Obama hosts leaders of four African countries

Saturday March 30 2013

By KEVIN KELLEY Special Correspondent

US President Barack Obama met with four leaders of African countries that the US has strong partnerships with.

Conferring with President Obama at the White House on March 28, were the Prime Minister of Cape Verde — José Maria Neves, Presidents Joyce Banda of Malawi, Macky Sall of Senegal, and Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone.

The meeting was to reward them for their support for US interests in Africa.

The meetings also sent a signal to other African leaders that close relations with the world’s superpower are contingent on maintaining stability and respecting the rule of law.

Following an armed rebel takeover of the Central African Republic on March 24, two days later State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the Obama administration is reviewing $2.2 million in aid the US provides to that country.

Some $1.6 million funds a USAid initiative to protect the rights of small-scale diamond miners in the CAR.

Mr Ventrell said the US also spends $22 million a year on humanitarian programmes in the CAR. That funding, funnelled through NGOs, will not be affected by the rebel conquest, the spokesman said.

President Obama praised the trend in Africa toward democratic development.

“What we’ve learned over the past several decades,” President Obama said following his talks with the four leaders, “is that when you’ve got good governance — when you have democracies that work, sound management of public funds, transparency and accountability to the citizens that put leaders in place — it is not only good for the state and the functioning of government, it’s also good for economic development because it gives people confidence, it attracts business, it facilitates trade and commerce.”

The leaders are the latest from Africa whom President Obama has hosted over the past four years.