Obama: 'We Cannot Lose Site of the New Africa Emerging'

The president addresses African leaders at the US-Africa summit in Washington.
37:54 | 08/05/14

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Transcript for Obama: 'We Cannot Lose Site of the New Africa Emerging'
With western Africa caught in its worst Deborah -- -- crisis. -- groups are scrambling to treat and educate the local population. Leaders from across the continent are in Washington this week. For the first ever African leaders summit hello everyone I'm Michelle Franzen in New York. Everything is on the table this week from health to trade and investment. And security and President Obama is taking -- stage right now to address. Thank you so much. Thank you please be -- Well good afternoon -- but it. Two Mayor Bloomberg thank you not only for the kind introduction. But to Bloomberg's philanthropy is as our callables. And for the great work that you're doing across Africa -- to help create jobs and promote public health encourage entrepreneurship. Especially women so thank you very much Michael -- leadership. I want to thank our other co host my great friend and tireless. Commerce secretary penny Pritzker. I want to welcome all of our partners -- joining us from across Africa. Heads of state and government. And -- welcomed the delegations from Sierra Leone Liberia and Guinea with whom we are working so urgently to control the Ebola outbreak of the citizens or their thoughts and prayers today. I also want -- That welcome madam chairperson. -- -- -- -- The African Union commission. President of the African Development Bank Donald -- little -- As well as the president of the World Bank doctor give Jim Kim please give them all -- -- -- And I want -- -- members of congress -- -- and -- such great champions Africa's engagement with. America's engagement with Africa. In on a city that does not always. Agree on much these days. There is broad bipartisan agreement that a secure. Prosperous and self reliant Africa is in the national interest of the United States. And most of all I want to thank all of you the business leaders beyond ignores both from the United States and from across Africa. Who are creating jobs and opportunity for our people every single day. And I want to acknowledge by leaders from across my administration who like penny are your partners. Including our US trade representative Michael -- USA ID administrator Raj Shaw and our new head of the millennial -- challenge corporation. -- -- -- President of the export. Import bank Fred -- -- Director of the US Trade and Development Agency -- -- and our president CEO of OPEC Elizabeth Littlefield. So we are here. Of course is part of the US Africa leaders summit. The largest gathering. Any American president has ever hosted with African heads of state and government. The summit reflects a perspective that has guided my approach. To Africa as president. Even as Africa continues to face enormous challenges. Even as too many Africans still -- poverty and conflict. Hunger and disease. Even as we work together to meet those challenges we cannot lose sight. Of the new Africa that's emerging. We all know what makes after such an extraordinary opportunity. Some of the fastest growing economies in the world. Are growing middle class. Expanding sectors like manufacturing and retail. One of the fastest growing telecommunications. Markets in the world. More governments are reforming. Attracting a record level of foreign investment. It is the youngest and fastest growing continent -- young people that are full of dreams and ambitions. You know last year South Africa and -- I held town hall -- young men and women from across the continent. Including some who joined us by video from you got. And one young -- woman spoke for many Africans when she said to me we are looking. To the world. For -- business partners and commitments and not necessarily -- We want to do business at home and be the ones. To own our own markets. At the settlement we hear over and over again when I was traveling throughout Africa last year what I heard was the desire of Africans not just -- eight. But for trade and development. It actually helps nations grow. And empowers Africans. For the long term. -- present I've made it clear that the United States is determined to be a partner. In Africa's success a good part of -- an equal partner and a partner for the long term. We don't look to Africa simply. We don't looked after -- simply for its natural resources we recognize Africa for its greatest resource which is its people and its talents and their potential. We don't simply -- extract medical minerals from the ground for our our growth. We want to build genuine partnerships -- -- jobs and opportunity. For all our peoples that unleash the next era of African growth that's the kind of partnership. America offers. Since I took office which stepped up our efforts across the board. More investments in Africa. More trade missions like one penny let this year. And more support for US exports and I'm -- I'm -- -- American exports to Africa have grown to record levels supporting jobs in Africa and the United States including. A quarter of a million good American jobs. But here's the thing that. Our entire trade with all of Africa. It's still only about equal. To our trade with Brazil. One