31 July 2014

Africa Regional Media Hub Preview of the United States-Africa Leader's Summit Via Telephonic Media Briefing

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MODERATOR: Greetings to everyone from the U.S. Department of State's Africa Regional Media Hub. I would like to welcome our callers who have dialed in from across Africa and around the world. Today, we are joined by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Grant Harris, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council. They are speaking to us from Washington D.C. We will begin with remarks from Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield, followed by Mr. Harris. We will then open it up to your questions. For those of you listening to the call in English, please press *1 on your phone to join the question queue. If you are using a speakerphone, you may need to pick up the handset before entering *1. For those of you listening to the call in French and Portuguese, you will need to submit your questions in English via email to afmediahub@state.gov. If you want follow the discussion on Twitter, we are using #USAfrica and #AfricaSummit. Today's call is on the record and will last approximately 45 minutes. And with that, I'll turn it over to Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Good morning. Or, is it good afternoon for you? Let me tell you how delighted I am to have the opportunity to speak with all of you again. As you know, we are a few days out from an historic event here in Washington; the United States-Africa Leaders Summit and this summit will take place over three days in Washington. It will include 50 heads of state as well as the range of U.S. and African civil society and business leaders and young African leaders, members of congress and members of the administration across the board.

Our goal is to further strengthen our already strong ties with our African partners and highlight our long standing commitment to investing in Africa's development and its people. I know you've heard that the theme of the summit is "Investing in the Next Generation". We think this reflects the common ambitions that we share with the people and governments of Africa, to leave our nations better for future generations by making gains in peace and security, and good governance and economic development. So this is going to be an extraordinarily productive and fruitful discussion. We have more than 80 private side events that are going to be taking place. These events have spurned from the conference and we've served as a catalyst for bringing together all of these groups and I know that there are a lot of people in the United States and across Africa who are looking forward to the discussions during the conference, and the follow-up after the conference. Can I turn it over to Grant?

GRANT HARRIS: Absolutely, thank you. This is Grant Harris. I just wanted to add a few things at the beginning, before we turn it over to questions. As the Assistant Secretary mentioned, the theme of the entire summit is "Investing in the Next Generation". And from our perspective, this reflects the common ambition to leave all of our nations better for future generations, by making concrete gains in peace and security, in good governance and economic development. We think that this summit is going to allow us to highlight America's longstanding commitment to investing in Africa's development and its people. There is a lot of additional information on the schedule, and the events on www.whitehouse.gov, but I did want to highlight a few ways that the themes that will be discussed will be interwoven throughout the different events.

As many on the call are aware, the Obama Administration has pursued a series of initiatives in Africa focused on building African capacity. Power Africa aims to double access to electricity on the continent. Our food security efforts are combating famine and promoting sustainable agriculture. And our global health efforts, which were continued from the Bush Administration and longstanding investments by the United States there, are dramatically reducing deaths from preventable diseases. This summit also includes a landmark US-Africa Business Forum and this is going to provide opportunities for increased investment and trade between America and the continent. In doing this, we think that this will help create new jobs and opportunities for Americans at home and for Africans across the continent as well, by deepening these ties across the board. With that, I turn it over to questions.

MODERATOR: Okay, thank you to both of our speakers. We will now begin the question and answer portion of today's call. For those asking questions, we ask that you first state your name and affiliation and limit yourself to one question only. Our first question was pre-submitted. This was submitted by Nick Kotch of Business Day. Which AU Nations will not be represented by their heads of state or of government?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Shall I take that?

MODERATOR: Please.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Hi, this is Linda Thomas-Greenfield. We have gotten confirmations from 50 governments that they will be participating in the summit at senior levels, most will be at the heads of state level, some will be at head of government or prime minister/vice head of government level for various reasons that have been provided to us by the governments. But again, we are looking forward to having the participation of all 50 governments to participate in the summit.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question will go to a journalist at the listening party at the US Embassy in Accra, Ghana. Operator, please open the line.

MEDIA: My name is Nwaku Nti from Today Newspaper. I want to know if Ebola is going to be on the agenda.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: This is Linda, and thank you, that is a good question. With all of the information and press on the Ebola crisis in West Africa, affecting Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, I think a lot of people have asked that question. We are working with the three governments to arrange a meeting with our health professionals in CDC and HHS to talk about how we can assist governments in dealing with this crisis. Also get a better sense from them of what they may require.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question will go to a journalist at the listening party at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala, Uganda. Operator, please open the line.

