Topics of conversation included the democratic process in Tunisia, economic challenges, security issues resulting from an embattled region, as well as a discussion of the nation’s achievements thus far. More information on the event can be found here.
On August 5th, the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. entertained a discussion entitled, “Transatlantic Imperative for Food Security for Africa: The Case of Niger.” The event featured an address from Nigerien President Issoufou Mahamadou. The conversation focused on the challenges and reforms that will dominate the African agricultural agenda in the coming years. Additional information on the event can be found here.
On August 5th, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa addressed a NPC Speakers Luncheon. He spoke to the U.S. and South Africa’s relationship. His talk came almost 20 years after former South African President Nelson Mandela addressed the NPC for the first time. A video of the event can be watched here.
On August 6th, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry led a dialogue with the African leaders on issues of shared interest and mutual concern. The dialogue was formatted into three sessions: Investing in Africa’s Future, Peace and Regional Stability, and Governing for the Next Generation. During the opening session, U.S. and African government officials discussed sustainable development, economic growth, and trade and investment. Throughout the second session, the leaders shared concerns regarding security, including a discussion of long-term solutions to conflicts, peacekeeping issues, and combating transnational threats. The final session allowed for a candid conversation about the greatest challenges and opportunities for Africa’s political and economic progress and a specific focus on governance. This session focused on how to enhance governance in order to deliver services to citizens, attract increased domestic and foreign direct investment, manage transnational threats, and stem the flow of illicit finance. Videos of the event can be watched here.
On August 6th, during the third day of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, President Barack Obama announced plans to spend $110 million over the next three to five years to help African partners develop peacekeeping forces. As part of these efforts, President Obama also announced plans to work with Senegal, Ghana, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda to develop rapid response teams that can be quickly deployed to U.N. or AU missions. In addition, the U.S. will also invest an additional $65 million in security institutions in Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia. Information on the new initiatives was reported here.
On August 6th, First Lady Michelle Obama, in partnership with former First Lady Laura Bush and the Bush Institute, hosted a day-long spouses symposium focused on the impact of investments in education, health, and public-private partnerships. Former President George W. Bush spoke at the event, where he encouraged African leaders to do more to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, U.S. Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell moderated a panel on “Education: Creating Opportunities and Investing in the Next Generation of Women Leaders,” and participated in a working lunch. The schedule for the symposium and a list of additional participants can be viewed here. Additional information on President Bush’s participation was shared here. Investments announced at the symposium by Caterpillar Foundation, Intel, The MasterCard Foundation, and Walmart were detailed here.
On August 6th, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom delivered keynote remarks at the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) Business-to-Business Showcase and Reception, as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin and Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell also participated in the event. Additional information can be accessed here.
On August 6th, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin participated in a press conference on responsible mineral sourcing at the Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington, DC. Later in the day, Assistant Secretary Rivkin also held a press conference on responsible mineral sourcing. More information is available here.
On August 6th, Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Africa Task Force hosted “A Dialogue with African CEOs.” The event included panel discussions and networking with African business and political leaders, U.S. private sector representatives, and Members of Congress. Remarks delivered at the event by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) were posted here. Additional event details were shared here.
On August 6th, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) authored an op-ed for CNN criticizing the lack of focus on governance issues during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. While acknowledging that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Eritrean President Isais Afwerki, and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir were not invited to participate because they are not in good standing with the U.S., he questioned the participation of other African leaders, including Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, and DRC President Joseph Kabila. The full op-ed can be read here.
On August 6th, the National Endowment for Democracy hosted an event titled, “Towards an Action Program for Democracy: An African Civil Society Conference.” The discussion featured Zainab Hawa Bangura, U.N. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Maina Kiai, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Safaa Adam of the Community Development Association, and many other leaders. The findings and recommendations of each working group will be presented by senior civil society leaders at a day-long public meeting in the U.S. House of Representatives. Details on the event and working group meetings can be read here.
On August 6th, the Atlantic Council hosted an event “Investment and Ingenuity: Overcoming Obstacles to Doing Business in Sub-Sahara”. The featured speakers were William Asiko, CEO Investment Climate Facility, Morten Jerven, Author of Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It, Diana Layfield, CEO Africa Operations Standard Chartered Bank, and Hamilton Ratshefola, General Business Leader IBM South Africa. The event was paired with the release of an Atlantic Council report authored by Visiting Fellow Aubrey Hruby, which argues that inadequate infrastructure, lack of market data, and poor policy implementation impede investment in Africa, despite growing opportunities to do so profitably. The event announcement can be found here.
On August 6th, the Corporate Council on Africa and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted a Presidential Dinner Discussion with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who was in the U.S. as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The event was announced here.
On August 6th, the Atlantic Council and the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) hosted an event entitled, “The Evolution of Private Equity in Africa.” The event was billed as an engaging and insightful discussion with some of the most successful and long-standing investors on the African continent. Further details about the event can be found here.
On August 6th, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center held an event entitled, “Investment and Ingenuity: Overcoming Obstacles to Doing Business in Sub-Saharan Africa.” The purpose of the gathering was to discuss a recently released report on the subject of investment in sub-Saharan Africa by Aubrey Hruby, an Atlantic Council visiting fellow. The report argues that an absence of market statistics, poor implementation of policy, and a limited infrastructure system have stifled investment on the African continent. Furthermore, the publication provides solutions to these issues and highlights innovators that have successfully operated in Africa. Further details on the event can be found here.
