African presidents and dictators have started to arrive in Washington, DC to attend the US -Africa Summit convened by US President Barack Obama. Close to 50 African leaders are expected in this largest ever gathering of African leaders in Washington.
The summit will be held from Monday, August 4, 2014 to Wednesday August 6, 2014. According to the White House, the summit aims at "elevating our engagement for Africa". President Obama has long been clear about the objective of the summmit: "I do not see the countries and peoples of Africa as a world apart; I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world – partners with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children. That partnership must be grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect."
However, behind these lines, most observers agree that the US Government, under President Barack Obama, has been frustrated by slow democratic process in Africa and persistent insecurity in strategic parts of the continent. On the other hand, several Africans have complained of the lack of focused policy towards Africa and the continued support for African dictators by the US Government.
Based on the calendar of the events, "African leaders will have an opportunity to engage with President Obama, his Cabinet members, and other key leaders, including business executives from the U.S. and Africa, Members of Congress, and members of civil society." But, the Whitehouse has been clear: US President Obama has ruled out one-on-one talks with African heads of state, to make sure some of them are not pushing idiosyncratic interests, that do not advance the common interst of the continent.