MEDIA: I am Diana Kobugade from Sanyu FM Radio. Now Africa has been at loggerheads with the U.S. for some time over anti-gay laws. Is this going to be a topic of discussion at the summit?

MODERATOR: Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield, would you like to take that question?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Yes, definitely. This is a subject, and first let me thank you for the question and I would not agree with you, that we have been with loggerheads with Africa on this subject. It is a subject that is important for the United States and for our relationship with Africa. I think we have been extraordinarily clear in all of our conversations on the subject, that this is a strong value for the U.S.; it represents our support for human rights for all people, regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation. So I have no doubt in my mind that this will be a subject that will be discussed on the margins of the summit. We will be having a number of civil society events that I know that one of the civil society events has this as an issue that they would like to discuss.

MODERATOR: Thanks. Thank you, and to our questioners, if you would like to direct your questions specifically to one of our speakers or the other, please indicate that when you ask questions. Our next question was submitted by a journalist at the listening party at the U.S. Embassy Cote D'Ivoire. The question comes from Nord Sud Quotidien. In addition to the development objectives on the continent, isn't this summit designed to position the U.S.A. on the continent for other reasons?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I am sorry. Can you repeat the question?

MODERATOR: Yes. In addition to the development objectives on the continent, isn't this summit designed to position the U.S.A. on the continent for other reasons?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I am not sure. This is Linda, again. I am not sure what the questioner is getting at, but I think the summit is designed to accomplish a number of goals; most important for us is to strengthen our long historical ties with our African partners, but also to highlight our commitments to investing in Africa and its people in the future. There is no mystery about that. Our relationship with Africa has been a long one. We are probably one of the few countries in the world that can probably say that we have a huge African Diaspora from every single country on the continent. And so our agenda with Africa is a huge agenda, but I think it is one that is well known to our African partners.

GRANT HARRIS: Can I jump in on that, as well? This is Grant Harris. Can I just add, in addition to the development initiatives that I spoke about at the beginning, there are a lot of other goals for this summit. And as the Assistant Secretary notes, it is a very broad, long-standing relationship between America and the people and the governments of Africa. And so, in addition to our development goals, we have talked about trade and investment and the explosive economic growth on the continent and us wanting to support that, engage with that and also increase U.S. investment and trade as well. And then, at the same time that Africa is growing economically, there still are challenges posed by conflict and crimes and terrorism that are threatening many communities and this is constraining the continent's prosperity in a way that we want to partner with African countries to confront. So, on the peace and security objectives this summit is also going to advance these shared goals to build African capacities to counter transnational threats and to participate in peace operations for the United Nations and for the African Union.

Another note on the theme of investing in the next generation: it is also going to enable conversation about what decisions need to be made today to provide the type of strong and transparent institutions and the types of governance that will be required to achieve this broad-based economic growth and these development gains and this expanded prosperity that comprises our mutual goals. It will enable a discussion about what sort of investments in strong democratic institutions need to be made. How do we provide opportunities for Africa's next generation of leaders and ensure accountable governance and these opportunities to provide the skills and what we need to do to advance all of these goals across the board?

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Our next question was submitted by a journalist at the listening party of the U.S. Embassy in Angola. The question comes from Radio Nacional de Angola. African leaders want the summit format to change to include African vision on the problems affecting the continent. Is there any possibility for this to happen?

GRANT HARRIS: I will jump in on that, Linda, if that works for you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Okay.

GRANT HARRIS: This is Grant Harris. We've actually been delighted throughout to really craft a shared agenda that is represented in these sessions. From the very beginning, we set out to be consultative in our process and we asked all of our ambassadors to consult both with host governments but also with African business leaders and with civil society and with youth. We also then consulted extensively with the African diplomatic core here in Washington, D.C. and with African leaders with whom we have met in our travel in high-level visits and during meetings on the margins of the African Union summits. And from that we have jointly crafted this agenda which is really representative of the suggestions that we have heard and the priority issues that have been raised with us by African counterparts. And in terms of what the speaker, I think, referred to as "the African agenda", I think it is really important to note that all of these issues are ones of cooperation that particularly are supporting not just African aspirations, but in many cases, African leadership.

The work that we do on food security is plugging into and supporting national plans, and it is supporting CAADP and it is supporting an AU vision and the AU's year of agriculture. The work that we do on global health with partner governments is geared not just to saving lives, but also to building strong institutions that can build strong health sectors. The work that we do on peace and security is something that we have heard from many African leaders that they want front and center on the agenda in order to talk about capacity building, state capacity building, regional capacity building to confront these threats. So I think very much it is a shared agenda and the goals that we are pursuing here were jointly crafted.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Our next question goes to the Listening Party of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Operator, please open the line.