On August 6th, President Barack Obama held a press conference marking the close of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. President Obama declared the event to be such a success, that he recommended the U.S. hold a similar Summit again soon. He reported consensus that the Summit should be a recurring event and pledged to encourage his successor to hold the next Summit. A full transcript of President Obama’s remarks was posted here. A statement summarizing the Summit was released here.
West Africa Ebola Outbreak
On July 31st, the CDC issued a warning to avoid nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone due to the worsening Ebola outbreak in the region. In issuing the Level 3 travel warning, the CDC also noted that disease detectives and other staff are on the ground in West Africa tracking the epidemic, improving infection control, advising embassies, and coordinating with local government officials, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other partners. The travel warning can be seen here.
On August 1st, the WHO announced the Ebola outbreak was spreading faster than efforts to curb it. The WHO said there was a high risk that it will spread. Considering the seriousness of the outbreak, the WHO has initiated a $100 million play to deploy hundreds more medical professionals in support of overstretched regional and international health workers. WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan said the new plan marks a turning point in the response. Dr. Chan’s remarks can be accessed here.
On August 1st, the U.S. State Department and the CDC announced the medical evacuations of two U.S. citizens infected by Ebola in West Africa. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf noted that every precaution would be taken to move the patients safely and securely, to provide critical care en route on a non-commercial aircraft, and to maintain strict isolation upon arrival in the U.S. Once in the U.S., she noted the patients would be taken to medical facilities with appropriate isolation and treatment capabilities. Details on the medical evacuations were provided here.
On August 1st, Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci said that a new vaccine candidate for Ebola could move into the earliest stage of human testing in September. If testing goes according to plan and there are no further delays, he speculated the vaccine could be available for health workers as soon as late 2015. Information on the vaccine is available here.
On August 3rd, CDC Director Tom Friedan said the U.S. will escalate its response to the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa be sending 50 staff members to the region to stop the disease at its source. Once CDC staff is on the ground in Africa, the goal will be to stop the outbreak within 30 days. In addition, on Sunday, the CDC updated its guidance for airlines related to the Ebola outbreak. The surge in response efforts was noted here. The updated CDC guidance for airlines was issued here.
On August 3rd, a U.S. health official reported that the American doctor who contracted Ebola in Liberia is improving. Dr. Kent Brantly, one of two Americans to contract the disease, was flown back to the U.S. and is currently receiving care at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. The update on his care can be seen here.
On August 4th, the WHO released new information on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. They reported that the total number of cases had reached 1,603, including 887 deaths. Also, Nigeria just reported its second case. A doctor who treated the first confirmed Ebola patient in Nigeria has now tested positive. More information on the outbreak is available here.
On August 4th, the WHO appealed for contributions to combat the deadly Ebola disease in West Africa, saying hundreds of doctors, nurses, health staff, and materials were needed in the region as quickly as possible. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan and the three West African leaders have agreed on an Ebola disease response plan involving three co-centric rings in the most-affected areas along their common border, such as Kenema, Lofa, and Kailahun. Details on their request are available here.
On August 4th, the World Bank Group pledged as much as $200 million in emergency funding to help Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone contain the spread of Ebola virus, to help their communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis, and to improve public health systems throughout West Africa. The emergency funding was announced by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on the first day of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The announcement can be viewed here.
On August 4th, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) announced that personnel are on the ground in West Africa and in U.S. laboratories fighting to control the Ebola outbreak. Army Colonel James Cummings, Director of the Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System in the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, said DOD is focused on trying to stop disease transmission. The announcement was posted here.
On August 4th, the New York Times reported that the relaxed enforcement of quarantine regulations in Sierra Leone is contributing to the outbreak. In response to the epidemic, West African leaders have declared extraordinary measures to fight the disease, including closing schools, authorizing house-to-house searches for infected people and, at least on paper, vowing to go beyond the standard international controls for halting the virus. Despite the policies, enforcement has been very relaxed and neighbors and family have visited quarantined families without the intervention of the monitors. The article can be viewed here.
On August 4th, a man in New York went to the hospital with symptoms consistent with Ebola. The man was placed in isolation, but the CDC said it was unlikely the patient has Ebola. A sample has been sent to the CDC to confirm the diagnosis. Information on the patient is available here.
On August 5th, Nancy Writebol, an American missionary infected with Ebola when volunteering in Liberia, arrived in the U.S. She will be treated by infectious disease specialists at Emory University Hospital in the same ward as Dr. Kent Brantly, the other infected American. According to reports, both of their conditions improved in Liberia following the use of an experimental drug developed by a San Diego-based private biotech firm and previously tested only in monkeys. The report on her arrival and treatment was shared here.
On August 5th, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the creation of an internal Ebola task force to evaluate how the Department can support U.S. and international efforts to prevent further transmission of the virus. The task force will be led by Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict Michael Lumpkin. In addition, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby reported that none of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)’s operations in Africa have been impacted by the Ebola epidemic. More information was reported here.
On August 5th, USAID announced plans to deploy a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to West Africa to coordinate the U.S. Government’s response to the Ebola outbreak, which had already sickened more than 1,600 people and killed nearly 900. The team will include staff from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, who will oversee planning, operations, and logistics related to the response in coordination with other U.S. federal agencies, including DOD, HHS, and CDC. USAID also announced an additional $5 million to help ramp up international efforts to stop the spread of Ebola. Developments in the response effort were noted here.
