Obama invites Malawi Pres. Joyce Banda, three other African leaders to White House

US President Barack Obama has invited Malawi President Dr Joyce Banda to the White House on Thursday, March 28, US Ambassodor to Malawi Jeanine Jackson has confirmed in a statement.

Ambassodor Jackson said President Banda has been invited alongside President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, President Macky Sall of Senegal and Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde.

“The five leaders will discuss strengthening democratic institutions across sub-Saharan Africa, and building on Africa’s democratic progress to generate increased economic opportunities and expanded trade and investment,” said the US envoy.

The statement cited the “strong partnership” between US and the African countries whose leaders were chosen.

“The visit of these four leaders underscores the strategic importance the President places on building partnerships and substantive engagement with sub-Saharan Africa, and our commitment to working with strong and emerging African democracies,” said the statement.

Banda’s Press Secretary Steve Nhlane confirmed that the Malawi leader has accepted the invitation and she will travel to US for the White House meeting with the world’s most powerful leader.

Commenting on the visit Malawi President Dr Banda said from Britain:” I am excited with the visit which includes a meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss opportunities for continued collaboration with the United States on the themes of democracy and transparency, and trade and investment.

“As you know, US assistance to Malawi in 2012 was U$253 million, excluding US contributions to the global fund, UNDP and other multilateral organizations and does not include private philanthropy by Americans such as the Gates Foundation, the Clinton Health initiative and others.

“It does not also include the U$350.7 million funding for the Millennium Challenge Compact.But there is also an opportunity to increase this funding and the visit offers an opportunity to discuss how this can happen.

“My focus is on the Economic Recovery Plan which is well on course through, among other programmes the reforms my government is implementing, strengthening bilateral relations for increased trade and investment and bringing back donors who deserted us during the former administration.”

The multi-party meeting is not unprecedented: in late July 2011 Obama met with the presidents of Benin, Guinea, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.

President Obama and President Banda: To meet again
President Obama and President Banda: To meet again

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