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.
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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs