By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
Despite the growing threat of a deadly Ebola disease outbreak spreading throughout Africa, about 50 African heads of state made time for a 3-day summit at the White House. President Barack Obama is working on building stronger ties with Africa, and the opening discussions on Monday focused on a lot of issues like health, political corruption, and security. This mega conference is the largest event any USA president has ever held with African leaders, and will create joint goals in developing one of the the fastest growing regions in the world.
For generations, Africa has suffered from political instability in many countries, where rebellions, poverty, and a lack of education create problems. The African continent is rich with natural resources that could provide countries across the globe with food, minerals, and energy supplies, while building local economies and providing work for Africans.
Obama sees Africa as tremendously important to the future. He explains, “I do not see the countries and peoples of Africa as a world apart; I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world – partners with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children. That partnership must be grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect.”
The USA isn’t the only world power interested in Africa, since China, Europe, and Japan have held similar events. However, American businesses have been skittish about investing in Africa, so Obama hopes to encourage them to join in. As for the USA’s government, they’re looking to invest millions of dollars in food, energy, and peacekeeping programs, one of which is the Power Africa project. With about $7 billion committed by private companies, Power Africa will add 10,000 megawatts of electricity and 20 million new electric customers in Africa by 2018.
Featured image courtesy of White House. Image of Africa infographic courtesy of USAID.