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First US-Africa Summit Addresses Energy, Food Security

us.africa.summit6 August 2014: The US-Africa Summit, which brought together over 50 Heads of State from Africa and US President Barack Obama, addressed, inter alia: promoting inclusive sustainable development; expanding trade and investment ties; engaging young African leaders; and expanding cooperation on peace and security. The Summit also featured sessions on resilience and food security in a changing climate, and combatting wildlife trafficking.

The Summit, which took place under the theme, ‘Investing in the Next Generation,' aimed to advance US trade and investment in Africa, highlight the US's commitment to Africa's democratic development and security, and strengthen ties between the US and Africa. Summit content was also aligned with the Common African Position (CAP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

At the Summit's conclusion, Obama committed US$37 billion in investments in Africa and another US$110 million in annual support to African Union (AU) peacekeeping arrangements. Other announcements included: commitments to increase electricity through the Power African initiative; the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA); and the establishment of an African Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in collaboration with the AU.

The US, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank and Sweden made commitments as part of the Power Africa Initiative, including on scaling up regional power trading, geothermal power development, and the use of mini-grid and off-grid technologies. Obama announced that the US will work to bring power to 60 million homes and businesses in Africa, tripling its original goal. AfDB committed US$3 billion. Sweden committed US$1 billion to the project, with the aim of helping to transform Africa's energy sector. The World Bank highlighted Africa's hydropower potential and the increasingly affordable nature of solar power.

Summit panelists also discussed investing in food security and agribusiness, highlighting challenges such insufficient infrastructure and roads and coordination among land and water institutions. They called for regional integration to fuel growth and promote food security. The Summit also discussed: establishing mechanisms to curb illicit financial flows and build African capacity to monitor and limit such flows; and addressing systemic security challenges. In addition, the AUC, AfDB and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) prepared a briefing note, titled ‘Frontier Markets in Africa: Misperceptions in a Sea of Opportunities,' as part of its Summit preparation. The note corrects misperceptions about Africa's business environment, identifies investment opportunities and suggests focal areas for partnerships.

"A prosperous Africa is exactly what the world needs to get out of recession," AfDB President Donald Kaberuka said. Kaberuka underscored the importance of economic transformation and international partnerships in achieving greater prosperity in Africa. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, African Union Commission (AUC) Chair, described the Summit as “a very successful summit with frank discussions among the leaders” and “an important milestone in the longstanding relationship between US and Africa.”

Obama hosted the US-Africa Summit in Washington, DC, US, from 4-6 August 2014. The Summit also included a Business Forum, Civil Society Forum and a Young African Leadership Initiative. [Summit Website] [AfDB Press Release 1] [AfDB Press Release 2] [AfDB Press Release 3] [AfDB Press Release 4] [AfDB Press Release 5] [AU Press Release] [ECA Press Release] [Publication: Briefing Note: Frontier Markets in Africa-Misperceptions in a Sea of Opportunities] [Power Africa Press Release] [Power Africa Website] [Summit Schedule] [IFAD Statement on the Summit] [World Bank Press Release]