Obama hold talks with Malawi Pres. Joyce Banda, three other African leaders

US President Barack Obama held talks with Malawi President Dr Joyce Banda at the White House on Thursday and hailed the second female President in Africa for her “strong leadership’.

President Banda was invited to the White House alongside President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, President Macky Sall of Senegal and Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde.

The United States has strong partnerships with these countries based on shared democratic values and shared interests.

Speaking after meeting the four African leaders, President Obama , according to the White House blog, said leaders discussed how the United States can expand our partnership to support their efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and promote economic opportunity, both in their countries and across sub-Saharan Africa.

President Barack Obama speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 28, 2013, after a meeting with, from left, Malawi President Joyce Banda; Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma; and Cape Verde Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves . (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Barack Obama speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 28, 2013, after a meeting with, from left, Malawi President Joyce Banda; Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma; and Cape Verde Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves . (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Obama hailed President Joyce Banda, saying she has made “significant progress” since she ascended to power a year ago, though the previous regime tried to prevent then vice-president Joyce Banda from taking power, as stipulated in the constitution.

“When you talk about Malawi, there was a constitutional crisis just last year. And yet, President Banda has not only been able to be in office and make sure that constitutional order was restored, but has also made significant progress on behalf of her people,” said Obama.

“And her personal story of overcoming a history of abuse and leading women throughout her country I think indicates the kind of progress that can be made when you’ve got strong leadership,” added the American President and the world’s most powerful leader.

Obama said during the meeting a particular focus of the conversation was on the importance of transparency and respect for human rights.

He commended each leader for their work in these areas and their commitment to join the Open Government Partnership.

President Obama also commended the Malawian leader and her counterparts for their leadership on food security and engaged them in a “fruitful conversation” about how the United States can help Africa harness the potential of its young people and empower the next generation of African leaders.

While in Washington, each leader is participating in numerous meetings and events to strengthen bilateral cooperation on a range of shared priorities.

Joint events include a dinner hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa to discuss trade and investment opportunities with representatives from U.S. businesses; a public discussion on democratization in Africa at the United States Institute for Peace; an economic and development roundtable with U.S. government officials; and a meeting with Secretary of Defense Hagel to discuss cooperation on shared regional security and peacekeeping objectives in Africa.

And speaking during the dinner hosted by the Corpirate Council on Africa, President Banda touted her economic reforms.

She said: “My government is committed to turning Malawi around from being an aid dependent to being a vibrant trading and investment nation.”

She also said her goovernment has enacted a Public Private Partnership Act and created a one -stop –shop for investors.

“Cabinet has approved the implementation of a Single Window and under this new infrastructure, Malawi intends to ease the procedures and create incentives for investors, by among other things, guaranteeing the issuing of business license to qualified businesses in the shortest time possible and harmonise the granting of permits and incentives,” said Banda.

She added: “ Our goal is to take Malawi into the top 100 countries of World Bank Doing Business rankings by 2014.”

Obama with Joyce Banda at White House

Obama with Joyce Banda at White House

President Banda arriving at Oval Office, the official office of the President of the United States,

President Banda arriving at Oval Office, the official office of the President of the United States,

President Banda being welcomed in America

President Banda being welcomed in America

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