News / Africa

Analyst Calls for Accountability at White House Africa Summit

President Barack Obama and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete stand for the national anthem during an official dinner at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 1, 2013.President Barack Obama and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete stand for the national anthem during an official dinner at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 1, 2013.
x
President Barack Obama and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete stand for the national anthem during an official dinner at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 1, 2013.
President Barack Obama and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete stand for the national anthem during an official dinner at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 1, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
James Butty
US President Barack Obama will host a summit with African leaders in August in a bid to strengthen trade and investment ties with the continent.  

The White House announced Tuesday said the summit will take place August 5 and 6 in Washington.

There was no immediate word on which African leaders will attend the summit, but one report said the leaders to be invited are those currently in good standing with the United States and who are not suspended from the African Union.  

Gambian-born Sulayman Nyang, a professor and former chair of the African Studies Department at Howard University in Washington, says the summit will have historical significance because Obama would be the first postwar US president to bring African leaders together.  

But, Nyang says, the President must insist that the African leaders demonstrate accountability to their citizens in terms of protecting human rights and fighting corruption.

“My proposition to the American leadership is, if you are going to bring African leaders (to Washington), you have to be very firm with them on three issues.  One is, are you going to trade with us and open your markets and we open our markets to you under condition that your leadership is going to be accountable to your people the way we are accountable to our people through elections and respect to minority rights?,” he said.

With anti-homosexual sentiments on the rise in many African countries, Nyang says US policy on gay rights may come into conflict with the policies of some of the African leaders who might be invited to attend the summit.

“One problem that the Obama administration is going to face, and with congressional leaders very nice to gay groups in this country and in the West, 'What are you going to tell some of the countries in Africa, who are opposed to the gay groups?'  This is where you’re going to have a big contradiction in Western policy,” Nyang said.

He said the Obama administration must also make the fight against corruption a condition in extending invitations to African leaders.

“During the Cold War, America did not care whether Mobutu (Sese Seko of the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire) was a dictator.  America didn’t care as long as the Belgians and the French and other Europeans were dealing with him.  He was alright.

"But today, the African leaders who are coming to Washington are going to be criticized because we now have the technology. There are a lot of Nigerians and other people who are concerned about corruption. They are going to be blogging, they will be using the Internet,” Nyang said.

If only African leaders in good standing with the U.S. government are invited, Nyang said such criteria would be building on former President George W. Bush’s Millennium Challenge Account, which used respect for civil liberties, good governance and control of corruption as benchmarks.

“This is a very important issue now because many scholars, journalists and other people have commented about whether (Zimbabwean President Robert) Mugabe will be invited.  

Nyang specuated on the difficulties of choosing who should not be invited. What if the White House did not invite Egypt because of the failure of the Arab Spring movement and the leaders of Sudan and Kenya were not invited because they are being charged before the International Criminal Court.

That would be a bone of contention in African circles if Kenyatta is invited to Washington, but not Bashir, Nyang said.

The White House announcement comes at a time when some Africans feel Obama has not done enough for Africa since his election.

But, Nyang says the US leader is a victim of historical circumstances beyond his control.

“What is very interesting now is the fact that he is President now, but he cannot perform miracles.  He is not carrying a magic wand.  The Tea Party people and all these other people are not helping him in conducting foreign policy.  

"So, how can you engage the Africans when you do not have the political power at home to mobilize your leadership to be more deeply involved in Africa?” Nyang said.

Butty interview with Nyang
Butty interview with Nyangi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
January 23, 2014 4:08 AM
If Obama is serious about looking for African leaders who are accountable to their own people, respect rights of minorities and free of corruptions, then he is in trouble running short of numbers to invite to the White House for the summit. About five African leaders have already been charged for war crimes, while another five more are under UN investigations for similar charges.
In Africa treating minorities with contempt is no longer a taboo, ....now it's part of law of the land to hunt gays and lesbians down, slaughter, throw them to prison indefinitely. While gay communities in Africa reportedly went into hiding, leaders cheerfully claimed the credit of making this continent free of homosexuals. But there's no single president who can claim free of corruptions.
Obama have got only one option to do: cancel the summit now!


by: Laura from: usa
January 22, 2014 9:13 AM
"accountability" .?.. hey fool, we still don't know what happened in the Benghazi Islamist terrorist slaughter of four Americans...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid