President Barack Obama said of his recent visit to sub-Saharan Africa that “the reason I came to Africa is because Africa is rising, and it is in the United States’ interests — not simply in Africa’s interests — that the United States doesn’t miss the opportunity to deepen and broaden the partnerships and potential here.”
Over the past ten years, real income per person has increased by more than 30 percent.
Today, at the dawn of the 21st century, Africa is one of the most important emerging regions in the world, and one of the fastest growing. Trade has tripled over the past decade, and foreign direct investment in the continent approaches $80 billion a year, while trade has tripled over the last decade. Since 1989, 20 new democracies have taken root across the region.
With the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, in the lead, and working through partnership with governments, civil society, non-governmental organizations and non-profits, the United States has leveraged investments to improve agriculture, health care, and democratic institutions, and increased focus on women and a new generation of African thinkers, entrepreneurs, and innovators. Together, we are working toward helping to realize the promise of the entire region.
As a result, we have seen significant gains all over the continent. Over the past ten years, real income per person has increased by more than 30 percent, and so has the number of African children completing their primary education. Thanks largely to U.S. programs, child mortality in Africa has dropped by nearly a third over the past 20 years and the number of Africans infected with HIV is decreasing for the first time since the epidemic struck.
“We historically have been an enormous provider of development aid to Africa -- food, medicine. But what I want us to do is to have a shifting paradigm where we start focusing on trade, development, partnerships where we see ourselves as benefiting and not simply giving in the relationship with Africa,” said President Obama during the first part of his visit in Senegal.
“This is going to be a continent that is on the move. It is young. It is vibrant and full of energy,” he said.
“I see this as a moment of great promise and great progress for the continent.”