country. All the goods we export to the world only about 1% goes to sub saharan Africa. So we've got a lot of work to do. We have to do but. Much better. I want Africans buying more American products I want Americans buying more African products until you do to and that's what you're doing here today. So I'm pleased that in conjunction -- this form. American companies are announcing major who deals in Africa. Blackstone will invest in African energy projects. Coca-Cola will partner with Africa to bring clean water to its communities. G will help build African infrastructure. -- will build more hotels. All told American companies many -- our trade assistance are announcing new deals and clean energy aviation. Banking and construction worth more than fourteen billion dollars. Spurring development across Africa and selling more -- stamps. Would that -- labeled made in America. I don't wanna just sustain. This momentum I want up up I want on up bargaining. So today I'm announcing a series of steps to take our trade with Africa to the next level. First we're gonna keep working to renew the African growth and opportunity act and enhances. We still do the vast majority of our trade with just three conference. South Africa Nigeria -- -- goal. It's still heavily weighted towards the energy sector. We need more Africans. Including women men and small and medium size businesses getting their goods to market. And leaders in congress Democrats and Republicans have said they want to move forward so I'm optimistic we can work with congress. To renewal and modernize go before it expires -- it for the long term we need to get that up. -- -- -- as part of part of doing business in Africa camping. We're going to do even more to help American companies compete. Will put even more of our teams on the ground advocating on behalf your competence. We're gonna send even more trade missions. Today we're announcing seven billion dollars in new financing to promote American exports to Africa. Earlier today I signed an executive order to create a new president's. Advisory council a business leaders to help make sure we're doing every single thing we can to help you do business -- that. And I wouldn't be remiss if I did not add to that house Republicans can help by re authorizing the export import bank. That is the right thing to do. I was trying to explain to somebody that if I've got a Ford dealership. And the Toyota dealership is provided financing. To anybody walks in the dealership and I'm not. I'm gonna lose -- us it's pretty straightforward. We need to get -- it reauthorize. -- had. Your business leaders can help make clear. That it is critical to US business. Number three we want to partner with Africa to build the infrastructure -- economies need to -- And that starts -- electricity. Which most Africans still lack. That's why last year -- While traveling throughout the continent I announced -- bold initiative. Power Africa to double access to electricity and sub saharan Africa and help bring electricity to more than twenty million African homes and businesses. Now -- joined with African governments the African development -- and the private sector. And I will tell you the response as exceeded our projections it has been -- -- Already projects that negotiations are under way that when completed will put us nearly 80% of the way toward our goal. On top of the significant resources we've already committed I'm announcing that the United States will increase our pledge to 300 million dollars a year for -- -- And as of today including an additional twelve billion dollars in new commitments being announced this week by our private sector partners and the world bank and the government of -- We've now mobilized a total of more than 26 billion dollars to power Africa just since we have after 46 billion dollars. So. But today we're raising the bar we decided. Where we -- we were. Meeting our goal to easily zoom -- so we gotta go well. So we're tripling our goal. Aiming to bring electricity to more than sixty million African homes and businesses. Expected sparked -- for decades -- -- -- -- do more to help Africans trade with each other. Because the markets with the greatest potential are often the country's right next door. And it should not be harder to export your goods to your neighbor than it does export those goods to Los Angeles or -- -- yet. So. -- -- our trade Africa initiative. Will increase our investments to help our after partners build her own capacity to trade. To strengthen regional markets. Make borders more efficient modernize the customs system. We want to get African goods moving faster. Within Africa as well us. Outside about. And finally we're doing more to empower the next generation. Of African -- to put -- and business leaders. It's young men and women like our extraordinary bad fellow Washington fellows that I met last week and I have to say it -- it. Heads of state -- government you would have been extraordinarily proud to me. These young people. Who -- so much talent and so much energy and so much drive. What do regional leadership -- and online courses we're gonna offer training and networking for tens of thousands of young entrepreneur was across Africa. New grants will help them access the capital they need to grow. Our annual global entrepreneurship summit this year