President Barack Obama in the Cabinet Room of the White House after a meeting with, from left, Malawi President Joyce Banda; Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma; and Cape Verde Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves , March 28, 2013.
According to the White House , the Summit “will build on the progress made since the president’s trip to Africa last summer, advance the administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people, ” . It is for this reason that the release warned that only African leaders in good standing with the U.S. will be invited. This is another good news for Sierra Leoneans that their President is still high up there in being considered by the world as one of the African leaders promoting the ideals and values encapsulating the U.S- Africa Summit. The leaders of Sudan, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Guinea-Bissau were excluded from the Summit.
Going by this latest development, detractors of President Koroma’s government who say that the President is not doing a great job as being emphasized by the elite presidential press corps are absolutely wrong. Though there are challenges in the country still to be addressed by the government, the general perception among the relevant people and bodies competent to gauge the performance of heads of state is that President Koroma is doing very well and on that basis continues to be in good standing with the U.S and other international stakeholders .
Interestingly , the man that President Koroma’s detractors are supporting and canvassing for to be President of Sierra Leone — Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio– is barred from entering the U.S. If Maada Bio had won the 2012 presidential elections, Sierra Leone would have been facing a monumental embarrassment today as Bio would have been excluded from this all-important Summit like the leaders of Sudan, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Guinea-Bissau . This is another indication that many people criticizing President Koroma and writing him off but at the same time promoting a felon like Maada Bio do not mean well for our nation. If they did, they would have looked for somebody matching the professional and moral standards of President Koroma.
This is the second time in a year that President Koroma is coming to the White House at the invitation of President Obama. On Thursday March 28 last year, President Obama had an important meeting at the White House with President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Joyce Banda of Malawi, and Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde .
The White House statement at the time said :
“The United States has strong partnerships with these countries based on shareddemocratic values and shared interests…. The five leaders will discuss strengthening democratic institutions across sub-SaharanAfrica, and building on Africa’s democratic progress to generate increased economic opportunities and expanded trade and investment. The visit of these four leaders underscores the strategic importance the President places on building partnerships and substantive engagement with sub-Saharan Africa,and our commitment to working with strong and emerging African democracies .
The China News Agency at the time said : The White House unveiled a new strategy toward sub-Saharan Africa in June last year, as Obama predicted Africa “to be the world’s next major economic success story.”
The strategy sets forth four U.S. objectives in the region: to strengthen democratic institutions, spur economic growth, trade and investment, advance peace and security,and promote opportunity and development.
YESTERDAY’S PRESS STATEMENT FROM THE WHITE HOUSE SAID :
Statement by the Press Secretary Announcing the U.S.-Africa
The White House is pleased to announce that the United States will host the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC on August 5 and 6, 2014. President Obama looks forward to welcoming leaders from across the African continent to the Nation’s Capital to further strengthen ties with one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing regions. The Summit will build on the progress made since the President’s trip to Africa last summer, advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.