Obama’s US-Africa Leaders Summit Aims to Strengthen Ties

Without closer economic and diplomatic ties, America will fall behind its rivals in the race to invest in African nations.


But the continent has always had serious issues to face, at least since it was carved up and raped in every conceivable way by the European powers at the Berlin Conference in 1886.

If the summit leads to more manufacturing in and exporting by Africa, predicts Tesi, it will be a success. “No country can develop by always importing,” he says. “That is Africa’s main problem. As far as democracy is concerned, investments could be the tool the U.S. has in influencing African governments to govern democratically.”

If U.S. ambassadors can help Africa work for the Africans themselves as much as they provide a liaison to what the late Gil Scott-Heron used to call “the Dollar Eagle,” then the Republicans in the Senate deserve all the scorn the American public can give.

But if all of this—the summit, the ambassador issue—is just another opportunity to carve up the continent—kindly, this time!—then it might be appropriate, in this 50th-anniversary season of African independence and movement power, to do what the Obamas seem to be suggesting: Stop making excuses (for Obama’s white conglomerate-loving leadership), embrace our heritage, and raise up some ’60 flags and some fists on both sides of the Atlantic.

Todd Steven Burroughs, an independent researcher and writer based in Hyattsville, Md., is the author of Son-Shine on Cracked Sidewalks, an audiobook on Amiri Baraka and Ras Baraka through the eyes of the 2014 Newark, N.J., mayoral campaign. A black-media historian, he has taught at Morgan State and Howard universities. He is the co-editor, along with Jared Ball, of A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X and the co-author, with Herb Boyd, of Civil Rights: Yesterday & Today.

For more, read “A Cheat Sheet for the US-Africa Leaders Summit”