On August 5th, Liberian health officials questioned why two Americans infected by Ebola in Liberia were given an experimental U.S. treatment that has not been made available to hundreds of Africans sickened by the deadly virus. While it remains unclear to what extent Liberia’s Ministry of Health has considered approving the treatment for utilization in the country, officials reported that they have been beset with requests from dying patients and their relatives to receive the same experimental treatment. The full story is available here.
On August 5th, British Airways announced it was temporarily suspending flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone until the end of August due to the deteriorating public health situation in both countries. The airline offered ticketed customers a full refund or the option to rebook their flights. The cancelation of British Airways flights comes amidst reports that Emirates Airlines is also stopping its flights to Guinea and as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that it is working closely with the WHO and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to monitor the situation. Details were shared here.
On August 6th, the Associated Press reported that a Nigerian nurse who treated a man with Ebola is dead and that five other people had been infected with the virus after coming into contact with the patient, Patrick Sawyer, who died last month. The nurse’s death marks the second Ebola death in Nigeria and has raised Nigerian authorities’ concerns that the relatively large population in Lagos could be impacted by the epidemic. More information can be viewed here.
On August 6th, the CDC raised its response to the Ebola outbreak to Level 1 activation, which is reserved for the most serious public health emergencies. A level 1 CDC response has not been invoked since the 2009 effort to combat the bird flu threat. The increased response efforts were announced here.
On August 6th, tests conducted at Mount Sinai Hospital confirmed that a patient who recently traveled to West Africa and was quarantined after showing Ebola-like symptoms does not have Ebola. Hospital officials reported that the man remains in stable condition, but declined to provide any further details on what disease he might be suffering from. An update on his condition was provided here.
On August 7th, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a 90-day state of emergency in Liberia as a result of the worsening Ebola epidemic. The outbreak is now present in four countries, including Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. According to the latest statistics, 932 people have died from the disease. Developments were reported here.
On July 31st, Libyan rebels claimed to have taken over Benghazi. The armed groups that overtook Benghazi were a part of the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, made up of multiple armed factions led by Islamist commanders. Among the factions is Ansar al-Shariah, the group suspected of the September 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi. The extent of the militias' control over Benghazi was not clear. The full story can be seen here.
On July 31st, a top Philippines diplomat announced that removal of Philippine workers after a Filipino construction worker was beheaded and a nurse was gang raped in Libya. Approximately 13,000 Filipino workers have been removed to Malta, where they could fly to Manila. More information on the story is available here.
On August 1st, Tunisia closed its main border with Libya after thousands of stranded Egyptian and foreign nationals fleeing violence in Libya tried to break through the passage. The clashes were the second eruption of violence at the border. Tunisia is the only escape route out of Tripoli. A Tunisian police officer was wounded by gunfire on the Libyan side of the border. Details on the situation are available here.
On August 4th, Libya’s new parliament held its first session. Three-fourths of lawmakers were in attendance, but the session was largely boycotted by pro-Islamist deputies, including the head of the outgoing parliament, Nouri Abu Sahmein. The session was held in Tobruk because of the fighting in Tripoli. Some of the pro-Islamist members called for a rival opening session in Tripoli. Further information on the opening session was posted here.
On August 4th, the U.N. welcomed the first meeting of the new parliament in Libya. In a statement, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said the seating of the 200-member Council of Representatives reflects the will of the Libyan people to see that the democratic process and its outcomes are respected. UNSMIL’s statement can be read here.
On August 4th, the Governments of France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom (U.K.), and the U.S. issued a joint statement commending the members of the Libyan Council of Representatives for beginning their work today. The statement labeled the convening of the council as an important step towards putting Libya’s democratic transition back on track and helping to restore law and order to the country. Leaders in the international community also reiterated their condemnation of the ongoing violence across the country and called upon all parties to immediately adopt a ceasefire and to begin peaceful political dialogue. The joint statement was published here.
On August 4th, National Security Advisor Susan Rice met with Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni at the White House. In addition to Prime Minister Thinni expressing gratitude for U.S. support during the uprising against Muammar Gadhafi, Ambassador Rice and Prime Minister Thinni discussed the need for strong international support for Libya, the importance of an immediate ceasefire agreement in Tripoli, the new Council of Representatives, and reconciliation efforts. The meeting was summarized here.
On August 4th, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni in Washington. Secretary Kerry said this is a very critical time for Libya and called on all Libyans to respect the recent election of the Council of Representatives and to support the work of the constitutional drafting assembly and to reject violence. Secretary Kerry also reiterated that the U.S. has only
temporarily relocated its diplomatic personnel from Tripoli in order to ensure their security. Secretary Kerry’s appearance with Prime Minister Thinni before their meeting was noted here.
On August 4th, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) issued a statement following his meeting with Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni and Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz. Senator Menendez called for an end to the fighting in Libya and called on all sides to immediately agree to a ceasefire and to commit to the hard work of rebuilding Libya. He also applauded the members of Libya’s Council of Representatives, who held an emergency session over the weekend. Senator Menendez’s statement was issued here.
On August 6th, representatives of the governments of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and the U.S. met to express their deep concern about the political and security challenges facing Libya, North Africa, and the Sahel region. Following the meeting, officials released a joint statement calling for an end to the violence in Libya, which they said is creating a tragic humanitarian crisis and threatening Libya’s democratic transition. The leaders called on all Libyans to reject terrorism and urged Libya’s newly elected Council of Representatives to adopt inclusive policies that meet the needs for security, reconciliation, and prosperity. The full statement can be accessed here.
