The United States is seeking stronger economic ties with Africa, having found itself outpaced by China and Europe on a continent where the International Monetary Fund expects to see 5.4 percent growth this year and 5.8 in 2015.
This was the main topic discussed on Monday at the start of the three-day unprecedented US-Africa summit in Washington DC. 35 presidents, nine prime ministers, three vice presidents, two foreign ministers and a king are attending the meeting.
African leaders were also urged to respect political differences, as core democratic principles are vital to achieving long-term economic growth.
Secretary of State John Kerry said that a strong civil society can bolster democracy and the rule of law — which are “not just American values, but universal values.”
According to him, diversity is always a better predictor of success than uniformity, because strong institutions are always more effective, more durable and more predictable than strong men or women.
The meeting said barriers such as high tariffs, forced localization requirements, restrictions on investment, and customs barriers, among others have continued to restrict U.S. trade and investment in Africa, thereby inhibiting the full potentials of a U.S.-African trade relationship.
In addition, it said obstacles to trade among African countries continue to inhibit economic growth in Amongst them and also prevent sub-Saharan Africa from fully integrating into global supply chains, thereby inhibiting U.S. exports.
It said full implementation of the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement would help achieve regional integration and contribute to economic growth in the region, adding that elimination of the barriers to trade and investment in Africa, will strengthen and improve regional and global integration.