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Topnews, Internationale Beziehungen, Südafrika

08. August 2014

US-AFRICA SUMMIT A MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH: ZUMA

Hailing the summit as a major success, Zuma touted the inroads made at the summit, including more than $33 billion in investments in Africa announced by United States (US) President Barack Obama.

African leaders and the US have agreed to work together to build stronger trade ties between the two continents, South African President Jacob Zuma said at the close of the historic US-Africa Leaders' Summit in Washington. 

President Zuma said that the conference had succeeded in bringing almost all African leaders together under one roof to discuss common interest with the US, a crucial market for African goods.

Africa is home to six of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies and a rapidly expanding middle class, Zuma said, and this week's summit was an affirmation both of Africa's growth and of US willingness to take Africa on board as the two regions seek to expand their growth.

He added that, following the summit, the question of whether South Africa would continue to be part of a renewed African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) was no longer an issue.

"That to us is very important, because before we came here some people were saying South Africa is now developed and doesn't need AGOA. That is no longer the issue, because everyone has realised that South Africa is one of the key players in the integration of the continent and [that] if you pull South Africa out of that you really will be in a sense destabilising that process."

"Given the manner in which this summit has helped to foster our relationship, it's going to be very difficult for any future American leader to come and ignore that this summit has taken place and what it has achieved," Zuma said.

He said a great part of the summit's deliberations had focused on boosting US business ties with Africa, the continuation of AGOA, good governance as well as peace and security.

The US also pledged to provide financial support for Africa's Standby Force, which is expected to start operating in October.

America has changed its earlier stance on conflict resolution on the continent, and will not attempt to send any troops to Africa in times of crisis but will instead leave this to the continent's leaders and the African Union (AU).

Since 2009, the US has committed to provide nearly $892 million to develop African peacekeeping capacity and strengthen African institutions. The US has also come out strongly in support of the work done by more than 67 000 African peacekeepers serving with the AU and United Nations in Africa.

In his final press conference at the end of the summit, President Obama said leaders from both sides had emerged more determined to strengthen ties between the US and one of the world's most dynamic and fastest-growing regions.

"The summit advanced our shared interests in increased US-Africa trade and US investment in Africa and highlighted America's commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development and its people," Obama said.

"By enabling discussion of tangible actions that can be taken to deepen the US-Africa partnership, the summit fostered stronger ties between the US and Africa."

The summit's theme – "Investing in the Next Generation" – reflected the common ambition that the US shared with Africa "to leave our nations better for future generations by making concrete gains in peace and security, good governance and economic development," he said.

On Wednesday, President Obama announced $33 billion in new financing to promote US exports to and investment in Africa.

He made the announcement at the first US-Africa Business Forum, where he said that $7 billion would go to new financing to promote US exports to and investments in Africa under the Doing Business in Africa Campaign.

US companies will also sign deals in clean energy, aviation, banking and construction worth more than $14 billion, in addition to $12 billion in new commitments under the President's Power Africa initiative from private sector partners, the World Bank and the Government of Sweden.

– Source: www.SAnews.gov.za

Read more: http://www.dirco.gov.za/dircoenewsletter/newsflash127-08-08-2014.html 

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