On August 1st, Al Shabaab gunmen killed Aden Madeer, a member of the Somali Parliament. He is the fifth Member of Parliament (MP) to be killed. According to witnesses, three assailants wearing military uniforms fired on Madeer after a Friday Prayer service and then fled. U.N. Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay condemned the assassination and said the attacks on members of Parliament were intended to intimidate and undermine those working to build a better Somalia. The full story can be read here.
Central African Republic
On August 1st, U.N. humanitarian staff reported that civilians are still caught in the crossfire, despite peace talks. A U.N. spokesperson said 26 civilians were killed this week when clashes resulted in the attack on Batangafo, a village in Ouham Prefecture. Also, 16 aid workers have been killed in the CAR since fighting reached its peak in December. Details on the situation were posted here.
On August 5th, according to a spokesperson for CAR President Catherine Samba-Panza, the CAR’s prime minister and his cabinet have resigned. The spokesperson said the head of state asked for and obtained the resignation of Prime Minister Andre Nzapayeke and his government. A new government or prime minister has not been named. The highlights of the spokesperson’s statements were reported here.
On July 31st, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that food insecurity in South Sudan continues to deepen as the funding dwindles. The FAO noted the organization has received contributions amounting to less than half of their request. According to Jeff Tschirley of FAO’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, an additional 2 million people, or 345,000 vulnerable households, could be supported if the U.N. receives additional funding. The news release is available here.
On August 3rd, South Sudanese Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said President Salva Kiir would exchange ideas with other African heads of state at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit to find ways of ending the conflict in South Sudan. President Kiir also planned to meet with top officials of the AU in the U.S. The highlights of the Foreign Minister’s comments can be viewed here.
On August 4th, peace talks between South Sudanese Government and rebel delegates held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, resumed. Both sides said they are more committed to forging a peace deal, but tensions emerged as the government criticized mediators for not enforcing past agreements. Details on the peace talks can be seen here.
On August 4th, Voice of America published an analysis of South Sudanese President Kiir’s remarks prior to his attendance of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. In the days before his departure, President Kiir made several comments disparaging the West for their interest in Africa’s oil. Danish Institute for International Studies Senior Researcher, Luke Patey, commented that South Sudan’s oil production would be greatly helped by partnership with the West. Patey said the West could help South Sudan stabilize its declining exports. There was also speculation that his comments were meant to distract from the situation on the ground in South Sudan. The article can be found here.
On August 4th, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) strongly condemned the killing of a humanitarian worker. In a statement, UNMISS said it was deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Bunj, Maban County. The town has been the site of clashes between a community-based self-defense militia calling itself the Mabanese Defence Forces and deserting soldiers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). The person killed was a staff member from a humanitarian NGO. Highlights of the UNMISS statement can be found here.
On August 5th, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) leaders, including the Presidents of Kenya, Uganda, and Djibouti, and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, regarding the situation in South Sudan. The group was in consensus that the conflict in the country must be brought to an end immediately. Secretary Kerry offered U.S. support for the peace talks being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and applauded the IGAD initiative to find an African solution to the conflict. Secretary Kerry was accompanied by State Department Counselor Tom Shannon and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Comments from the meeting participants can be viewed here.
On August 5th, Secretary Kerry and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan issued remarks before their meeting. They both emphasized the need for the conflict to end and President Kiir underscored that former Vice President Riek Machar is responsible for the crimes. Secretary Kerry was accompanied by State Department Counselor Tom Shannon and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Statements were posted here.
On August 6th, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement condemning reports of targeted and deliberate killings of six humanitarian aid workers in Maban County, Upper Nile State, South Sudan. He warned that the people of South Sudan are paying a horrific price for the failure of their leaders to resolve the conflict and called on all parties to refrain from the intimidation of humanitarian workers and the targeting of civilians. In addition, Secretary Kerry said it is now more urgent than ever that both parties commit to the IGAD negotiations. Secretary Kerry’s statement can be read here.
United States – Africa Relations
On July 31st, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Robert Yamate to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar and Comoros. Yamate is a career member of the Foreign Service and has previously held a number of State Department positions, including in Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and Zimbabwe. Yamate’s nomination was announced here.
On August 4th, the White House released a fact sheet on “Investing in African Trade for our Common Future”. The key elements of the strategy include, updating AGOA, improving infrastructure, strengthening trade capacity building and value added production, and creating new markets for Africa. The fact sheet can be found here.
On August 4th, the White House released a fact sheet on U.S.-African food security cooperation. The U.S. announced in partnership with the New Alliance more than $10 billion in private sector investments, 1,300 fellowships through Feed the Future Programs, and $1 million for the World Bank’s Agricultural Insurance Development Program. The announcement can be viewed here.
On August 4th, the White House released information on the U.S.-African cooperation in advancing gender equity. According to the fact sheet, the U.S. is committing new assistance to advance gender equity through support for three countries to develop national strategies on the advancement of women
and their participation in the peacebuilding process, new programs in the DRC, Libya, Mali, Rwanda, Somalia, and Uganda, as well as across West Africa to increase women’s participation and rights, and technical support to strengthen women’s participation in the agricultural process. Further details can be found here.
On August 4th, the White House shared a fact sheet on U.S. investment in African youth. The fact sheet highlighted the YALI program and the work the U.S. has supported in individual African countries. More information can be read here.
On August 4th, the White House published information on U.S.-African cooperation on global health. The fact sheet emphasized the U.S. commitment to eradicating AIDS, reducing infant mortality rates, and responding to infectious diseases. The sheet can be viewed here.