will be held in Morocco next year will be held for the first time in sub saharan Africa. Because we want to make sure that all that talent has tapped and they have access to the capital and the the networks. And the markets that they need to succeed. Because if they succeed. In the countries of which they -- we'll succeed. They'll create jobs they'll create growth. They'll create opportunity. So bottom line is the United States is making a major and long term investment and -- -- brought us. Taken together the new commitments are described today across our government and by our many partners. Totalled some 33 billion dollars. Now -- support development across Africa and jobs. Here in the United States. -- -- tens of thousands of American jobs are supported. Every time we expand trade with Africa. As critical -- all these investments are. The Q I'm walking the next Arab African growth. Is not going to be here in the United States is going to be in Africa. And so during this week's summit. Will be discussing a whole range of areas where we're gonna have to work together. Areas that are important in their own right but which are also essential to Africa's growth. Capital is one -- development. Programs and projects are one thing but but rule of law. Regulatory reform. Good governance. Those things -- even more because people should be able to start a business and ship their goods without having to pay a bribe or higher somebody's cousin. Agricultural development. It's critical. Because it's the best way to boost incomes for the majority of Africans were farmers. Especially as they deal with the impacts of climate change. Rebuilding. A strong health infrastructure especially for mothers and children. Is critical because no country could prosper unless its citizens are healthy and strong and -- children are starting off. Where it. The advantages -- To grow to their full potential. And we have to talk about security and peace because the future belongs to those who build not those who destroy. And it's very hard. To attract business investment it's very hard to build infrastructure and it's very hard to -- out and worship. In the midst of conflict. -- -- -- -- One example of what -- can help us build together. Could assume. Columbia was born -- -- Her family was originally from India. Eventually she emigrated to the United States and along -- husbands start -- small business in California. It started off as a small engineering for bad it started manufacturing small power generators. With the help of export import bank. It's including seminars and a lot of credit and risk insurance. They started exporting power generators to West -- In believe they helped build a new electric power play. And it ended up being a win win for everybody it's been a win for their company combustion associates. Because exports to Africa have boosted their sales. Which means. They've been able to hire more workers here in the United States. -- partner with GGE. Is doing well. Most of their revenues are from exports to Africa. It's been a win for -- suppliers in Texas and Ohio and New York. It's been a win for -- had its people because. More electricity for families and businesses jobs for Africans at the power plant. Because the company hires locally and trains those workers. And they hope to keep expanding as part of our power Africa mission so this there's an example of just one small business. Imagine if we can replicate that success across our country's. Consumes us -- our customer Steve labeled made in America when they see our flag it puts us above all the competition. And her vision for their company has the same vision the brings us all here today. He says -- we really want to have a long term partnership with Africa. So consumers here -- had a chance to meter backstage she's where she records that episode the so she's doing great work thank you saw. York. But but she's an example of what's possible. A long term partnership -- Africa. And that's what America office. That's what -- -- That's the difference we can make it what Africans and Americans work together. So let's follow -- -- Let's do even more business together let's terror down barriers that slow us down and get the way of trade let's build up infrastructure the roads the bridges the -- the electricity. The connect our conference. Let's create more and sell more buy more from each other. I'm confident that we can and one we do. We want just propel the next era of African growth will create more jobs and opportunity. For everybody. For people here in the United States and for people around the world. Thank you very much everybody for -- so far has been an outstanding session and have got -- to speak to this young man. So thank you very much to prison for the -- easy. A step and we senior admitted that that date back. Thank you very much. Your -- -- -- -- there right. I wanted to really jump into the employer whether this stuff pack -- are due. I'm technician on though I've -- to bring you I'm 21 from Zimbabwe and I'm working in that whether the Kennedy space. Way -- anybody to the intent was -- So. This is an example. Our young African leaders. The factory is the youngest young African leaders but. One thing I will say vote -- notebook. If you're gonna promote your business got to make sure to let people know. I have looked