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Forging Closer Ties With Africa and its Youth


President Barack Obama speaks at the Young African Leaders Initiative Presidential Summit in Washington. (Aug. 3, 2015.)

Five hundred of sub-Saharan Africa’s most promising young leaders have gathered here in Washington to meet with President Barack Obama and leading U.S. entrepreneurs, government officials, and civil society representatives.

Five hundred of sub-Saharan Africa’s most promising young leaders have gathered here in Washington to meet with President Barack Obama and leading U.S. entrepreneurs, government officials, and civil society representatives. The three-day summit -- August 3,4,and 5 – will do more than that, however. It will also underscore our nation’s commitment to Africa’s people, democracy and governance, and highlight our commitment to addressing issues that affect us all.

Increased engagement with the nations of Africa is a high priority of U.S. foreign policy. President Barack Obama has emphasized how important this relationship is, beginning with his traveling to Ghana soon after taking office in 2009.

The Presidential Summit follows six weeks of academic study and leadership training for the 500 Fellows at 20 institutions of higher education across the United States as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship. The event also features a town hall with President Obama, a plenary session with Members of Congress, and breakout discussions with leaders in business, government, international development and non-governmental organizations.

Forging stronger personal connections among these young leaders advances America’s and Africa’s many, many shared priorities. It also fosters further future engagement, and deepens the partnership between the American and African peoples as we both pursue a better future for us all.

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