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Obama set to host forum for young African leaders

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-03

US President Barack Obama is set to host a town hall-style meeting with 115 young African leaders at the White House on Tuesday to discuss "their vision for Africa for the next 50 years".

AFP - President Barack Obama is to meet 115 young African leaders on Tuesday to discuss "their vision for Africa for the next 50 years" as Washington hopes to reap trade and other benefits from such ties.

The talks come as civil society and private sector leaders from more than 40 sub-Saharan countries will begin three days of talks in Washington, with 17 of these countries celebrating 50 years of independence in 2010.

Michelle Gavin, the senior director of African affairs at the US National Security Council, said the meetings are in keeping with the spirit of Obama's remarks when he visited Ghana, west Africa last year.

"We're partners, but we're not the drivers," Gavin told reporters at the State Department, recalling Obama said the future of Africa is up to Africans themselves.

"And the real drivers are African youth. It's the lion's share of the society. And they’re going to determine what the next 50 years will bring," Gavin said.

Obama is to host a town-hall style meeting on Tuesday at the White House to "discuss their vision for Africa for the next 50 years," according to a statement from the State Department.

The US president had announced the meeting during the late June Group of Eight meeting in Canada, when talks were opened up to include several African countries.

The young African leaders will also meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, other government officials and civil society leaders, the State Department said.

"We're very much looking forward to this opportunity to meet with young African leaders," said Judith McHale, US under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs.

"We feel when you look at the continent of Africa and the strategic significance on a go-forward basis, in terms of resources and frankly from trade and other relationships, we see this as a great opportunity to reach out to young leaders from across the continent," McHale told reporters.

Date created : 2010-08-03


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