On August 4th, the White House released a fact sheet on U.S. support for combating wildlife trafficking. In particular, the fact sheet emphasized the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, the Presidential Task Force on Combating Wildlife Trafficking, and USAID’s commitment to supporting community based solutions. The sheet can be accessed here.
On August 4th, in relation to the civil society signatory event held as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the White House released a fact sheet on U.S. aid for democratic institutions, good governance, and human rights in Africa. The fact sheet listed specific examples of countries that received support and the human rights, responsible government, and democratic improvements that have been made. The fact sheet was posted here.
On August 5th, Vice President Joe Biden met with Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki. According to a statement on the meeting, Vice President Biden underscored the U.S. commitment to supporting Tunisia’s security. Also, Vice President Biden and President Marzouki agreed on the importance of a successful democratic transition in Tunisia. The readout of the meeting is available here.
On August 5th, the White House released a read out of Vice President Joe Biden’s meeting with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. Vice President Biden committed to work together to contain the outbreak of Ebola and encouraged the Government of Nigeria’s work to improve its business climate. Vice President Biden also emphasized the importance of access to electricity, including through the advancement of Power Africa, for trade and investment. The Vice President also underscored the importance of the terrorist threat and U.S. support for efforts to counter Boko Haram. The press release on the meeting can be seen here.
On August 5th, Vice President Joe Biden had a private meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma. In support of economic growth, the two spoke about the need to increase trade and investment opportunities in South Africa, and about President Obama’s commitment to work with Congress on the renewal of the AGOA. The two also discussed African peacekeeping capabilities, including support for an African rapid response mechanism to help address security needs on the continent. Additionally, the two exchanged views on the Gaza crisis and Syria. The summary of their meeting can be accessed here.
On August 5th, the White House released information on the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) Campaign. The fact sheet outlined the two-year commitments the U.S. Government has made to support the DBIA Campaign. The goals of the DBIA Campaign are to connect American businesses with African partners, support existing and new American investment in Africa, expand access for American businesses to finance their exports to Africa, and reduce barriers to trade and investment in Africa. The information can be found here.
On August 5th, following President Barack Obama’s announcement of $300 million in assistance per year for the Power Africa Initiative, the White House released a fact sheet on the U.S. efforts to increase access to power in Africa. The statement included details on the over $6 billion dollars in new private sector commitments, the progress to date, and the details on the U.S. Government commitments. The information can be found here.
On August 6th, the White House issued a number of fact sheets on the new peacekeeping,
counterterrorism, and security initiatives announced by President Barack Obama on the final day of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. A fact sheet on U.S. Support for Peacekeeping in Africa can be downloaded here. A fact sheet on the Security Governance initiative was posted here. Finally, a fact sheet on Partnering to Counter Terrorism in Africa can be accessed here.
On July 28th-August 15th, the State Department hosted the AWEP. On Monday, 29 women entrepreneurs from 26 African countries arrived in the U.S. The program allows the women to visit local businesses, business incubators, schools, and non-governmental organizations to engage with diverse organizations on ways to transform their societies through economic development and social advocacy. Participants in this year’s AWEP represent Angola, Botswana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the CAR, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The program’s highlights can be seen here.
On July 31st-August 22nd, tech-savvy teenagers from Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia will participate in the third TechGirls exchange program. While in the U.S., the girls will be exposed to knowledge, resources, peer networks, and mentor relationships to encourage them to pursue higher education and careers in technology. In addition to attending an interactive technology and computer camp, program participants will meet with leading U.S. technology companies and work on community service projects. The program was explained here.
On August 1st, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Catherine Novelli participated in a roundtable at the AWEP kickoff event hosted by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Under Secretary Novelli’s participation was listed here.
On August 4th, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila at the State Department. Secretary Kerry noted his May trip to the DRC, when he and President Kabila discussed strengthening democracy in the country. In addition, Secretary Kerry praised President Kabila for his leadership in addressing the FDLR and the M23 armed groups and economic developments. Secretary Kerry and President Kabila’s remarks before their meeting were shared here.
On August 4th, Secretary of State John Kerry met with President of Burkina Faso Blaise Campaore. Secretary Kerry extended his condolences for the deaths of the 28 Burkinabe citizens who were killed in the recent Air Algeire plane crash. Secretary Kerry also thanked President Campaore for Burkina Faso’s contributions towards advancing regional peace, including the mediation of negotiations related to Mali. Comments from both leaders before the meeting can be seen here.
On August 4th, Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed Angolan Vice President Manuel Domingos Vicente to Washington and to the State Department for a meeting. Secretary Kerry thanked Vice President Vicente for Angola’s cooperation and leadership with respect to the Kimberly Process, the Great Lakes Process, the DRC, M23, and FDLR. He noted that Angola also chairs the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). A transcript of the leaders’ press appearance before their meeting was issued here.
On August 4th, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza at the Department of State. Secretary Kerry discussed U.S. partnership with Burundi on law enforcement, the judiciary and the military, protection of human rights, and combating politically motivated violence. In addition, Secretary Kerry called attention to U.S. efforts to work with Burundi’s Independent National Electoral Commission to improve voter education, as well as U.S.-supported health programs for HIV/AIDS, malaria, and malnutrition. More information can be found here.
On August 4th, Secretary of State John Kerry and Tunisian Foreign Minister Mongi Hamdi issued remarks before their bilateral meeting. They both emphasized their commitment to the security of Tunisia, particularly considering the situation in Libya. Also, they reiterated the importance of their partnership. The remarks can be seen here.
