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U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: President Obama Welcomes an Historic Gathering to Washington

It’s an historic week in the nation’s capital as President Obama hosts the largest gathering of African heads of state and governments ever assembled by a U.S. President.

It’s an historic week in the nation’s capital as President Obama hosts the largest gathering of African heads of state and governments ever assembled by a U.S. President. The three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit will welcome 51 African leaders to Washington, D.C. and focus on sustainable development, trade, collaboration, investment, and America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people. 

Leading up to the Summit, President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) was in the spotlight last week, as the President hosted a Town Hall meeting with the 500 leaders selected as the inaugural class for the Mandela Washington Fellowship. First Lady Michelle Obama also addressed the group on Wednesday, delivering powerful remarks on her own heritage, and the importance of promoting education and empowering women in Africa. “No country can ever truly flourish,” she said, “if it stifles the potential of its women, and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”

The theme for this week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit is “Investing in the Next Generation.” 

For a full list of events, click here, or review the synopsis below.


Signature Events:

  • The Civil Society Forum event will be convened by Secretary of State Kerry and will bring together U.S. and African government leaders, members of African and U.S. civil society and the diaspora, and private sector leaders to focus on strategies for fostering social entrepreneurship, civic innovation, and development.
  • The Investing in Women, Peace, and Prosperity event will highlight the importance of African women’s leadership and meaningful participation in government, the economy, and civil society — as a means to accelerate economic development, improve health and educational indicators, advance democratic development, and improve the safety and security of all citizens.
  • The Investing in Health: Investing in Africa's Future event will bring together senior U.S. government officials, African leaders, Ministers of Health, and senior health policy makers who will envision the future of U.S.-African global health partnerships in achieving global health security, promoting science and health, reaching an AIDS-free generation, and ending preventable child and maternal deaths.
  • The Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate event will highlight three critical and interrelated areas in the U.S-Africa relationship: food security, climate change, and resilience. These issues are of particular concern for African nations, where the majority of rural populations rely on rain-fed agriculture, and where climate change is already having a major affect.  More productive agricultural systems will help transform lives, communities, and nations by generating income and by freeing resources for rural populations to participate elsewhere in the economy.
  • The Combating Wildlife Trafficking event will be an opportunity for African leaders to join together and share their ideas on how to best counter the threat of poaching and inspire African youth to safeguard their natural heritage for future generations. 
  • AGOA Forum: To further demonstrate our commitment to sustainable economic growth and development in Africa, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will host the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Ministerial at the World Bank. African and U.S. trade officials will discuss the future of the AGOA program and U.S. plans to pursue renewal of AGOA legislation.
  • Capitol Hill Reception: The Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees will host a welcome reception for African leaders on Capitol Hill in the afternoon.


  • U.S.-Africa Business Forum: The U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on strengthening trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa to accelerate job growth, and encourage investment.  See the U.S.-Africa Business Forum Official Website for more information, and a list of African companies, U.S. companies, and government representatives slated to attend.
  • White House Dinner on the occasion of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: On the evening of August 5, President Obama and the First Lady will host a dinner at the White House for African heads of state, and government and select guests.


  • Summit Leader Meetings:  African leaders and President Obama will engage in dialogue in three action-oriented sessions that will address issues of shared interest and mutual concern.
    • Leader Session I - Investing in Africa’s Future:  The opening session will discuss inclusive, sustainable development, economic growth, and trade and investment.
    • Leader Session II - Peace and Regional Stability:  A working lunch will be centered around shared concerns regarding peace and security, including a discussion of long-term solutions to regional conflicts, peacekeeping challenges, and combating transnational threats.
    • Leader Session III - Governing for the Next Generation:  This session will allow for a candid conversation about the greatest challenges and opportunities for Africa’s continued political and economic progress and a specific focus on governance. This session will focus on how to enhance governance in order to deliver services to citizens, attract and prepare for increased domestic and foreign direct investment, manage transnational threats, and stem the flow of illicit finance.
  • Spousal Program:  On August 6, First Lady Michelle Obama, in partnership with former First Lady Laura Bush and the Bush Institute, will host a day-long spouses symposium at the Kennedy Center focused on the impact of investments in education, health, and public-private partnerships.
  • A Dialogue with African CEOs:  On August 6, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks and the Congressional Black Caucus Africa Task Force will host “A Dialogue with African CEOs,” entailing panel discussions and networking with African business and political leaders, U.S. private sector representatives, and members of Congress.

Read about the President’s town hall with Mandela Washington Fellows.

Read the First Lady’s full remarks to the Mandela Leadership Fellows.