News / Africa

Obama: Investment in Africa Depends on Security

Obama: Investment in Africa Depends on Securityi
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Luis Ramirez
August 06, 2014 12:20 AM
One goal of the African leaders' summit in Washington is to build on a strategic relationship that the United States has established in Africa as the continent faces a range of security threats. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Luis Ramirez

One goal of the African leaders' summit in Washington is to build on a strategic relationship that the United States has established in Africa as the continent faces a range of security threats.  

From establishing drone bases to training African troops, the U.S. has expanded its security relationship with Africa in recent years. The aim is to help African governments combat extremist groups such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabab in East Africa and militants in the Sahel.

This week’s summit focuses on trade and investment, as President Barack Obama aims to forge a new U.S. relationship with Africa.  

In announcing U.S. companies' pledges to invest $14 billion in Africa, Obama said security is essential to prosperity.

“We're going to have to talk about security and peace because the future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy," Obama said. "It's very hard to attract business investment and it's very hard to build infrastructure and it's very hard to sustain entrepreneurship in the midst of conflict."

The U.S. military established its Africa Command in 2007, but based it at a distance - in Germany. The command has overseen operations to assist African militaries in transporting troops, sharing intelligence and reconnaissance.

There are big reasons why the U.S. needs to speed up efforts to engage more with the continent, beyond providing low-key military cooperation and aid.

"Certainly the small-footprint strategy has worked," said Michael Rubin, an analyst with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington. "That said, we need to remember while China does $200 billion of trade with Africa each year, the United States does only half of that. So as the United States becomes much more involved in the region, more African countries are going to look for American backing, which isn’t simply diplomatic but goes into the economic and military as well."

For decades, U.S. administrations have spoken of the need to help lift Africa's people out of poverty and talked about the continent's importance. Now that Africa is home to more emerging democracies and six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world, Obama hopes to show that the United States is serious about partnering with the region.

Watch related video from VOA's Mariama Diallo:

US, Partners to Invest $33 Billion in Africa's Energy, Infrastructure, Banksi
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August 06, 2014 4:18 AM
At Tuesday’s Africa Business Forum in Washington, President Barack Obama announced that the United States and partners will commit nearly $33 billion in new financing to promote U.S. investment in Africa. The money will be spent to develop clean energy, improve infrastructure and help financial institutions and other sectors. Mariama Diallo reports.

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by: Genesis from: Earth
August 07, 2014 8:10 AM
From what I've witnessed Africa is a slaughterhouse. I think Obama should spend the money on the homeless in the USA.


by: Petros Moyo
August 06, 2014 10:49 AM
Lifting people out of poverty is commendable - security is essential to prosperity. Great comments, but how does one implement this in Zimbabwe, given all that has happened there. ?


by: BORENASA from: GHANA
August 06, 2014 7:55 AM
If mr obama needs to invest in africa, he should just do it and stop talking of security. libya was a very peaceful and promising economy under gaddafi, but mr obama incited and supported an uprising that has destroyed libya all in the name of democracy. after this mess that has been caused, obama now preaches security. where was that thought before the invasion and destruction of peaceful libya? hipocracy at its best.

In Response

by: Abinet from: UK
August 11, 2014 4:54 AM
That is "learning from mistakes mean'


by: Babey from: Sweden
August 06, 2014 6:38 AM
Africa could grow faster if they were not poisoned by the islamization.One of the biggest worries in Africa today is the middle East sickness which comes along the religion. We have hot spots like north east nigeria, somalia, mali, CAR. If there is religious freedom Africa can do better business, Corruption, Leaders and their henchmen taking out term limit from constitution are some of the problems
Politechnics, and better schools are a security solution


by: Olivier from: Rwanda
August 06, 2014 2:29 AM
But People lets be realistic here, at this point I will give only one example on how we are (us Africans) being manipulated by the U.S and the west in general: Take a look at this beautiful nation Libya, learn its History but tell me what happened recently,

Mr Obama is busy saying Africa needs to build up its security for the investors to come and invest, yes good enough, when Mr Kadaffi was fight the labels who are destroying the nation was restricted to fight them back because he knows he will not loose any of American soldier he says" NO JET IN SKY" who's now suffering people in field.

The guns are ringing, the Americans are flying back home....come people treat us like humans, not ants, but from my heart I want to assure who ever is thinking of keep killing that one day we will have a say, one day it will change.

ONE DAY WE WILL ALL ENJOY THIS BEAUTIFUL WORLD


by: Peter Cohee from: Milton MA
August 05, 2014 9:58 PM
Does anyone really care what Mr Obama says about anything?


by: Galdino Sebit from: texas
August 05, 2014 9:29 PM
Indeed there future belongs to those who build their economy and infrastructure. However, many countries in Africa have corrupt leaders ,destructive and poor in human rights records. The US must put emphasis on good leadership above all.


by: Sisal from: US
August 05, 2014 8:48 PM
Waste of time and money u.s. money and time take care of your backyard.


by: bryan from: socal
August 05, 2014 8:40 PM
I have an idea. Why don't we start using money to pay off our debt instead of digging a deep hole to help other countries. Once we're out of debt, we can look at our budget and CONSIDER something like this. This gov. spending habits are just as bad as 95% of our people.


by: Franco
August 05, 2014 5:08 PM
Caution before you invest in sub-Saharan Africa: The problem is not about lack of funding or investment. It is still that old vice called corruption. Most African countries have valuable natural resources, for example Nigeria receives over $100 billion in oil revenue annually, but the money is nowhere to be seen. Government officials stash the people's money away in foreign bank accounts. This $14 billion will likewise be share up among the leaders and returned to Swiss and other banks in personal accounts. Good gesture by America, but America does not owe any African country anything. If the people are left to go through much hardship, then they will learn not to accept corruption by their leaders.

In Response

by: Abinet from: UK
August 11, 2014 4:57 AM
Very true what you state. The problem is America does not want to be left out from the spoils as China is busily digging in!

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