On August 4th, President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania and Secretary of State Kerry spoke
before their private meeting. Secretary Kerry highlighted the close relationship with President Aziz as both the President of the AU and Mauritania. He also underscored the U.S. commitment to helping Mauritania address regional political and security issues. President Aziz said the U.S. military support allowed them to secure their country. Their statements can be seen here.
On August 4th, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin delivered remarks at the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce at their event titled, “North Africa: Challenges and Opportunities in a Time of Transition.” While acknowledging the existing challenges in North Africa, Assistant Secretary Rivkin said that North Africa presents a great opportunity for U.S. and local businesses and that growth in trade and investment could help transform the lives of people living in North Africa. Assistant Secretary Rivkin’s presentation was transcribed here.
On August 4th, the State Department and RocketHub announced a crowdfunding platform, the Alumni Engagement and Innovation Fund (AEIF) 2.0. It allows alumni from U.S. Government sponsored aid projects to help fund and accelerate their projects. Current projects posted include women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship in rural Tanzania and youth entrepreneurship in Morocco. Information on the project can be read here.
On August 5th, Secretary of State John Kerry and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn spoke prior to their private meeting. They both emphasized Ethiopia’s role as a regional leader and the need for a strengthened partnership, particularly in security, climate change, and food security. Secretary Kerry was joined in the meeting by State Department Counselor Tom Shannon. Their remarks can be viewed here.
On August 5th, Secretary of State John Kerry and AU Commission Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma spoke before their meeting. Secretary Kerry emphasized his appreciation for the AU. Both leaders underscored the need to focus on the substance of Africa, including developing democracy, encouraging economic development, supporting human rights, and promoting security issues. Secretary Kerry was joined in the meeting by State Department Counselor Tom Shannon. Their remarks can be viewed here.
On August 5th, Secretary of State John Kerry and State Department Counselor Tom Shannon met with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on the sidelines of the U.S.-Africa Business Forum. The meeting was listed here.
On August 5th, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman attended the Ministerial Discussion on the Sahel/Maghreb Region at the National Academy of Sciences. Under Secretary Sherman was joined by Ambassador-At-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism Tina Kaidanow. She also met with the President of Guinea-Bissau Joe Mario Vaz and his delegation. Under Secretary Sherman’s appointments were detailed here.
On August 5th, Ambassador-At-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism Tina Kaidanow met with Algerian Minister Delegate for Africa and Maghreb Affairs Abdelkader Messahel at the Department of State. The meeting was included on the Department’s daily appointment schedule, which can be accessed here.
On August 5th, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell published a post on the importance of educated girls and empowered women. Her post reflected on her trip to Zambia, the DRC, and Sierra Leone with Dr. Jill Biden. She said a recurring theme of the trip was that both boys and girls must be afforded access to quality and safe schooling, particularly beyond the primary school level. To end poverty, root out corruption, stop gender-based violence, end early and forced marriage, create conditions for peace and prosperity, or counter radical extremism, education is the viable, long-term solution. Her post can be viewed here.
On August 5th, State Department Spokesperson Jen Paski spoke to the peace talks occurring in Egypt and the U.S. relationship with Libya. She explained the U.S. role in the peace talks and expressed optimism about the prospects of the talks. She also answered questions on the situation in Libya and the U.S. commitment to supporting a stable Libya. Her briefing can be read here.
On August 6th, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Catherine
Novelli met with Coca-Cola President for Eurasia and Africa Nathan Kalumbu, in Washington, DC. The meeting was noticed here.
On August 6th, State Department Counselor Tom Shannon met separately with Foreign Minister of Botswana Phandu Skelemani and Egyptian Finance Minister Hany Qadry Dimian. In addition, Counselor Shannon attended a working dinner in honor of Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab at the Egyptian Ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC. Counselor Shannon’s schedule was summarized here.
On August 4th, USAID unveiled its annual report on President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative. The report finds that Power Africa has made remarkable progress toward its goal of adding more than 10,000 MW of cleaner, more efficient energy generation capacity in sub-Saharan Africa. As of June 2014, Power Africa had helped facilitate the close of transactions which expect to produce nearly 2,800 MW of new generation capacity. In addition, projects expected to generate more than 5,000 additional MW are currently under consideration. The full report can be downloaded here.
On August 4th, David Stanton, the Director of USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS posted the five take-aways from AIDS 2014. They are: the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) announced its goal to end AIDS in cities by 2030; the AIDS epidemic can be contained; preventing key populations, men who have sex with men, sex workers, injecting drug users and transgender people, is essential; treatment and prevention must be carefully defined; and the needs and complexities of pediatric HIV and AIDS must be prioritized. His blog post can be read here.
Department of Defense
On August 1st, AFRICOM reported on the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and AFRICOM military exchange. The focus of the exercises was English exchanges and combat care. Soldiers’ reflections on the training were reported on here.
On August 1st, Bloomberg News reported on the Obama Administration’s war against militants operating throughout North and sub-Saharan Africa. Recently, militants throughout the continent have been attacking governments, ushering in a wave of instability and fear. Rather than sending in soldiers, the U.S. military is engaged in training exercises that will bolster the security apparatus of several African nations. However, the article notes that many of the regimes that are receiving U.S. assistance are often authoritarian and have histories of human-rights records. Additional information can be found here.
