Trade in Focus as African Leaders Meet in Washington

Coca-Cola leads way in agricultural initiative
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2014 9:59 AM CDT
Trade in Focus as African Leaders Meet in Washington
President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila, center, departs a reception for leaders attending the US-Africa Summit on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

This week, Washington is hosting most of Africa's leaders for the White House's US-Africa Leaders Summit, which aims to forge stronger ties between the US and the continent, CNN reports. The event will address issues ranging from trade to security, the Wall Street Journal notes. A business forum is at the center of today's activities, the Hill notes, and the CEOs of Walmart, Coca-Cola, and IBM will be on hand as firms look for new investment opportunities. Says John Kerry: Africa's "resources are the people, the know-how, the capacity, the desire—and if that is harnessed properly there is no limit in the rapidity with which growth can take over."

Coke is among the US and African companies that will announce $7 billion in new funds today to help develop agriculture on the continent. The White House has sought the support of private companies in its development effort, the Washington Post reports, and the focus on private cash rather than federal funds "is working," says the head of the US Agency for International Development: "We have been able to do some extraordinary things to dramatically reduce hunger through the commercialization of the agriculture sector." Coke, for instance, is working to source more products from Kenya and Malawi. Europe and China are already far ahead of the US in African investment, NPR reports, and the US is working to catch up. (More US-Africa Summit stories.)

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