up. Definitely can be done at that. Please enjoy the fifth -- it has been so. Doesn't agree to start by. Delving into a -- next bit -- to gets you my business and how it puts to every up. So nothing will waking in the technology space. Working on -- -- set up outside thank. But -- and what with -- free Internet access network hence anybody to maintenance. And so are now working. We came two point and we needed to. What a bit of technology from day in the United States. Ensuing teaching in that hundred vision of these -- businesses and that is what the people it's time and time again is that unfortunately we cannot do business with you because. You're from Zimbabwe. And -- not shocked you know. Does it make sense at this is big -- same experience that into -- -- -- -- in Zimbabwe. Have gone through even through the need meetings that had yet. You know you sit down with potential investors took -- blood projects that -- the opportunity -- -- the court and ordered -- -- excited you can see no. Boston's class -- and then I say I'm from Zimbabwe and the -- -- community. -- young man. For the good projects that -- good pretty good but unfortunately we cannot engage in business acute. And I understand that the sanctions that we have is Bob. That I opposed to an end to its bombing that targeted Sox tonight but did. We've come to appoint him to and we we as young Africans a feeding -- In -- properly engage in business we use these entities. Because he hasn't been that's -- to these entities believed that Zimbabwean than the functions. So what's he can we do to send katic ideas to make sure that we at the Atlanta -- to bring us. Can effectively develop -- -- and engage in business. A lot of very the situation in -- somewhat unique. The challenge for us the United States. Has been how to rebalance. Our desire to help the people of Zimbabwe. -- What has frankly been a repeated. A violation of basic. The democratic practices. And human rights -- inside it's about. And -- we think it is very important. To send clear signals about. Howell. We expect. Elections to be conducted governments to be conducted. Because if we don't. Then all too often with -- punitive. The people of those countries itself but you're absolutely right -- also has to be balanced with. Making sure that whatever structure -- -- put in place. With respect to sanctions don't and a punishing. The very people inside those countries my immediate suggestion. And this -- a broader. All of the African businesses -- here -- both the US businesses. Is to make sure that we're using. The Department of Commerce. And the other US. Agencies. Where we can together groups of office for the words. And find out exactly what. Can be done what can't be done what resources are available. It may be that. You and a group of -- of Zimbabwe. Are able to meet with us and -- Certain. Projects. That. All allow us to say it. This is something that will advance as a poster which -- The progress for the Zimbabwean people so -- what I suggest would be that. We. We set up a meeting and we we find out what kinds of things the -- Zimbabwe wanna do -- there -- ways that we can. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- It because that really the point of emphasis he -- that's. As young Africans -- wants to converse with other business entities he in the US and if these sanctions are needed targeted then -- honest truth that's supposed to. The business that -- trying to engage in the development what's the. You know what's so we can -- further based on some of blizzard. -- -- And that's that's that. Now. They have been a -- number of you know investments that have been. Announced -- you know multi beyond an investment in Africa and we have unique and excited and it's been a lot of talk about how. In the public and private partnerships. The vehicle to boost its investment -- coming to Africa. Let's ultimately what's being intuitive point of cutting -- I believe that the private sector is stretched fighting itself we have the existing you know indigenous businesses in these countries that -- hoping to invest in. And this is we usually the finding comes through the partnerships in orbit and that is what it -- but then. Underneath that we have these young up coming -- -- units the innovative you know those that come up with what that the citizens but disrupts the industry. And this is the innovation that you want in Africa to build. Products by Africans fought -- but in most cases than what we've seen over the past years that. Indeed these investment comes through but to -- a cascade down to these. You know -- -- has the imaging businesses and for the existing businesses -- formal -- and -- student which we cannot break through. When it comes to investment meaning when it took a boats solving unemployment I believe that it's more realistic to. That's human understand that. The probably -- off ten startups including ten people in give -- good it's more realistic than. At one indigenous companies and bring on to people. So once you -- has been or other has there been any puts the nation in these deals that have instructed in the investment that you announced -- -- -- for the young and to bring you up wounds. Trying to innovate to sold into the public to suspect. Well. First of all I think. For through the business leaders were here both African and US. It's -- -- a sort of everywhere -- should. Part of what you're describing. Is. Typical of the business around the world. Folks who already it. They don't necessarily want to ship. They don't want to be disrupted. If there's a great opportunity they'd rather do it themselves. And basically a small. -- incumbent hot shot might disrupt the business. That may initially try to block -- or diminished or admit try to buy you out or. It deals with and getting financing for a start up is always going to be difficult do you hear that from. Onto the -- here in the US as well. Having said that. What is absolutely true is that. As we think about. The billions of dollars that were mobilized. We want to make sure that small businesses medium size businesses women owned businesses. That they have opportunity. And so my instructions to all of our agencies. And hopefully the work that we're doing -- all of our partners. Is how can we identify. Target. Financing for. The start of how can we identify and and link up US companies was small and medium size businesses and not just the large businesses. And I think you're absolutely right that. Buyouts. It's trying to spread. Investment. Not narrowly through one or two companies but more broadly that the opportunities for success in those countries are higher. And it also -- a healthy competition. That and and that's true also in terms of how we're designing. For example -- are -- the future program. Which is working -- almost two million. Small farmers. In -- about. When I was in Senegal. I met with a a woman. Maybe in her in her thirties she had a small plot of land initially. Through the -- the future program she had been able -- mechanized. Double over productivity. By doubling -- productivity and threw -- Smartphones getting better prices to the market. She was able to increase -- profits. Than she bought a tractor. Then she doubled -- productivity again. And suddenly what it started off as just a program to increase her income. Had become. Capital for a growing business where she was now hiring people in her hair. And doing some of the processing of the brain that she -- herself so that you could move up the value -- There are entrepreneur or is like that all -- Sometimes the capital they -- is not very or sometimes. It's a fairly modest amount. And so what what I want to do is to make sure that we are constantly looking out for opportunities to dispersed this capital. Not just narrowly but broadly and one of things that I hope happens with the US companies is that they're constantly looking for opportunities. To partner where it. Young enough and -- start -- and not just always going to be. The same well established businesses and other they're going to be some large capital projects. Where. You know you've got a good solid established company hopefully they themselves have policies. With respect to their suppliers. That allow them to start encouraging him -- small businesses will. That in -- the notes present above there are fielding questions from a moderator and speaking at the first African leaders summit in Washington. -- can continue to watch that streaming live. We are now -- lines from Washington by ABC's by the -- -- a lot on this table during this week but let's start with the president's comments stuck out to you. Well certainly is -- let's start with. What the president began with in his speech first thing that he acknowledged was evil -- crisis happening in West Africa. I certainly felt he had to acknowledge that because that is what -- -- Come on in all of the headlines an American Media so he didn't say a lot about it but he -- just say. That he acknowledges that the leaders of those countries or their representatives are here. And he said that our thoughts and our prayers are with the citizens battling that evil outbreak right now. Is certainly touched upon that crisis as well as -- leading into the agenda that he has for these. Few days here what else did he cover and that's during the summit. Well then of course the most important. Element of the president's speech today was really focusing on. US trade and investment in Africa and that is really supposed to be. -- geek hope that isn't the organizers hope that that would be the key accomplishment. Of this whole summit and yes there are a number of topics that will be discussed. But the biggest thing that they really wanted to. To do and to accomplish. Was to get American business since connect did -- interested and investing in Africa and also to send a message to all of these African leaders. That the US is interested and and is wanting to be a partner with them in more than just aid but is the president said in trade. As well trade not only aid is -- big part of the message that he wanted to get across today the president has been announcing today that. He has commitments of fourteen billion dollars in commitments from US companies to invest in Africa over the next several years. And it's some of the messages that we've been hearing from top administration officials and what the president and again said today was that. You know Africa is home to six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. Dads. -- by the year 2040. The largest workforce in the world will be in Africa larger than -- India larger demand in China and that US companies