OPERATOR: The Line is open, please go ahead.

MEDIA: My name is Patrick Vidija from the Star Newspaper. Insecurity is rapidly increasing in most African countries. I just want to know, will the summit provide a platform to discuss on ways to curb insecurity in Africa?

GRANT HARRIS: Yes. Peace and security is going to be a vital issue to be discussed. In fact, the leaders will have a working lunch dedicated to this on August 6th and then there will also be other opportunities throughout, including a session highlighting combating wildlife trafficking and other ways to discuss some of the threats. As I mentioned, from our perspective, Africa is obviously growing economically in really important ways, but too many communities are still threatened by conflict and violence. And we want to talk about at the summit, how do we build capacity and how do we support African governments in addressing these complex security challenges? We think that they demand regional solutions. But we also want to be cooperative and we want to help African states stay a step ahead of these challenges as they grow. Our assistance that we have been providing is meant to create an environment that enables African militaries to protect civilians and to eliminate the need for costly outside intervention, while respecting human rights.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question goes to the listening party at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Operator, please open the line.

OPERATOR: The line is open, please go ahead.

MEDIA: Thank you very much. My name is Addis Getachew. I am from the Turkish News Agency. My question is: to my knowledge this has been unprecedented in terms of participation. I mean the size of the African heads of state and government invited is really large. Does this show in any way the U.S. change of policy towards Africa and the U.S. readiness to engage Africa towards a 'win-win' and on equal footing? Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Thank you. That is a great question because it gives us a great opportunity to again, reaffirm that our relationship with Africa is a very strong historical relationship. Our policy is reaffirmation of what has been a strong partnership and relationship with African countries. We want to work with them as partners and as equals and we see this as an opportunity to reaffirm that to African leaders. So again, it is not new. It is building on the relationship we already have – a strong relationship and a historical relationship, a relationship that we think is moving in a positive direction.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question goes to Pascal Fletcher of Thompson Reuters. Operator, please open the line.

OPERATOR: Your line is open, please go ahead.

MEDIA: Thank you and thank you taking my question. Assistant Secretary, in following from what you just said, the very fact that you need to say that this is an opportunity to "reaffirm" it, does that give credence to the commentary that perhaps, at least in the most recent years, five, seven years, perhaps, the U.S.--and the commentary is out there--that the U.S. has lagged in its engagement with Africa and perhaps is playing catch-up at this point, and that even that this summit represents that kind of catch-up, given that China, India, Europe and Japan have all held summits with multiple African leaders in that last few years? Do you accept that this is slightly playing catch-up and that there is a lag in that engagement?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Absolutely not. This is not about catch-up. Our relationship with Africa is unique. It is based on shared interests and a shared history. We have always been a strong partner with Africa since its earliest days. We have large numbers of Americans who have lived and worked on the African continent. We have Peace Corp volunteers and aid workers, and the U.S. Government's relationship with Africa is strong. I think we are probably one of the few countries in the world that has an embassy in almost every country in Africa. We have universal representation. So this is not about catch-up. It is about highlighting that relationship and reaffirming that relationship so that questions like the kind of question you're asking, those questions are answered to show that this is a positive relationship.

Again, we are working on improving the relationship, pushing for more American investment in Africa, because we see that Africa is growing – economies are growing rapidly with 8 out of the top 10 fastest growing countries right now on the continent of Africa. We want to encourage more American investment, because we know that investing in Africa will create jobs on the African continent, it will create prosperity on the African continent, but on the reverse side it also will create jobs and opportunities in the United States. So again, I do not buy into that analysis that you made and I think most African countries would agree with us.

MEDIA: Okay, thank you.

MODERATOR: Okay, our next question was submitted in advance from IATV in Benin. What is the initiative that President Obama will complete during his mandate to support economic and social development in Africa? Clinton's legacy is AGOA, Bush' is the MCC, what will President Obama's be?

GRANT HARRIS: I am happy to take that one. This is Grant Harris. I think that there is going to be a very strong legacy for this President on Africa. Let's just take stock of some of the investments, including the long-standing investments but also some of the newer initiatives that we have been pursuing. To start with Power Africa, which aims to double access to electricity on the continent and represents a significant commitment to support the industrialization of Africa. So far, Power Africa has facilitated the financial closure of transactions that are expected to generate almost 2,800 megawatts of electricity and it is actively supporting transactions that are expected to generate 5,000 megawatts in addition to that. And, once those are completed, we are well on our way, at about 78%, of completing Power Africa's initial goal of creating 10,0000 megawatts of additional energy on the continent. This is an initiative that has really resonated and we are going to have a lot to say about this in the coming days of the summit.

