Obama, African leaders open talks on security and governance on final day of US-Africa summit

President Barack Obama and dozens of African leaders opened talks Wednesday on two key issues that threaten to disrupt economic progress on the continent: security and government corruption.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and dozens of African leaders opened talks Wednesday on two key issues that threaten to disrupt economic progress on the continent: security and government corruption.

The discussions cap an unprecedented three-day gathering of African leaders in Washington. Much of the conference has centred on boosting U.S. financial ties with Africa, a continent that is home to six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies and a rapidly expanding middle class.

As he has throughout the summit, Obama sought to highlight Africa’s potential, particularly as an untapped trading partner for U.S. businesses. During remarks at the State Department Wednesday morning, he said that even though the continent faces significant challenges, “A new Africa is emerging.”

Yet White House officials acknowledge that security issues and governance challenges continue to constrain the continent’s overall prosperity. There are particular concerns about Boko Haram, a ruthlessly violent Islamist group in Nigeria that was responsible for the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls earlier this year.

Obama said the security discussions would centre on ways to enable African governments to boost their own peacekeeping and counterterrorism capabilities while moving away from the need for costly outside intervention.

Leaders are also expected to discuss good governance and transparency, with U.S. officials arguing to their African counterparts that both are necessary conditions for economic growth.

The president also acknowledged the Ebola crisis gripping three African nations, saying the countries affected have overcome great challenges in the past and are “drawing on that same spirit” now. The leaders of Liberia and Sierra Leone cancelled plans to travel to Washington in order to deal with the crisis, while the president of Guinea is attending the talks.

Obama will close the summit with a late-afternoon news conference. First lady Michelle Obama is also hosting a spouses’ event with former first lady Laura Bush.

On Tuesday, Obama announced $33 billion in U.S. commitments aimed at boosting financial ties with the continent. More than half of the commitments came from the private sector, including Coca-Cola Company and General Electric.

Just Posted

Trump Russia probe finally delivers some answers

WASHINGTON — After nearly two years of waiting, America is getting some… Continue reading

Trans Mountain Pipeline deadline extended

OTTAWA — The federal government is delaying a decision on the Trans… Continue reading

Kenney talks pipelines with Trudeau after election win, calls it cordial

EDMONTON — Jason Kenney, Alberta’s incoming premier, said he cordially talked pipelines… Continue reading

Shooting victims in Penticton, B.C., remembered before vigil at city park

PENTICTON, B.C. — Family and friends are remembering neighbours who were gunned… Continue reading

Kremlin says Kim Jong Un will visit Russia this month

MOSCOW — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will visit Russia later… Continue reading

Updated: Industrial fabrication shop in Red Deer destroyed in morning fire

About 30 workers got out safely before building in north end gutted

Earth, meet Polo: Ralph Lauren unveils plastic bottle shirt

NEW YORK — Earth, meet Polo. Polo Ralph Lauren on Thursday launched… Continue reading

Statistics Canada reports retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in February

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in… Continue reading

Inflation rises 1.9% on higher prices for fresh vegetables, mortgage costs

OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation was up last month as price pressures… Continue reading

Netflix adds 9.6M subscribers in 1Q as competition heats up

SAN FRANCISCO — Netflix kicked off the year with the biggest subscriber… Continue reading

Liberals find anti-Trudeau sentiment on campaign trail in Prince Edward Island

OTTAWA — When voters in Prince Edward Island go to the polls… Continue reading

Officer tells of finding body at trial for B.C. dad accused of killing daughters

VANCOUVER — A police officer choked up Tuesday as he recalled finding… Continue reading

Man faces murder charges in slayings of two men, two women in Penticton, B.C.

PENTICTON, B.C. — A former city employee described as a hard-working, civic-minded… Continue reading

A look at Alberta’s elections since the province was created in 1905

EDMONTON — A chronology of Alberta elections: Nov. 9, 1905: Lawyer Alexander… Continue reading

Most Read