By Kabs Kanu &Pasco Temple of the Sierra Leone Government International Media Network , USA
A historic event which will see United States President Barack Obama welcoming fifty African Heads of State during a three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit, under the theme “Investing in the Next Generation.” Is currently underway in the United States of America.
The summit will not only see the United States President Obama welcoming leaders from across the African continent to the Nation’s Capital, but will also strengthen ties between the United States and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing continents. Throughout the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit, African leaders will have an opportunity to engage with President Obama, his Cabinet members, and other key leaders, including business executives from the U.S. and Africa, Members of Congress, and members of civil society.
According to a statement by the White House, “the August 4-6 Summit will advance the United States Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.At the same time, it will highlight the depth and breadth of the United States’ commitment to the African continent, advance our shared priorities and enable discussion of concrete ideas to deepen the partnership. …At its core, this Summit is about fostering stronger ties between the United States and Africa.” The statement also said that : “The Summit will also give an opportunity to discuss ways of stimulating growth, unlocking opportunities, and creating an enabling environment for the next generation.” The statement went on to say that : ”Discussions will center on how to encourage progress in key areas that Africans define as critical for the future of the continent: expanding trade and investment ties, engaging young African leaders, promoting inclusive sustainable development, expanding cooperation on peace and security, and gaining a better future for Africa’s next generation ”
This US-Africa summit will also see many other meetings including Civil Society Organization Session of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), AGOA Re- Authorization Beyond 2015, the U.S. Government, IBM, and the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative, an Open Data Jam on the margins of the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit. (The goal of the Open Data Jam is to support African countries implementing National Action Plans under the Open Government Partnership (OGP), and potential future OGP participants, build skills and knowledge for developing open data solutions that advance transparency, accountability and citizen engagement in government decision-making.)
The Summit will include six U.S. Government-sponsored “Signature Events,” allowing for in-depth conversations on some of the most pressing issues facing the U.S.-Africa partnership. These sessions will set the stage for the high-level discussions that President Obama will chair during the subsequent Summit leader meetings
Civil Society Forum
The “Civil Society Forum” Signature Event will be convened on the morning of August 4 by Secretary of State Kerry and will bring together U.S. and African government leaders, members of African and U.S. civil society and the diaspora, and private sector leaders. The Forum will focus on leveraging the knowledge and experience of citizens and civil society to solve the key challenges of our time, and will highlight the importance of civic space to social entrepreneurship, civic innovation and development. The Forum will also highlight the importance of safeguarding civic space in order to spur social entrepreneurship, civic innovation, and development.
The Forum will consist of three components: a set of thematic breakout sessions on key issues, including governance and transparency, trade and investment, and an afternoon session on labor issues; a keynote address; and a Global Town Hall with African Leaders moderated by Secretary Kerry. In addition, interested parties will also have the opportunity to submit short video questions via YouTube and Twitter in advance of the Forum.
Investing in Women, Peace, and Prosperity
The “Investing in Women, Peace, and Prosperity” Signature Event will recognize that African women’s leadership and meaningful participation at all levels — in government, the economy, and civil society — accelerates economic development, improves health and educational indicators, advances democratic development, and improves the safety and security of all of their citizens. The discussion will underscore the importance of supporting African women’s leadership and meaningful participation across all sectors of society. It will specifically highlight promising practices and reinforce U.S.-African partnerships in expanding economic opportunity for women, promoting civic and political leadership for women and girls, and increasing women’s meaningful roles in conflict prevention, peace-building, and security decision-making.
Investing in Health: Investing in Africa’s Future
The “Investing in Health: Investing in Africa’s Future” Signature Event will bring together senior U.S. government officials, African leaders, Ministers of Health, and senior health policy makers who will envision the future of U.S.-African global health partnerships in achieving global health security, promoting science and health, reaching an AIDS-free generation, and ending preventable child and maternal deaths.
This discussion will highlight the decades-long U.S.-African health partnership that has saved and improved millions of lives. It will also be an opportunity for U.S. and African leaders to agree on how we can further advance our shared health and development goals through our strong partnerships.
Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate
The “Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate” Signature Event will highlight three critical and interrelated areas in the U.S-Africa relationship: food security, climate change, and resilience. These issues are of particular concern for African nations, where the majority of rural populations rely on rain-fed agriculture. More productive agricultural systems will help transform lives, communities, and nations by generating income and by freeing resources for rural populations to participate in additional sectors of the economy. However, progress in this regard is threatened by the worsening impacts of climate change, including more frequent and extreme weather events and their negative impacts on agriculture and other rural livelihoods. Climate shocks, as well as shocks caused by other environmental, social and economic disturbances, undercut household and community stability and resilience, and erode hard-won development gains. The event will highlight how climate change and variability are impacting food security in Africa, and how key U.S. initiatives align with the commitments of African leaders to bolster the resilience of people, households, communities and systems.
Combating Wildlife Trafficking
To further demonstrate our commitment to the sustainable economic growth and development in Africa U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will host the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Ministerial at the World Bank. African and U.S. trade officials will discuss the future of the AGOA program and U.S. plans to pursue renewal of AGOA legislation.
Capitol Hill Reception The Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees will host a welcome reception for African leaders on Capitol Hill in the afternoon.
On August 5, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on strengthening trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa. President Obama will participate in the Business Forum along with Secretary Pritzker and Mayor Bloomberg, as will other senior U.S. government officials. Held at the Mandarin Oriental, in Washington, D.C., the U.S.-Africa Business Forum will intensify efforts to strengthen trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa and seek to create partnerships that will promote trade, accelerate job growth, and encourage investment. The Forum will focus on U.S. private sector engagement in Africa in the areas of finance and capital investment; infrastructure; power and energy; agriculture; consumer goods; and information and communication technology. African leaders will engage with business executives from both sides of the Atlantic to engage in conversations about successes and solutions to increase trade with and invest in Africa. President Obama will participate in the conversation with CEOs and government leaders from the United States and Africa.
White House Dinner on the occasion of the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit
On the evening of August 5, President and Mrs. Obama will host a dinner at the White House for African heads of state and government and select guests.
Summit Leader Meetings African leaders and President Obama will engage in dialogue in three action-oriented sessions that will address issues of shared interest and mutual concern.
Leader Session I – Investing in Africa’s Future The opening session will discuss inclusive, sustainable development, economic growth, and trade and investment.
Leader Session II – Peace and Regional Stability A working lunch centered on shared concerns regarding peace and security, including a discussion of long-term solutions to regional conflicts, peacekeeping challenges, and combating transnational threats.
Leader Session III – Governing for the Next Generation
This session will allow for a candid conversation about the greatest challenges and opportunities for Africa’s continued political and economic progress and a specific focus on governance. This session will focus on how to enhance governance in order to deliver services to citizens, attract and prepare for increased domestic and foreign direct investment, manage transnational threats, and stem the flow of illicit finance.
On August 6, First Lady Michelle Obama, in partnership with former First Lady Laura Bush and the Bush Institute, will host a day-long spouses symposium at the Kennedy Center focused on the impact of investments in education, health, and public-private partnerships.
A Dialogue with African CEOs
On August 6, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks and the Congressional Black Caucus Africa Task Force will host “A Dialogue with African CEOs,” entailing panel discussions and networking with African business and political leaders, U.S. private sector representatives, and members of Congress.
Sierra Leone delegation will be led by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Matthew Samura Kamara. Also hee to represent Siera Leone is Dr. Keifala Marah, Minister of Finance. Already, the Deputy Trade and Industry Minister, Hon. Allieu Badara Mansaray, is representing the Minister of Trade. He attended and chaired a session of the 13th Civil Society AGOA Forum, Presidential Adviser Naasu Fofanah, and Mr. Mohamed Bangura of the All Political Parties Association.
Already Madam Khadija Sesay Director Open Government Initiative is on ground with her team for full participation.