In a growing recognition of the emerging continent as one of the most dynamic and fast-growing regions across the globe, African leaders from 47 nations have been invited to Washington on August 5 and 6, 2014 for the first US-Africa Leaders Summit.
A press release from the White House stated that the US President looks forward to welcoming leaders from across the African continent to the US capital to further strengthen ties with one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing regions.
Besides advancing the US’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, the Summit also seeks to build on the progress made since Obama’s trip to Africa last summer as well as highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.
Obama had made a weeklong trip in June 2013 to the continent that included stops in Tanzania, Senegal and South Africa. During the visit, he highlighted programs that combine public and private efforts to strengthen economic growth. The trip was widely seen as a response to China’s heavy investment in Africa.
Besides heads of state, Obama will also extend an invitation to the African Union Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Mauritius is included in the 47 countries which are invited from the continent for the Summit. The list excludes those African heads of state or governments ‘that are not in good standing with the United States or are suspended from the African Union’.
Incidentally, Zimbabwe finds itself out of the list as US has issued sanctions against it due to suppression of democracy by President Robert Mugabe, who is vociferously pursuing an indigenization policy, and also on counts of what the White House sees as ‘politically motivated’ violence.
Egypt too finds itself out of the prestigious invite, as US-Egyptian relations have been tense since the ouster of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, after nationwide protests calling for his removal. Egypt’s membership in the African Union was also suspended following Morsi’s removal.
Madagascar and Guinea-Bissau are other notable absentees on the invite list. Washington has concerns over the subversion of democracy in these nations.
There will also be no invitation for Sudan, whose president, Omar al-Bashir, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
More specifically, Obama is issuing invitations to heads of state from Angola, Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia.