General News of 2014-08-03

Barack Obama: Africa should stop making economic excuses

The US president has told African leaders to look inward for solutions to the continent's economic problems instead of making "excuses" based on a history of dependence and colonisation.

Barack Obama, who was speaking to 500 young Africans finishing a six-week Washington leadership fellowship, will host the Africa leaders summit in Washington next week. He said while it was important for developed countries to consider providing targeted debt relief, it was time to end the notion that all of Africa's problems resulted from "onerous debt imposed by the west".

"At some point, we have to stop looking somewhere else for solutions, and you have to start looking for solutions internally," Obama said. "And as powerful as history is, and you need to know that history, at some point, you have to look to the future and say, 'OK, we didn't get a good deal then, but let's make sure that we're not making excuses for not going forward.'"

Obama's remarks amounted to a rejection of comments last month from the president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who said western neocolonial domination of Africa had impeded development. At a summit of the 54-nation African Union, Mbasogo also blasted what he said were excessively low exchange rates, problems with the pricing of natural resources, and western-imposed barriers to international trade.

Obama said there was not a single country in Africa that could not make better use of its resources. "There are a lot of countries that are generating a lot of income, have a lot of natural resources, but are not putting that money back into villages to educate children," he said. "There are a lot of countries where the leaders have a lot of resources, but the money is not going back to provide health clinics for young mothers."

The summit will convene economic and political leaders from across Africa to discuss the continent's development and the US's role in partnership and investment. The three-day conference will start on Monday.

Source: www.theguardian.com
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