On August 5th, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki reported that the Tunisian Government has requested 12 Black Hawks from the U.S. According to a notice posted by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the Obama Administration will sell them 12 UH-60M Black Hawks for a total estimated cost of $700 million. Details on the sale can be viewed here.
On August 7th, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who was visiting Washington, DC, to participated in events related to the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The meeting was noticed here.
Department of Commerce
On August 5th, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams provided opening remarks and field questions at the “Trade, Not Aid: Forging U.S.-African Business Partnerships” web chat, hosted by the U.S. Department of State in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Abuja for young Nigeria entrepreneurs. Assistant Secretary Williams’ participation was noted here.
On August 4th, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), and Senate Foreign Relations Africa Subcommittee Chairman Chris Coons (D-DE) met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in the U.S. Capitol. The meeting centered on international efforts to combat the growing threat of Boko Haram. The
congressional leaders expressed support for intensified U.S.-Nigeria security cooperation and also stressed the importance of holding credible, peaceful 2015 national elections in Nigeria. The discussion was summarized here.
On August 5th, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), and Senate Foreign Relations Africa Subcommittee Chairman Chris Coons (D-DE) met with DRC President Joseph Kabila. The leaders discussed the longstanding conflict in the eastern Congo and a path forward to sustainable peace for local communities, including efforts to disarm and demobilize rebel groups. The congressional leaders also pressed President Kabila to lift the current suspension of exit permits for adoptive children. The meeting was detailed here.
On August 5th, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), and Senate Foreign Relations Africa Subcommittee Chairman Chris Coons (D-DE) met with South African President Jacob Zuma. President Zuma and the congressional leaders discussed the importance of cooperation to address shared interests such as nonproliferation, combating HIV/AIDS, countering illicit wildlife trafficking, and facilitating trade and investment. The also discussed the democratic aspirations of the Zimbabwean people and peace and security challenges in the DRC, Sudan, and South Sudan. A readout of the meeting was shared here.
On August 7th, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations held a hearing on “Combating the Ebola Threat.” Witnesses included CDC Director Tom Frieden, USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health Ariel Pablos-Mendez, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Bisa Williams. Testimony was also provided by Ken Isaacs of Samaritan’s Purse and Frank Glover of SIM. A webcast of the hearing can be watched here.
On July 25th, flooding began in Sudan. Since its beginning the flooding has displaced 6,000 people, killed 184 people, and destroyed 3,000 homes. According to the Sudanese Ministry of Health, 22 districts in eight states were affected by the flooding. Further details on the situation are available here.
On August 1st, Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag, the woman sentenced to death in Sudan for apostasy, and her family arrived in the U.S. They flew into Philadelphia, PA, and then traveled to Manchester, NH. The mayor in Philadelphia greeted her. Her husband and children had already arrived in Manchester, where the family will be making its home. More information on her arrival is available here.
On August 1st, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a new three-year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for $122.4 million for Chad. The first disbursement will total $20.4 million. The IMF observed that Chad’s macroeconomic performance has been relatively strong, despite regional security issues. In addition, economic analysts forecasted that Chad’s medium-term economic prospects will remain generally favorable. A report on Chad’s economy was issued here.
On August 4th, the International Organization for Migration began its river transport service for critically ill cholera patients. Picking up patients along the 30-mile stretch of the Nile between Malakal and Kodok, the people are taken to treatment centers in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State. The goal of the transport is to get critical cholera patients to a treatment center as quickly as possible. The roads are not navigable during the rainy season, so river travel is the only option. More information on the transport can be found here.
On August 5th, the World Bank published an article on the Bank of Khartoum placing as a finalist in the recent Islamic Microfinance Challenge. The Bank of Khartoum offers a profit-sharing model for its members, which helps them reach small farmers. The Islamic Microfinance Challenge was sponsored by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, the Islamic Development Bank, Al Baraka Banking Group, and Triple Jump. The article can be seen here.
On August 5th, Al-Monitor reported that the Egyptian Government paid public relations and government
affairs firm Glover Park Group $3 million to engage in initiatives to salvage $1.5 billion in annual U.S. aid to Egypt. The Egyptian Government has argued that the aid, which is in jeopardy due to growing acrimony between Washington and Cairo, is needed to combat Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula. Additional information can be accessed here.
On July 30th, Al Jazeera published a feature on the recruitment of Al Shabaab fighters. In particular, the article focused on the recruitment of poor Kenyan men. According to the feature, Al Shabaab targets poor and religious boys in Kenya on moral grounds and then turns them into child soldiers upon their arrival in Nigeria. The full article can be read here.
On August 1st, a Ugandan court struck down the Anti-Homosexuality Act. The court ruled that it was invalid because it had been passed by the Ugandan Parliament without a proper quorum. Gay rights activists said they were happy with the decision, but wished the decision would have dealt with substantive issues regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights. The wording of the decision preserves the possibility that the measure could be revived. More information on the decision is available here.
On August 1st, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement on the annulment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda. He paid tribute to all of those who advocated for the change, and said the decision was a victory for the rule of law. He emphasized that everyone is entitled to basic rights, and he encouraged Ugandans to work to decriminalize same-sex relationships and address the stigma that persists in Uganda. The statement was shared here.
On August 1st, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the repossession of land, stretching over 1,000 square miles, which he said was taken under corrupt circumstances by 22 companies between 2011 and 2012. The area surrounds a planned $24 billion port project. President Kenyatta said the criminal acts of Al Shabaab should not detail the planned investments. The highlights of the President’s remarks can be seen here.
