Obama will discuss "overall prosperity" on the last day of the Africa summit
Talks will focus on security, 3 months after Obama launched counterterrorism fund for Africa
Obama also tackles corruption in Africa, a topic Biden addressed during the summit
President Barack Obama will participate in a full day of discussion with African leaders Wednesday, turning the conversation to “overall prosperity” in the third and final day of the African Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C.
A White House official told CNN that the President will highlight the “complex security challenges” African countries face and how the United States can support them. The panel discussion is focused on “Peace and Regional Stability,” one of three in which Obama will participate at the U.S. State Department Wednesday.
“U.S. assistance seeks to enable African governments to protect civilians, strengthen security forces that respect human rights, and move away from the need for costly outside intervention. The discussion also will broach ways to build African capacity in terms of peacekeeping, counterterrorism, and maritime security, among other areas,” the White House official told CNN.
In May, the President announced plans for a Counterterrorism Partnership Fund that would allow the U.S. to train and support countries fighting to eradicate terrorists such as al Qaeda and bring peace to African nations such as Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Mali, and particularly in Nigeria, against the threat of Boko Haram. Administration officials have suggested that the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan could be used to pay for this effort.
Earlier in the week, the summit brought together heads of state from Africa and top White House officials – Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden – who addressed leaders on issues from economic development to human rights, as well as government corruption and transparency. Obama will focus on these issues in a separate panel at the State Department centered on governance.
The theme of inclusiveness will color this discussion as the President discusses ways to encourage sustainable growth and root out corruption.
“The United States is a committed partner to those working to build vibrant, democratic societies,” a White House official told CNN. “Many African nations have made demonstrable progress instituting democratic reforms, though political institutions in many countries remain fragile. The United States helps build capacity for effective, accountable, and responsive governance, supports civil society and independent media, and helps improve the credibility and transparency of elections and other democratic processes.”
First lady Michelle Obama and former first lady Laura Bush will host a symposium on investments in education, health and public-private partnerships that runs simultaneously to the President’s discussion.
According to White House National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, one of the key focuses of the discussion is Michelle Obama’s commitment to girls’ education and the empowerment of women in Africa.