News / Africa

Obama Outlines Partnership Model with Africa

Obama Outlines Vision of U.S.-Africa Cooperation during South Africa Visiti
June 30, 2013 9:45 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama brought his tour of South Africa to a triumphant climax Sunday with a wide-ranging speech outlining a new model for U.S. engagement with Africa, and initiatives he says will being more prosperity and progress to the continent. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg he also continued to urge Africa’s youth to do more to push the continent forward.
Obama Outlines Vision of U.S.-Africa Cooperation during South Africa Visit
U.S. President Barack Obama has outlined a new model for U.S. engagement with Africa, supporting greater economic opportunity and democracy, and African-led solutions to security.

At the University of Cape Town, Obama presented a broad picture of his goals for U.S.-Africa policy, including assistance, trade and investment, health, and security cooperation.

The speech was framed around the legacy Obama said former president Nelson Mandela has left for the continent.

The most frequently used words and phrases in President Obama's speech in Cape Town on June 30, 2013. Courtesy of wordle.netThe most frequently used words and phrases in President Obama's speech in Cape Town on June 30, 2013. Courtesy of
The most frequently used words and phrases in President Obama's speech in Cape Town on June 30, 2013. Courtesy of
The most frequently used words and phrases in President Obama's speech in Cape Town on June 30, 2013. Courtesy of
​Earlier he and his family visited Robben Island, where Mandela spent nearly two decades of his 27 years in prison under the former apartheid regime. “Nelson Mandela showed us that one man's courage can move the world and he calls on his to make choices that reflect not our fears, but our hopes, in our own lives and in the lives of our communities and our countries," he said.

Obama said the United States will “up our game” in a continent he described as “poised to take off," with new trade and investment and steps to bring down trade barriers.

He spoke about his food security initiative to help lift 50-million people out of poverty within a decade.  And he announced a “Power Africa” initiative to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa, with an initial investment of $7 billion.  

Obama said he will continue seeking ideas from Africa's young people about their continent's future.  He announced his plan to hold a first-ever summit in Washington of sub-Saharan African leaders.

“I am proud to announce that next year, I am going to invite heads of state from across sub-Saharan Africa to a summit in the United States to help launch a new chapter in U.S.-Africa relations," he said.

The president spoke of a “historic shift” in Africa from poverty to a growing middle class with fewer people dying of preventable disease, but still threatened by the “rot of corruption” and conflict.

“It is not moving fast enough for the child still languishing in poverty in forgotten townships.  It is not moving fast enough for the protester who is beaten in Harare, or the woman who is raped in Eastern Congo.  We have got more work to do because these Africans must not be left behind," he said.

Obama called South Africa an example of the difference between freedom and tyranny, saying governments “should exist to serve their people and not other way around.”

Citing free and fair elections and the growth of civil society from Ghana to Zambia, he said governments that respect the rights of their citizens and abide by the rule of law do better and draw more investment.

In Zimbabwe, he said only a credible election can help repair the country's economy. “There is an opportunity to move forward, but only if there is an election that is free and fair and peaceful so that Zimbabweans can determine their future without fear of intimidation and retribution.  And after elections there must be respect for the universal rights upon which democracy depends," he said.

Obama said the United States is interested in investing not in “strong men, but in strong institutions” and supports open and accountable governments, independent judiciaries, and societies that empower women. “No country will reach its potential unless it draws on the talents of our mothers and our sisters and our daughters," he said.

Obama said opportunity and democracy cannot take root as long as fear prevails in too many places, citing conflicts in Mali, Somalia, Congo and Sudan.

He said the United States supports African-led solutions, noting U.S. support for African Union peacekeeping in Somalia and efforts against the rebel Lord's Resistance Army in central Africa.

“From Mali to Mogadishu, senseless terrorism all too often perverts the meaning of Islam one of the world's great religions and takes the lives of countless innocent Africans.  From Congo to Sudan, conflicts fester robbing men and women and children of the lives they deserve.  In too many countries the actions of thugs, and warlords and drug cartels and human traffickers hold back the promise of Africa, enslaving others for their own purposes," he said.

He said America makes no apology for helping African efforts to end conflict and stand up for human dignity.

Earlier, Obama joined retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu at a youth center named after him for AIDS prevention.

“Your success is our success.  Your failure, whether you like it or not, is our failure.  And so we want to assure you that we pray for you to be a great success.  We want you to be known as having brought peace to the world," said Tutu.

President Obama and his family depart early Monday for Tanzania, the final stop on his three-nation Africa tour.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Noel,
July 01, 2013 12:39 PM
Zimbabwe, well for a very long time the West has ignored what has been happening there, that is abundantly clear so the call for a credible election is welcome. However quite how that is implemented, remains to be seen. Thank you Mr Obama for this comment. It is indeed welcome.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 01, 2013 12:30 AM
I think desirable partnership between US and Africa seems economical one rather than political one because large parts of problems in Africa reffered by Obama look mainly caused by poverty and low income. Any economic relationship between countries shoud be bilateral and absolutely not be exproitationing as it has been ever before.

by: mullylin33 from: USA
June 30, 2013 7:41 PM
Why is Obama still in Africa when he has so many problems that need to be resolved here. And, hand outs is not a thing he should be doing at this point. THIS country is in trouble and he needs to do his job. I voted for him both times and am really disappointed.

by: Paul from: The generous US of A
June 30, 2013 6:54 PM
So We The People should cheer up and pony up 7 (SEVEN) B-I-L-L-I-O-N D-O-L-L-A-R-S 'cause "Mr.Nice" said so? Speaking of redistribution of wealth.
I don't think so, Mr. B. Hussein Obama!
Not on our watch. This is Republic, not "Empire".
In Response

by: Vick from: Cameroon
July 02, 2013 12:24 AM
Investment is not giving!!
Obama sees Africa as an opportunity for the US to expand the consumer base for its industry. Good relationships with Africa will also mean more friends in the world. China is doing just that.

Looking only inward (in the US), or seeing Africa only as in need for handouts is outdated. The world is changing.

by: Mary Bee from: Earth
June 30, 2013 6:37 PM
While Obama has opted to spend $70 BILLION American taxpayers dollars in Africa, perhpas he should consider that most senior citizens on Social Security in the USA live below the poverty level. Millions and millions of those seniors have paid into social security and the U.S. tax system their entire lives.

We have children and adults living in poverty in the United States, the U.S. debt is beyond comprehension and yet Obama feels compelled to further this absurdity on an ever grander scale.

America has spent BILLIONS and BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars in Africa and other third world nations for decades with very little results. If there were viable past results, the need to give them another 70 billion wouldn't be necessary. We cannot afford to finance the world - when we can't balance (or create) our own budget.

Given Obama's latest generous gesture with America's money, maybe our federal government should do an audit to find out exactly what all the previous donations have accomplished.

Instead of promising more money to Africa, perhaps after Mr. Obama leaves office, he should take up residence there and fix their country like he has ours. (yes, sarcasm).

June 30, 2013 6:28 PM
So not only can we not support the citizens of the United States due to the squandering of our tax dollars, but now we have to support the infrastructure of Africa as well. No problem, the fed will keep printing money that doesn't exist.

by: kathy Jones from: Houston Texas
June 30, 2013 5:48 PM
President Obama needs to form a partnership with the American people first.
In Response

by: kenn from: nanaimo,bc,canada
June 30, 2013 8:04 PM
right on,charity and generosity begins at home.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs