Washington: Stressing that America`s relationship with Africa should not merely be that of a donor-recipient, US President Barack Obama extended a hand of partnership to the African leaders, calling for stability in the continent to harness it`s potential to the fullest.
Obama was speaking during a meeting with leaders of four African nations - Prime Minister Jose Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde, President Joyce Banda of Malawi, President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and President Macky Sall of Senegal -- at the White House yesterday.
"My main message to each of these leaders is that the United States is going to be a strong partner, not based on the old model in which we are a donor and they are simply a recipient, but a new model that`s based on partnership and recognising that no continent has greater potential or greater upside than the continent of Africa if they in fact have the kind of strong leadership that these four individuals represent," Obama told reporters after the meeting.
The US president underscored the need for stable governments in Africa, with whom the US can engage in greater partnership for inclusive development.
"Obviously, economic development, prosperity doesn`t happen if you have constant conflict. And nobody knows that more than these individuals," he said.
Africa has developed a lot in recent years, yet it still has to achieve a lot on several fronts, including education, Obama noted.
"Africa has actually been growing faster than almost every other region of the world, but it started from a low baseline and it still has a lot of work to do.
"It means building human capacity and improving education and job skills for rapidly growing populations. It means improving access to energy and transportation sectors. So we discussed how the United States can continue to partner effectively with each of these countries," he said.
The leaders also met the US Defence Secretary, Chuck Hagel yesterday, during which he praised the visiting leaders for their success exemplifying democratisation and good governance in Africa.
"The leaders discussed issues of mutual concern including extremist networks, illicit trafficking, and maritime security. The secretary emphasised the US desire to support African-led security solutions," the Pentagon Press Secretary, George Little, said.