DAR ES SALAAM
— U.S. President Barack Obama will continue to lobby for stronger business ties between Africa and the United States when he heads Monday to Tanzania, the last stop on his three-nation tour of the continent.
President Obama is due to participate in a business roundtable Monday in Dar es Salaam to hear from CEOs and business leaders from Africa and the United States.
The White House expects representatives from U.S. companies Coca-Cola, General Electric and Microsoft to attend as well as Kenya’s Equity Bank and Zimbabwe’s Econet telecommunications firm, among others.
African Development Bank
president Donald Kaberuka
will represent the financial institution at the roundtable.
He told VOA the bank applauded the U.S. president’s efforts to encourage more private American investment in Africa.
“I think this is a very good beginning because for far too long the rich world interacted with Africa through the prism of foreign aid: how it can help Africa, how it can do things for Africa. I think this kind of conversation that begins with, ‘Wait a minute, what can we do together? What are the opportunities, what are the obstacles, how can we together go around them is something which I think is very important at this time,” said Kaberuka.
The African Development Bank is partnering with the United States on a new presidential initiative to improve Africa’s electric power capacity and networks.
The plan, called “Power Africa,” is worth $8 billion during the next five years, according to the African Development Bank, and focuses on six countries: Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia.
Kaberuka said this kind of project could help African economies diversify and shake a reliance on natural resources.
“If we can resolve the power problem, this will make industry happen there, that is what will add value to what we produce, instead of simply exporting oil and gas,” he said.
Before the business event, President Obama is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.
Tanzania is a major recipient of U.S. aid, much of it in the form of a $700 million Millennium Challenge Corporation compact for improving infrastructure in the country, the largest amount ever awarded by the agency.
Meanwhile, a public-opinion survey released Friday from the U.S.-based Gallup poll shows U.S. approval ratings have declined in the countries Obama is visiting on his tour of Africa.
According to the survey, 70 percent of Tanzanians approve of U.S. leadership, which is down from 89 percent approval in 2009, when Obama first took office.