Largest Ever US-Africa Summit Arrives in Washington DC

Pres. Obama welcomes 200 government and business leaders

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The first-ever three-day U.S.-Africa summit starts in the nation’s capital during the first week of August.

This summit is the largest event any president has ever held with African presidents, heads-of-state, and leaders of government in U.S. history. President Obama will welcome approximately 50 African heads of state to Washington, D.C. specifically between the Aug. 4-6.

A White House official says this mega-event will strengthen ties between the United States and Africa, one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions.

The event looks to capitalize on the president’s trip to Africa last summer and will advance the administration’s focus on trade and investment on the continent and highlight United States’ commitment to Africa’s security, the development of its various democracies, and the African people.

The White House official also notes that the summit will “advance our shared priorities and enable discussion of concrete ideas to deepen the partnership.”

At the core of the summit will be a deep focus on the next generation and its government’s responsibility to the continent. The summit is being promoted as, “An opportunity to discuss ways of stimulating growth, unlocking opportunities, and creating an enabling environment for the next generation.”

It is also an opportunity for Obama and senior U.S. government officials to interact directly with many of the most influential men and women in Africa.  Ambassador Susan E. Rice, national security advisor and a longtime Africa expert is also deeply involved in planning the Summit.

In turn, African leaders will likely network with President Obama, his cabinet members, and other key leaders, including business executives from the U.S. and Africa, members of Congress, and members of civil society.

According to Politico, “Bill Clinton will moderate the opening session of the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, which Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Commerce Department are co-sponsoring in Washington on Aug. 5.”

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is scheduled to introduce President Obama for the summit’s closing remarks. Vice President Joe Biden will also speak at the forum, to be held at the Mandarin Oriental hotel.

It is the largest gathering of African leaders to ever assemble on U.S. soil. The Washington Post reports of likely traffic congestion saying, “Many streets will be closed at various times from Sunday through Wednesday, and parking will be restricted.”

Bridges and highways will remain open. DC Metro Rail stations are expected to remain open too, but some Metrobus routes will be detoured.

Click here for a list of street closures.

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