Mutharika hails US-Africa summit ‘positive impact’  

Malawian President Peter Mutharika has hailed the U.S.-Africa summit, which brought together leaders from more than 50 African nations, as the historic gathering which will have “a positive impact”.

The three-day event was the first of its kind in the US, although similar summits have been held in China and Europe.

“It is too early to say what impact this summit will be to Africa. My view is that no matter what happens, it will be a positive impact,” President Mutharika told a news conference in Washngton DC.

President Mutharika and Trade Minister Joseph Mwanamvekha in US

President Mutharika and Trade Minister Joseph Mwanamvekha in US

He said process to strengthen the economic ties between Africa and the US had just started and although there was no communiqué signed as well as no commitments made,  President Barack Obama himself was keen to ensuring that strong ties continue to exist with Africa so that there would be a follow-up to what has been discussed at the summit.

The President said both the US and African leaders interacted during the summit seriously and what was important was a process to address challenges African countries face.

“The summit was very cordial. The President (Obama) is committed and feels the kind of needs that we have in Africa,” the President said.

The summit discussed critical issues like investing in the next generation, food security as well as peace and national stability. The leaders also discussed good governance, universal rights and strengthening civil societies.

During individual leaders’ contributions, President Mutharika talked about the need for fair trade between Malawi and its partners, youth skills training on the programmes his government would like to introduce in country.

Minister of Industry and Trade, Joseph Mwanamvekha said “there is a lot that Malawi can benefit.”

He said the critical issues discussed  included expanding trade between Africa and US, engaging the youth in what is called the Young African Leaders Initiative, promotion of inclusive and sustainable development, expanding cooperation on peace and security and creation of a better future for Africa.

Closing the summit, Obama said the leaders had held “genuine discussions” and pledged to hold another gathering.

On Wednesday, the White House announced new aid to support African peacekeeping forces and new security co-operation.

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