U.S.-Africa Summit 2014: Africa on the Agenda or Too Little Too Late?

August 2013

It is ‘regime change’, often caused by military force and executed in countries such as Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan that has left chaos and destruction in its wake. It is regime change that has transformed the perceptions of the U.S. in the minds of many African thought leaders to one of skepticism, wary of the methodology with which America pursues its own national interests; one can argue theirs has been a chase perhaps at the expense of the civilian populations of developing countries.

This skepticism persists unabatedly and without clarification. Importantly, it can lead to harsher sentiments, given the near-dangerous apathy that they are met with by those with political authority in Washington.

Such relative ennui undermines the notion that the U.S. can be a reliable ally in Africa, or anywhere else for that matter. And this was the true backdrop of the Summit that many believe was politically motivated by the administration of President Obama and if true, undertaken well behind the curve.

If President Obama and key Heads of State in Africa are to pursue their ‘reset buttons’ on their relationships and divulge their shared ambitions for years to come, this neglect witnessed over the last six years will have to be addressed and checked as a matter of urgency. For without mutual trust and renewed comprehension for the Africa opportunity, it becomes frustrating for all parties. Moreover, the prospects for cooperation in ‘high-trust’ activities such as counter-terrorism and intelligence gathering will be that much more difficult to achieve with any sense of tangible value.

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