Via The New York Times: African Leaders Sit Down With American Investors. Excerpt:
WASHINGTON — President Obama convened a giant game of “Let’s Make a Deal” between the United States and Africa on Tuesday, bringing together nearly 50 African leaders with American investors for what he promised would be a long-term partnership that went beyond extracting “minerals from the ground for our growth.”
For Mr. Obama, the son of a Kenyan economist, it was the centerpiece of a three-day summit meeting of African leaders — some close allies of the United States, others barely on speaking terms — that is the president’s most ambitious attempt to cement his legacy as an American leader who cares about the African continent.
“Our entire trade with all of Africa is still only about equal to our trade with Brazil,” the president said. “I want Africans buying more American products; I want Americans buying more African products. I know you do, too, and that’s what you’re doing today.”
The African leaders seemed gratified by Mr. Obama’s sales pitch, which was echoed by a roster of boldface names from the business world, including the chief executives of General Electric, Coca-Cola and IBM and private-equity titans from Blackstone and the Carlyle Group.
But the chamber of commerce vibe was disrupted just before Mr. Obama spoke when some of the African leaders took umbrage to questions about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the security threat from Boko Haram and other Islamic militant groups.
“It’s an unfair vision of Africa,” said President Macky Sall of Senegal, referring to Western news reports about the outbreak. “Ebola is not an African disease,” he said, speaking in French. “It is necessary to confront Ebola as a threat to humanity.”
Tanzania’s president, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, noting that his country is in East Africa, said that too often “the whole of the African continent is perceived as if everywhere, everybody is suffering from Ebola.”
The presidents of Liberia and Sierra Leone canceled their visits to the summit meeting to deal with the outbreak. On Monday, American health officials met quietly at the State Department and with African officials from the affected countries to discuss their responses to the virus.