Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton speak at Young African Leaders conference

Yesterday afternoon, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton spoke at the Presidents Forum with Young African Leaders. The Forum brought together 115 people from 47 African countries in a town-hall style meeting at the White House.

President Obama spoke extensively about the potential for African growth and the need to correct the decades of "lost opportunity" in the region because of things like corruption, disease, and civil unrest. President Obama also highlighted some of the accomplishments of the young people present at the meeting ("like the small business owner from Djibouti who began selling ice cream and who now runs his own accounting practice and advises other entrepreneurs"), followed by a Q&A afterwords.
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton also highlighted the potential for African development and growth by the continent's youth:

"Sixty percent of the population of Africa is under the age of 25. And that means that there’s a lot of work to be done to make sure that those young people are educated, are healthy, are motivated, are given the tools of opportunity. But it also means that Africa has not just the potential, but the promise of becoming a leader in innovation, in design, in creativity of all that you, your families, communities, and countries can become."

The Forum is part of the celebration of 50 years of African independence from colonial rule.

-Matthew Thwaites