U.S. President Barack Obama will hold a
working luncheon with presidents and prime ministers from Sub-Saharan African Tuesday in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan
Rice has been quoted as saying the meeting will focus on how to build a 21st
century partnership that will lead to economic and social development for the
people of Africa.
Kenyan-born Calestous Juma, professor of the Practice of
International Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at
Harvard University in Boston said President Obama
will mostly likely repeat the same issues he raised during his speech to the
Ghanaian parliament this past July.
think the president will most likely re-emphasize the message that he conveyed
to Africa during his visit to Ghana which was essentially providing them with the
signal that they need to take greater responsibility and be in charge of the
internal affairs," he said.
said President Obama will also most likely reiterate the importance of good
governance in Africa and the fight against corruption.
was really talking about the issue of corruption, the fact that if you have a
corrupt system where you don't have predictably a legal framework in the
country, you really cannot run a private enterprise…and that has been missing
in large parts of Africa," Juma said.
said in addition to building legal infrastructure for good governance, Africa
also needs to build its physical infrastructure such as roads, railways and
cannot govern a country if you cannot move the police around. Take the
Democratic Republic of Congo as an example which is the size of Western Europe.
But it has a paved road network which is equivalent to that of Qatar or Virgin
Island. You have little change of governing a country like that," he said.
said an increasing number of African countries are attracted to China because
of Beijing's interest in providing support for the continent's infrastructure
said Tuesday's meeting should not be overshadowed by the fact that some of
Africa's controversial leaders like Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe might be in
think the events of Zimbabwe have been very dramatic and they portray the
continent negatively. But we should take into account that this is not the norm
in Africa in that there are many other countries that have been very successful
in democratic transition, Ghana being an example," Juma said.
He said there are
indications President Obama would like to see investment in peace in Africa
because nothing concrete can be done on the continent without peace and
Juman said African leaders
should think seriously about the opportunity created by the creation of the
Africa Military Command.
But he said securing Africa
would have to go beyond military intervention alone. He said African leaders must
build educational institutions to train their manpower.