WASHINGTON DC —
United States President Barack Obama wrapped up his trip to Africa on Tuesday after making the first visit by an American president to the African Union's headquarters in Ethiopia with a wide-ranging speech hailing the continent's progress, but warning such progress can be sustained only through continued development and democracy for all.
Conspicuous by his absence from the gathering was AU chairman, President Robert Mugabe.
Mr. Obama hailed the continent's gains, from a plummeting HIV/AIDS infection rate to millions of Africans being lifted out of poverty, while noting the U.S. role in such gains. President Obama highlighted his renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act aimed at boosting trade and United States initiatives focused on food security, increasing access to electricity and supporting African entrepreneurs.
While not naming China, the president emphasized what sets the United States apart in its investment in Africa.
He added that, however, there is some doubt on Africa’s progress.
Mr. Obama also noted Africa’s inherent problem of corruption that he said, although it was not only unique in Africa it was devastating to the growth of the continent.
In what Zimbabweans could easily identify as something that is pertinent to their country Mr. Obama touched the issue of leaders who cling onto power saying it was abhorrent to have leaders that want to rule for life.
Mr. Obama warned that the fight against terrorism might never be won unless governments address the grievances many terrorists exploit.
Before visiting Ethiopia, President Obama spent two days in his father's homeland of Kenya, where he was hailed as a native son.
Despite being chairman of the AU, President Mugabe was not invited to the meeting because of his strained relationship with the U.S. and the West.
However, officials from President Mugabe’s office declined to comment on the issue.