On August 4th, Voice of America published a review of Ethiopia’s growing manufacturing sector. As costs have increased in China, manufacturing has increased in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Government is building new industrial mega-zones that have successfully attracted foreign investors such has George Shoe PLC, to Ethiopia. Although there are language barrier issues, labor costs are much lower in East Africa. The article can be accessed here.
On August 5th, President Hassan Sheikh of Somalia said a new military drive by AU and Somali forces to push Al Shabaab militants from more territory will begin shortly. He commented the tools are in place to ensure Operation Indian Ocean will succeed. He also mentioned that Al Shabaab’s overseas attacks are a sign of their weakness. The highlights of his comments can be found here.
On August 1st, Al Jazeera released a feature piece of the Ivory Coast’s reemerging film industry. The film industry used to be successful, but following the 2011 crisis it has struggled to develop. The country’s economic growth surpassed the IMF’s expectations, but funding for films has been scarce. The government has developed a fund, but it is grossly underfunded. The feature can be found here.
On August 1st, the Executive Board of the IMF completed the fourth review of Guinea’s economic performance under the program support by an Extended Credit Facility arrangement (ECF), allowing the disbursement of an additional $28.1 million. The IMF noted that Guinea’s economy was affected by a number of adverse shocks in 2013, including suspended investments in large mining projects and political unrest. Despite these challenges, the fiscal deficit was contained. The IMF also warned that the Ebola epidemic could be an additional near-term challenge. Additional analysis was provided here.
On August 1st, Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote announced plans to invest $1 billion in commercial rice farming and modern integrated rice mills in Nigeria. The announcement came during a meeting with Nigerian Minister of Agriculture Akinwumi Adesina in Abuja. Dangote said he hopes his investment will
promote Nigerian food sufficiency and allow the country to become a net exporter of rice within the next four years. Dangote’s investment was highlighted here.
On August 4th, Senegalese police used teargas to disperse supporters of Karim Wade. The former President’s son is undergoing a corruption trial. The supporters became angry after they were refused entry to Dakar's Palais de Justice where a special court is handling the case. Supporters believe the trial is a part of a plot by the government to purge its political rivals. Details of the situation were reported here.
On August 5th, Amnesty International aired footage that showed Nigerian soldiers slitting the throats of Boko Haram suspects and dumping their bodies in a mass grave. Nigerian forces continually come under fire for their human rights abuses, like extrajudicial killings. The video was not independently verified. Further details on the video can be seen here.
On August 1st, President of the Republic of Congo (ROC) Denis Sassou-Nguesso discussed peace, security, and stability in the central Africa region and oil investments in the ROC at a NPC luncheon. A recording of the discussion can be watched here.
On August 5th, Jean Bertrand Ewanga, an opposition leader in the DRC, was imprisoned after he spoke at a rally calling on DRC President Joseph Kabila to respect constitutional term limits and step aside in presidential elections due in 2016. He is the General Secretary of the Union for the Congolese Nation. Ewanga was ordered to be detained under house arrest, but was subsequently imprisoned in Makala prison in Kinshasa. Witnesses also reported that Supreme Court judges had concerns over a lack proof and the speed with which Ewanga was brought to court. Information on the arrest and trial is available here.
On August 6th, Boeing and state-owned South African Airways agreed to partner to produce jet fuel from tobacco plants as part of an effort to reduce pollution. The fuel will be made from the Solaris plan, which can be grown for energy crops by farmers instead of traditional tobacco. Last October, Boeing and South African Airways also agreed to develop Africa’s first biofuel supply chain for commercial aviation. The partnership was described here.
On August 7th, Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial resumed at the North Guateng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa. Both the prosecution and the defense have submitted their final argument documents to Jude Thokozile Masipa. In its closing remarks, the prosecution labeled “blade runner” Olympian Pistorius as a deceitful witness, who was angry, jealous, and gun obsessed. The defense will present its closing remarks on Friday. More on the closing remarks was reported here.
General Africa News
On July 31st, the World Bank hosted the African Youth Forum. As part of the event, Senior Director of the Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice Anabel Gonzalez led a panel on youth entrepreneurship and employment. The panel highlighted that more than half of today’s African population is below the age of 25 and on the cusp of entering their prime working years. As a result, Senior Director Gonzalez argued that Africa’s private sector must create millions of productive, good-paying jobs in both rural and urban areas to keep pace. Her remarks can be read here.
On July 31st, the journal Academic Medicine released a supplement detailing the progress being made, due to the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI). MEPI began in 2010 with funding from President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It works to improve medical education and training. According to the supplement, the accomplishments of the program are great, including increased medical school enrollment, improved trainings, and new masters level programs. The highlights of the supplement were shared here.
On August 1st, Chika Amalaha of Nigeria was stripped of her gold weightlifting medal at the Commonwealth Games after failing her drug test. At 16 years old, she would have been the youngest winner. Also at the games, a cyclist from Sierra Leone was tested for Ebola after falling ill, but his tests
came back negative. Finally, Nijel Amos of Botswana beat favorite David Rudisha of Kenya in the 800-meter sprint. Rudisha won gold in the 800 meter in the 2012 London Olympics. More information on the Commonwealth Games can be viewed here.
On August 4th, the National Journal reported on the activities of musician Akon. This past January, the recording artist launched an initiative called Akon Lighting Africa, which seeks to provide electricity to Africans across the continent. This will be accomplished by installing solar-powered systems in both cities and smaller villages. Further information can be found here.