You have also seen real leadership from this President and this administration on food security issues. Through Feed the Future and the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition we have been working with African partners and around the world to combat famine and to promote sustainable agriculture. We have continued global health investments and global health efforts that I mentioned before, that are dramatically reducing death from preventable disease and it has enabled what is now the promise of an AIDS-free generation.

In addition to those efforts, we have engaged young African leaders who are going to shape the continent's future, and President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative has been providing skills and opportunities, and U.S. resources, and creating networks of young African leaders, connecting them with each other, and also with Americans to really deepen these opportunities because it is our view that you have got to have those jobs, that support for entrepreneurs, those skills for the next generation, in order to advance the type of growth and prosperity and the strong, transparent institutions that are going to be needed. All of this together and other things as well, in terms of our humanitarian response to various crises, our longstanding investments in peacekeeping capabilities and in peace and security issues, and also in strengthening democratic development. Collectively I think it is a very strong record that will speak for itself.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Grant's comments reminded me to mention YALI, the Young African Leaders Initiative. We have just completed yesterday the program from the Mandela Washington fellows who have been in the United States for six weeks of training at about 25 universities across the United States and they culminated in Washington for the past three days and had an opportunity to have a town hall meeting with the President. They met with senior leaders across the U.S. government. They were extraordinary in their professionalism, in their skills, in their commitment and if there is one thing that we all got out of meeting with these young people is a strong, strong view that Africa's future is strong having those types of young people who will be moving forward in leadership positions in the future and these were 500 from a group of 50,000 who applied and we know that among the 49,500 are many of the same types of people who participated in this program. We will be doing this again next year and hopefully double--our plan is to double the numbers in 2016.

MODERATOR: Our next question was submitted in advance from a journalist at the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal. The question is, what is the U.S. government doing to help stop the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Shall I take that, Grant?

GRANT HARRIS: Sure.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Thank you. We are working very, very closely with the three governments in the region, as well as with the World Health Organization to help provide these countries with support and assistance in responding to this outbreak and this includes providing provisions of personal protective equipment and essential supplies and public health messaging efforts, as well as technical experts. We have a large number of CDC colleagues who are in all three countries; multiple U.S. government agencies are in fact contributing to our response efforts there. I have spoken to the leaders of all three countries over the past two days to confirm for them our strong support for their leadership and their efforts in stemming the situation. And, again, offer our strong condolences to the family members of those who have died, and in particular, in Sierra Leone where they lost one of their beloved doctors.

MODERATOR: Our next question goes to Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times. Operator, please open the line.

OPERATOR: The Line is open, please go ahead.

MEDIA: Sure, this is Jeffrey Gettleman with the New York Times. My question is: how is inviting dictators like Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea to the White House and then setting them at a state dinner, helping the stated goal that you two stated of good governance?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Do you want to take it Grant, or do you want me?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HARRIS: No, I am happy to. I think that –sure, this is Grant Harris. As we mentioned in putting this summit together, we have invited all African leaders who are in good standing with African Union and with the United States and our philosophy is to engage and to, even where we profoundly disagree on issues, to make our views known and to be advancing U.S. interests in that manner. So we see this summit as an opportunity to engage leaders on a broad range of issues, which include human rights, includes governance, includes economic development and also ongoing security challenges and other issues on the agenda. So these direct engagements and discussions like those are going to occur throughout the summit, and it's going to be a unique opportunity to directly address democracy, and labor and human rights concerns and identify some of the steps that we can take with African partners to try to address them.

MODERATOR: Our next question goes to the listening party in Lagos, Nigeria. Operator, please open the line.

OPERATOR: The Line is open, please go ahead.

MEDIA: Yes, my name is Victor Asije, I work for the News Agency of Nigeria. Looking at the title of the conference, "investing in the next generation", what numbers in terms of employment is such investment likely to create for Nigerian youths, African youths?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I am sorry; I did not hear the last part of the question.

