United States President, Barack Obama, has expressed worry over the rising rate of terrorism in Africa. Speaking last weekend while receiving the presidents of Benin, Cote d’ Ivoire, Guinea and Niger, Obama said, “We are partners in resolving conflicts peacefully and have worked effectively with ECOWAS and the African Union to resolve crises in the region. We appreciate very much the assistance that we’ve received in battling terrorism that currently is trying to gain a foothold inside of Africa.”
Although the U.S President did not mention Nigeria, White House watchers and sources say he is increasingly worried about the attacks by the Boko Haram sect.
The president promised that the U.S will be a “stalwart partner” as the four French-speaking African countries continue their democratization and development.
Obama however disagreed that Africa was in need of strong leaders. “I’ve said it before and I think they all agree, Africa does not need strong men; Africa needs strong institutions. So we are working with them as partners to build effective judiciaries, strong civil societies and legislatures that are effective and inclusive, making sure that human rights are protected.”
The meeting with Obama and the West African leaders also discussed how to encourage inter-African and regional trade, which the US President said “requires investments in infrastructure.”
Bruce Wharton, the State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy said, “By inviting the four presidents to Washington, the Obama administration is highlighting the importance of holding credible elections, building strong democratic institutions and fostering economic development.”