Obama hosts African leaders conference

Obama hosts African leaders conference image

President Barack Obama hosts African Leaders Conference.

By Zachary Toillion

On August 6, President Obama hosts African leaders conference. He welcomed African leaders to Washington DC to discuss an array of international issues involving African nations, particularly economic development and the recent Ebola outbreak. Obama announced significant economic investment from private and public sources at the conference. Through a combination of pledges and business deals, the President announced a $33 billion dollar investment in Africa. The United States government is set to directly export $7 billion in goods and investments. The U.S. also secured $14 billion worth of private sector business deals with the continent. The remaining $12 billion came from the World Bank, Sweden, and private sources. These funds will be used to fund electrification of the continent. Also in attendance was George W. Bush and the former first lady. Laura Bush led a discussion with Michelle Obama to encourage African nations to empower their women through education and medical support. The audience for the talk was made up of “first spouses,” consisting mainly of the wives of African heads of state. George W. Bush, in a rare public appearance, remarked, “By the way for the first ladies, if you’re worried about your husband’s political future, taking care of women is good politics.” Turning to a more serious note, Bush added in regards to AIDS treatment and screening,”It is impossible to direct help where it is needed most when any group is targeted for legal discrimination and stigma. Compassion and tolerance are important medicines.” As president, George W. Bush drew bipartisan praise for his aid to Africa, giving the continent an unprecedented $5 billion a year in foreign aid. Next on the agenda was addressing the Ebola outbreak that has claimed nearly 1000 lives in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Guinea, all located in Western Africa. Two American aid workers contracted the virus and were flown to Atlanta for treatment. A doctor in East Tennessee voluntarily quarantined himself in his home after treating several Ebola patients in West Africa. Isolated cases also occurred in both Ohio and New York. Six additional unidentified Americans were tested for the virus, but the results were negative. The Center for Disease Control issued its highest emergency alert in response to the Ebola virus, allowing for the allocation of more resources to fight the outbreak. Obama expressed skepticism for exporting experimental drugs to fight the growing West African epidemic. “I think we’ve got to let the science guide us. I don’t think all the information is in on whether this drug is helpful.” Obama also took the time to take questions from reporters. When asked if he would take unilateral action to address the border crisis during Congress’s August recess, he mentioned that “We’re going to make sure that every time we take one of these steps that we are working within the confines of my executive power, but I promise you the American people don’t want me just standing around twiddling my thumbs and waiting for Congress to get something done. I never have a green light. I’m bound by the Constitution. I’m bound by the separation of powers. What I am consistently going to do, wherever I have legal authority, I’m going to seize those opportunities.”

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