MEDIA: Looking at the theme of the conference, "investing in the next generation", what employment opportunities is this likely to create for African youth?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I think that's an excellent question. You know that Africa, the populations in Africa are very youthful. Our statistics have shown that somewhere around 60-65% of populations in Africa are 35 and under. Many of these young people are unemployed, undereducated or uneducated, lacking in skills and really not prepared to participate in the next generation. So our hope is that the investment opportunities that will be generated from this conference, the commitments made, not just by the United States government, but commitments made by African governments to their youth, our Young African Leaders Initiative that has entrepreneur programs and leadership programs connected with them, that these will all provide opportunities to create jobs on the continent of Africa. The training programs that will be part of the YALI network that is going to be across the continent, I think will generate a lot of new opportunities that we have not seen before on the continent.

GRANT HARRIS: Let me just add one thing. This is Grant Harris. As the Assistant Secretary mentioned in response to an earlier question, we have now completed a YALI summit with Mandela Washington Fellows here in Washington. They have all completed executive education courses, they convened in Washington and now they are moving on to internships and other opportunities. President Obama did a town hall with these 500 young leaders on Monday of this week and he made various announcements about how the United States was deepening our own investment in YALI and in young leaders, including by creating regional leadership centers on the continent for them, by providing additional tools for entrepreneurs and in trying to making more robust our online network of educational opportunities and mentorship connections. I recommend looking at his remarks and the fact sheet put out by the White House earlier this week highlighting those programs as an example of some of the things that we are doing in connection with the summit.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question was submitted by a journalist at the watch party in Gabon. What can and will the U.S. do to help the countries affected by the activities of Boko Haram? Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I am sorry. Can you repeat the question again?

MODERATOR: Yes. What can and will the U.S. do to help the countries affected by the activities of Boko Haram?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Yes, and thank you. In fact, I have been expecting that question for some time. We have been working very, very closely with all of the countries affected by Boko Haram, particularly with Nigeria, but also with Nigeria's neighbors. You know that immediately following the kidnapping of the Chibok girls we sent a large interagency team to Nigeria to work with the Nigerian government, to help them in terms of developing a strategy for dealing with how to get the girls returned, but also on how to deal with Boko Haram. We participated in a number of discussions with leaders in the region first organized by the French government at the head of state level, and then at the ministerial level by the UK government. The Nigerian government is going to also be hosting all of us to follow-up on the areas of discussion. We have provided and assisted the countries with the information that we have been able to gather, and we will be having a meeting while the summit is taking place on Boko Haram with all of the neighboring countries. This is an issue that is important to all of us. We know that terrorism anywhere affects all of us, so this is not just a Nigerian problem, it is a regional problem. So we will be working with governments broadly to look at how we can build closer partnerships to build capacity to counter violent extremism, whether it is in Nigeria dealing with Boko Haram or in East Africa with Al-Shabaab or with AQIM in North Africa.

MODERATOR: Thank you. The next question was pre-submitted by a journalist at the listening party in Cote d'Ivoire. How will the U.S. help African countries better respect human rights, good governance, and transfer of power?

GRANT HARRIS: I am happy to jump in. This is Grant Harris. I think that is a great question, especially about how we can use the summit to have conversations about governance, and how we can also highlight some of the ongoing work. To start with, I think the summit is going to underscore here again, a longstanding investment. President Obama in his speech in Ghana in 2009 and since, this administration has been very focused on promoting and supporting strong democratic institutions. We have talked about how we are supporting Africa's next generation of leaders through the Young African Leaders Initiative, but through a range of other programs, we are working to support the aspirations of Africans for more open and accountable governance.

This includes international programs like the Open Government Partnership which South Africa is a co-chair on. It is a global program. It includes several African states. Sierra Leone was recent in joining, others have made commitments. It is a program that as the name implies, is seeking to promote an open government and it does it in conjunction with working with civil society, and that is something that we supported from the beginning and we think is very important. We have also looked for ways to--through our programming and our investments--to deliver them in a way that builds strong institutions and helps governance, like for food security, like for health investments, it is done in a way to build capacity to allow for more open and transparent governance overall. The same is true even on peace and security issues and I think that there is going to be a lot of discussion on this as well of how do you further improve security governance and build strong civilian and military institutions and professionalize militaries to the degree that they have the capacity to not just confront threats, but also to be the trusted protector and be able to fulfill all of the needs of protecting the population. So I think both in the nature of the discussion, but also in the variety of issues around the summit, in the civil society forum, in the African Growth and Opportunity Act ministerial, in a lot of different places where there will be opportunity for discussion about what are the challenges, what are the opportunities, where should we be going from here?

