The past few months and weeks have been interesting as far as African news is concerned. Here are some of the more compelling African headline stories that have piqued my interest.
The U.S. Shows New Interest in AfricaIn an analysis of relations between the United States and African countries, Deutsche Welle (DW) the German broadcaster, says, “There is no doubt that Africa is attracting greater interest in U.S. politics. For a long time the continent was seen only as a source for armed conflict, disasters and famine”
That perception may have changed. The U.S. strategy towards Africa may have changed as well.
US-Africa Leader’s Summit is Long Overdue
Ben Chavis, interim president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association(NNPA)which supports and advocates for more than 100 black newspapers, argues that the upcoming summit of U.S. and African leaders convened by President Obama is a step in the right direction.
Chavis says, “Without a doubt, the summit is a positive step forward and a long overdue break with the past traditions and ‘benign neglect’ policies of the U.S. towards Africa”
‘The reality is President Obama is now attempting to lead the U.S. in a strategic effort to ‘catch up’ with other global investors who are helping shape the future of Africa’
Obama’s High-Risk Africa Summit
While this is the case, there are those who think the summit is ‘high risk’, such as Stephen Hayes, president, and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa.
‘The White House has told African ambassadors and others that no African leader will be given a one-on-one meeting with President Obama during the August summit, a fact that has caused some African leaders to ask what is the utility of the trip. This breaks all protocol tradition as the Africans know it.
‘Instead, the African presidents received an invitation to “an interactive dialogue” with the American president on Aug. 6. What, many ask, is an interactive dialogue ? There will be a state dinner on the White House lawn for all presidents the evening before, but once the interactive dialogue is concluded the next day, so too is the summit. There is to be no final document, another break with protocol. No doubt Obama will shake the hand of each president, but there will be little substantive dialogue.’
Africa: Opportunity & Risk
New York-based Media Tenor, a media research company, thinks ‘While foreign direct investment has increased in developing and transitional economies according to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2014, the global economic opportunity present in Africa has largely not yet been recognized in opinion-leading business media, according to new research from Media Tenor International.’
According to Media Tenor,’ South Africa received the bulk of coverage regarding both African economies and corporate activities in Africa during 2013. But this coverage was negative on balance, and countries where there is a positive outlook on both the economy and corporate activity – such as Kenya – were far less visible.’