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Obama Outlines Partnership Model with Africa

Obama Outlines Vision of U.S.-Africa Cooperation during South Africa Visiti
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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 wordle.net
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The most frequently used words and phrases in President Obama's speech in Cape Town on June 30, 2013. Courtesy of wordle.net
The most frequently used words and phrases in President Obama's speech in Cape Town on June 30, 2013. Courtesy of wordle.net
​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.

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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).


by: RICK from: ILLINOIS
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.

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