it's really important for for our economy and for US companies that they recognize the opportunity that's there. And that they are working to position themselves to be there and to benefit from that. Of course the start of this summit overshadowed again by the -- -- crisis -- leaders are absent because of this and what it. What are those who did make the trip saying about the situation. In the leaders. The president of Liberia and Sierra Leone decided to cancel their trips for this summit at the last minute they decided their leadership was needed in their countries because those two countries are really having the hardest time battling this outbreak right now. And -- Guinea is also one of the countries dealing with painful outbreak but they're beginning to get ahead of it. In Guinea and also -- -- official told me that the president of Guinea represents a regional. The block of African country so they felt that. He -- it was important that he was here as the chairperson of that regional bloc of African countries. I mean representatives. Did come from Liberia and Sierra Leone -- other presidents couldn't come. But they are here and those representatives have basically been saying. They need all the help they can get those two countries are still recovering from many years of war and the just don't have the capacity. On their own. To stop this outbreak. And usaid a federal agency has announced it will send -- team to West Africa. Along with five million dollars in new wave that is western leaders at the conference working together on more help for this region. Yes that announcement from USA ID was one of the things that did come out at this conference. There was a meeting on the sidelines of the summit yesterday between representatives of the three countries that are dealing with the outbreak. As well as he headed the CDC. The head of the the US Department of Health and Human Services. Where they discussed. What in what ways -- US help. In order two try to halt. This Ebola outbreak so the US -- -- committing more money the CDC also announced that is sending over fifty more staff members. To assist in that effort. And you mention today's discussion focused primarily on trade and investment China of course has turned their attention -- attention to this continent in recent years. Just -- -- of a big effort to strike trade deals with these emerging African markets. -- -- organizers of this conference certainly hope so again they really feel that. If you if you look at what's been happening on the continent. Four. In more than a decade now China has been really aggressively investing. In the country. European countries as well and so there's a -- that. The US is behind that other parts of the world have been seeing. The growth and the opportunity that's happening in Africa but that US companies. I'm have been hesitant have been it too concerned about. Corruption or violence. An and and not really paying attention enough. Two. The -- parts of Africa that are really beginning to turn around. That there are parts of the country and and certain African countries. I'm better at doing much better with governments that are really managed to get corruption under control that there's a fast growing middle class in Africa and that. In that middle class in Africa that figure somewhere around 350 million people. Now and that that that's a lot of people who are. Capable of buying US guns or that's a large workforce that our companies may want to an employee and meet at some point. So tomorrow they'll be more discussion about security of course both Iran and Nigeria extremist groups in Somalia. And Kenya's civil war and Central Africa what's the White House hoping to accomplish. When it comes to security. President Obama said in his speech the future belongs to those who build and not those who destroy and that -- specifically when he was talking about security issues on the continent. -- you know because again -- large focus of this continent the summit was on. Economic investment continent. And if you're dealing you know with civil war if you're having problems with terrorism and not able to get -- -- under control. It's really hard to grow economically that was the point he was trying to make. And of course one of the the the that big shared concerns that the US has with African countries. -- the spread of terrorism. It's a big problem in Africa. In. For many years now and -- it's not only problem for the US because of course terrorists are very interested in. Attacking western targets but it's a challenge for African countries because. He -- -- is an example of this in recent years they have been struggling with these -- Bob militants coming down from Somalia and and bombing. Is civilian places bombing markets bombing western targets and -- outside investors don't feel safe. To live there they don't feel like it's a safe place to invest and -- really holds the entire country back. ABC's -- you cannot in Washington thank you. Sure you can continue to watch President Obama take questions on our ABC news live stream channels. And you can also keep -- with the story in real time by downloading the ABC news that star and the story for those exclusive updates on the go. For now I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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