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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Will the US-Africa Summit achieve anything?

 Although some are sceptical of the summit’s reach and success due to mainly the ongoing issues that accompany Africa and its leadership namely corruption, human rights violation, disease and famine, the summit is the beginning of what the US promises will be a great first step to engage African countries in business and development.


Secretary of State Kerry welcomed everyone in the opening of the summit, with hopeful remarks that sounds encouraging and optimistic. Despite the many who are asking how this summit will change the culture of corruption, tribal violence, and human rights violations that is the usual African narrative, maybe this summit is what Africa needs, or maybe the summit is the answer to the US’s ghost chase of China which dominates Africa in development and investment, so far it has invested some $200 billion across Africa.


China has become Africa’s ‘great white hope’ while the US all but stopped to engage Africa in President Obama’s tenure. The Obama administration might have found the secret recipe albeit a bit late, namely that Africa is changing in the face of all the problems that exist on the ground. There is a growing middle class who are young and educated, Africa is home to most of the growing economies in the world, and it’s spewing out more and more educated young professionals that are entrepreneurial, tech savvy and ready to engage.


For those countries that are ready to change the negative narrative that seems to persist, this summit maybe exactly what was needed. But the challenge for them will be to be transparent, inclusive and engaging of youth, civil society and women groups.


For those without the infrastructure, willingness or vision to come along with this great hope, those who want to oppress and violate their citizens and continue the same old story of hopelessness, the summit would not have changed much. All in all everyone was optimistic, but judging from the thousands of African protesters resident, including Gambians in America, who were shouting “don’t do business with African tyrants” it seems Africa cannot out run its negative narrative.


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