Ahead of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, wherein 50 African heads of state will descend on Washington, D.C. for a 3-day conference with U.S. government officials and business leaders, Brookings scholars Vera Songwe, Witney Schneidman and Amadou Sy discuss the summit’s top agenda items, including trade and investment, economic competitiveness and good governance.
“When President Obama went to Africa he said, ‘Africans want strong institutions, not strong men.’ We are receiving strong men in the U.S. next week and the question is: Are we going to have an important message for the strong men in terms of whether we need to begin to move towards transitions?”
“I think what the administration is trying to do is to really enter into a dialogue with the leaders from Africa to identify critical areas that they can work on together. You’re absolutely right, this is like a non-China summit, this is not going to be about big A-packages being rolled out.”
“If you look at the data on Africa, the number of aid-dependent African countries is going down … Africa is less aid dependent, and I think we understand with the situation here in Congress and Senate that getting U.S. taxpayer’s money for Africa is not an easy task. That’s why I think we should applaud this focus on the private sector.”
[On the U.S.-Chinese relationship in the U.N. climate negotiations at COP 24] There was a capacity to be a convener, each of us.That’s not available right now.
[On the U.S.-Chinese relationship in the U.N. climate negotiations at COP 24 and the Paris Agreement "Rulebook"] [There's] a lot of push this year from a number of developing countries to basically re-bifurcate these things. It’s a big fight.
[On making progress on climate change] We’re in a stage where no one really knows what to do. And it’s easier to try out things in small groups and figure out what works. The problem is that the climate scientists say we don’t have time for all this slow, cautious experimentation anymore, because the train is speeding. That’s the nature of the problem. It’s the result of having spent a long time talking about the climate problem in formats that really didn’t make progress.