By: April Ryan, aprildryan.com | AURN
It is the last day of the historic gathering for the US Africa Summit. The meeting, the largest assemblage of African Leaders by a President, is being seen as productive. U. S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee Chair Chris Coons says even as some deals were already in place before the Summit, there were others that actually happened “because the people were in the room to meet.”
The meetings are sometimes planned and impromptu, happening all over town and in almost every area of summit meeting space. Some federal lawmakers have even told their constituents about the Summit for possible business on the continent. Takunda Chingazono is a Nelson Mandela Young Leader from Zimbabwe and is also the co-founder of a wireless company. He says there is a big problem in some countries where wireless is scarce, meaning “it is too expensive” and considered a “luxury.” Chingazono says wireless information is needed for basic information to include news and the high costs prevent the residents from browsing the internet.
South Sudan President, Salva Kiir Mayardit says his country needs “development and infrastructure.” US Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard contends, “We [America] have to increase our consumer base and Africa presents that opportunity. Success there is success for us in the American workforce.”
The Congressional Black Caucus Task Force will host a forum Wednesday afternoon on the Hill with banks, CEO’s, and African leaders to foster more partnerships between the those participating in the Summit.
As the deals are struck, the realities of life in the continents 53 countries are in the forefront. Beyond investment, there is a portion of the Summit that is dealing with terrorism. In some instances terrorism in Africa breeds though corruption and lack of Democratic rule.
Some areas of terror concern are in Chad, The Central African Republic, and Nigeria.”
Gayle Smith, who is Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director at the National Security Council, contends the Obama administration is working with those countries to “build their capacity” saying, “we are very focused on.. the kind of threats they face, whether it is terrorism or the drug trade or even the outbreak of Ebola.” She says these are transnational threats that affects all of us.”
The issues of terror in some countries are in the headlines, such as Nigeria and Cameroon’s struggle with Boko Haram. The group is linked to Al Queda and blamed for the kidnapping of 200 Nigerian girls from their school. Recent search efforts have located the wife of the Vice Prime Minister of Cameroon believed taken by the terror group as well.
Former Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley says there is “a dilemma that poses a military and long term institutional challenge.” He says, “what gives a group like Boko Haram oxygen in a country like Nigeria is the level of corruption within Nigerian society and the skepticism that breeds about popular perceptions of the government particularly in Muslim dominated areas.”
There are reports Israel is working with the Nigerian government on the Boko Haram issue as Nigeria considers Israel the best country to help them since Israel has had a longer history of combating terror. Meanwhile, sources in America and Nigeria believe a large number of the girls are alive as the sources contend the girls represent value to Boko Haram. Meanwhile, the investigations into the whereabouts of the girls continues.
Crowley says “The immediate challenge of the girls is about “finding the right balance between what Nigeria needs to do and what the international community can do to help them. That poses a delicate political challenge.”