And one final note, I want to go back to frame. The entire theme of the summit is "investing in the next generation" and that is meant to pull back a little bit, it is meant to think not solely about a specific challenge of the day, but more generally of what are the decisions that leaders need to make now to provide the strong and transparent and democratic and open institutions and the type of governance, and what types of investments need to be made so that tomorrow, so that 5 to 10 years from now, so that beyond the next generation and those coming behind them, have the prosperity and economic growth that we desire for them.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: If I can just add on the governance piece. There are about a dozen elections that are going to take place in Africa next year, and probably another dozen or more to take place in 2016 and we are working with governments to ensure that these elections are fair, and that they are transparent and that they reflect the wills of the people, and more importantly, that they are peaceful. This is a huge, huge part of building for the next generation, to have peaceful elections, to have transitions that allow for a peaceful change of government, and this is also something that we will be focused on in our discussions.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Kevin Kelley at the Nation Media Group. Operator, please open the line.

OPERATOR: The Line is open, please go ahead.

MEDIA: Hi. Thanks for doing this. Just wondering, you often say, collectively the administration says, that you want to distinguish among African countries, that you recognize that the different African counties have different achievements, different issues, different interests. Why is the summit structured so that there aren't any bilateral meetings with African leaders? Why is it seen as a collective whole and not individualized? Thanks.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: This is Linda. While there will not be bilateral meetings with the President because again, we think it would be almost next to impossible to get all of those meetings in and actually have substantial discussions, there are going to be bilateral meetings with cabinet officials, Secretary Kerry is meeting with a large number of officials, as well as other cabinet officials and White House officials, where we will have the opportunity to have these very detailed discussions with leaders.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We have time for just one or two final questions. This question comes from the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon from a journalist at the listening party there, Kalak FM. When President Obama was elected there was much excitement in Africa, but after two mandates, it has melted away, why?

GRANT HARRIS: I am happy to jump in. This is Grant Harris. I think there is a lot of excitement for what we're pursuing in Africa, including things like Power Africa. We have seen great receptivity for that. We have seen that we are well on our way to achieving the initial goal of creating 10,000 megawatts and I think that this administration and this president in particular has tapped into two great needs. One is greater U.S. support and rallying international support for investments in energy and power, and infrastructure-related too so that all of the businesses can further grow, so that schools can have lights, so that medicines can be refrigerated, so that more people across the continent can have access to electricity. And I think the excitement around that shows that there is really a lot there and there is much more to be done.

And I think also in connecting with young leaders, as was mentioned earlier, with over 60% of the continent being under the age of 35, there too is a great need, and with current demographics, and with the need for African leaders to create--by some statistics, I believe it is 120 million jobs that will need to be created in the next decade--providing skills and opportunities and creating networks of these young leaders, is going to be vital to succeeding in creating broad-based economic growth. I think there is a lot of enthusiasm, there is a lot of excitement as well about this particular summit, something that African leaders have been encouraging us to do for many years. And so, I think it is going to advance the conversation in a really productive way, by highlighting the longstanding investments but also allowing us to grow and to expand some of our initiatives over the last few years, and have a frank discussion about what types of investments can we be making together to achieve these goals going forward.

MODERATOR: Thank you. And our final question goes to the listening party at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala, Uganda. Operator, please open the line.

OPERATOR: The Line is open, please go ahead.

MEDIA: My name is Christopher Bendana, I work with the New Vision Newspaper in Kampala. My question is: are you setting an ideal time limit to African leaders especially those one's who have been in power for so long?

MODERATOR: I am sorry, can you repeat the question?

MEDIA: Are you setting an ideal time limit to African leaders especially those ones who have been in power so long?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: This is Linda. I think we have made it very, very clear in all of our messaging to Africa that we believe in strong institutions. Constitutions are institutions and they should not be changed to further the political interests of an individual to stay in power. So we do support constitutionally mandated presidential term limits. We believe they should be respected and we made that point in all of our meetings with government officials. You may have read Secretary Kerry's statement and saw the reporting on his meeting when he was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and his conversations with President Kabila, but they are not always in public space, but these are discussions that we have on a regular basis. We strongly believe that Presidents who reach the end of their term limits should abide by the constitutions that they were elected by and defend and protect those constitutions and allow for transition of their governments.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much to both of our speakers. That concludes today's call. I want to thank our speakers for joining us and all of our callers for participating. I regret that we were not able to address all of the questions today. We had a very large number of journalists dialing in and could not address all of the questions that were submitted. However, if you have any questions about today's call, please contact the Africa Regional Media Hub at afmediahub@state.gov. Thank you.

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