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Obama: World Needs Self-reliant Africa

Josephine Kolea of Kenya (2nd R) raises her hand to ask a question of President Barack Obama with other attendees of the Summit of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders during Obama's town hall,  July 28, 2014, in Washington.
Josephine Kolea of Kenya (2nd R) raises her hand to ask a question of President Barack Obama with other attendees of the Summit of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders during Obama's town hall, July 28, 2014, in Washington.
VOA News

U.S. President Barack Obama says the future stability of the world depends on African nations' prosperity and self-reliance.

He spoke in Washington Monday to a group of 500 young people attending the first Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. The participants are attending six weeks of leadership training in the United States.

The gathering of young fellows precedes a U.S.-Africa Leaders' Summit to be held in Washington next week and attended by about 50 African leaders.

During his remarks, Obama encouraged his audience to stand up for human rights and for women's rights. He also praised the things participants have already achieved in their home countries.

The young fellows cheered when Obama announced that the program is being renamed to honor the late South African anti-apartheid leader and former President Nelson Mandela. Obama said the group's spirit reflects the optimism and idealism of Mandela, who died in December.

While Obama was born in the United States, his father was Kenyan, making him the first U.S. president of African descent.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also spoke Monday at the summit. He told participants that they have to power to shape Africa's future. He implored them to "bend the arc of history toward change, not stagnation."

He encouraged them to pursue "peace and prosperity, not conflict and retribution." He reminded them that they are ultimately responsible for Africa's future.

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Comment Sorting
by: LaMar Smith from: Atlanta Georgia
July 29, 2014 11:35 AM
I truly hope and believe that the African Summit for the progression of the young leaders of tomorrow works out for the Continent Africa. Together if they combined their learned knowledge and place their powers together to help each state that they live in hopefully the Help that is so desperately needed could be obtained. From the world and then through the African Country itself..

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
July 29, 2014 1:54 AM
Nice hopeful words and empty rhetoric have no validity in the hearts of Africans. Corruption in Africa has become so endemic that it is perceived as culturally normal by the West. Lack of transparency and accountability have helped crooked leaders to stash State fund into their own off shore account. On the other hand, World Bank and IMF serve only the interests of West at the expenses of Africa.

Their specific purpose is to preclude Africa countries from using the basic economic strategies that western countries used to develop their own economies.They became instrumental to expand the influence of western capitalism, similar to colonialism. These economic barriers imposed on us has to be put down first before we try to realize self-reliance strategies.
In Response

by: Adesoji Fayemiwo from: Canada
August 02, 2014 6:12 PM
I think it is time for Africa and Africans to stop the blame-game and face/address the reality of what we are as a people. We keep blaming other people for our endemic greeds and foolishness. If we stand as equal to other men and women of the west in all our ramifications, we shall be respected and have our right space in the nations of the world. Corruption, greeds and individualism in governance must be reduced to the ''western-standard''. Africa resources both human and natural stolen and wasted by africans are better imagined. We are responsible for our own destiny, then others can support if we allow them in a positive ways.

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