News / Africa

    Obama Meets African Leaders at White House

    President Barack Obama meets with, from left, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, Benin President Boni Yayi, Guinea President Alpha Conde, and Cote d'Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, July 29, 20
    President Barack Obama meets with, from left, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, Benin President Boni Yayi, Guinea President Alpha Conde, and Cote d'Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, July 29, 20

    Multimedia

    Audio

    As he continues to deal with the U.S. debt crisis, President Barack Obama met on Friday with four visiting African heads of state. Obama said the leaders represent expanding democracy in Africa, and the discussions also covered issues such as counter-terrorism and famine in East Africa.

    Obama's meeting with the presidents of Benin, Guinea, Niger, and Ivory Coast took place in the White House Cabinet Room rather than the Oval Office.

    The president sat in the middle of the long table in the room flanked by Presidents Boni Yayi of Benin, Alpha Conde of Guinea, Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, and Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast.

    The talks were closed to media coverage, but in a fairly lengthy statement translated into French, Obama noted that all four men came to power through free and fair elections.

    Calling democratic progress vital to a stable, prosperous and just Africa and critical to global stability, the president said each had shown persistence in the face of enormous challenges.

    "Because of their fortitude and because of the determination of their people to live in democratic, free societies they have been able to arrive at a position of power that is supported by the legitimate will of their peoples and as such they can serve as effective models for the continent," Obama said.

    Among those challenges, Obama mentioned Ivory Coast where Ouattara took power earlier this year following political upheaval and protracted fighting that left as many as 3,000 people dead.

    In recognizing Ouattara as the new legitimate leader in Ivory Coast last April, replacing Laurent Gbagbo, Obama also called for steps toward reconciliation and said those responsible for atrocities should be held accountable.

    The president repeated a theme he sounded during his only visit so far to Africa in 2009, and in interactions with African leaders, that "this is a moment of great opportunity and significant progress" for the continent.

    He said all agreed that development "cannot keep on duplicating an approach that breeds dependence" but must embrace one that creates sustainability and greater capacity.

    The talks also covered security issues. Obama said he expressed appreciation for assistance from African countries in battling terrorism that he said is "trying to get a foothold inside of Africa."

    Spreading famine and humanitarian crisis in East Africa also was a topic, including how the U.S. can work with countries to prevent things from getting worse.

    "I think it has not gotten as much attention here in the United States as it deserves, but we are starting to see famine developing along the Horn of Africa, in areas like Somalia in particular, and that is going to require an international response, and Africa will have to be a partner in making sure that tens of thousands do not starve to death," said the president.

    President Obama noted that Niger's President Issoufou had mentioned Obama's upcoming 50th birthday. Obama used that to underscore another message he has sought to communicate to the people of Africa.

    "When we think about the extraordinary progress that has been made, I think there is much that we can be proud of, but of course when we think about the last 50 years, we also have to recognize that there have been a lot of opportunities that have been missed," he said.

    The president said he believes the leaders in the room are "absolutely committed" to making sure that 50 years from now they can say they helped to turn the tide in their countries, establish strong democratic practices, and establish economic prosperity and security.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora