African leaders look to Obama for industrial takeoff

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- African leaders must prepare an action plan on ho w they would like the new United States President Barack Obama to help broker a g lobal trade agreement during their meeting here Sunday, African Union's Commissi o ner for Trade Elizebeth Tankeu said here Friday.
"We are waiting for the appointment of a new trade negotiator for the Obama admi nistration.
We hope the African heads of state will get organized and put on the table, what they want the new administration to do for them," Tankeu told a news conference in the Ethiopian capital.
African leaders are due for a meeting here on Sunday to tackle issues related to infrastructure and a global trade deal, offering African states more flexibilit y to sell their products in the richer states, which is currently not on the tabl e .
The new US administration has not appointed a new Trade Representative to help r e-start the stalled global negotiations for a new trade treaty, which African mi n isters of trade say must favour trade in agricultural commodities and seek an am b itious plan of cutting agricultural subsidies for farmers.
Speaking on the sidelines of the African foreign ministers meeting on the prepar ation for the 12th African heads of state summit on Friday, Tankeu said African l eaders must put on the table, concrete proposals on how to resolve the current g l obal trade stand-off and make use of the Obama presidency.
"We hope we will take his coming to power as an opportunity to solve the African problems… We are happy, but we cannot say Obama would solve all our problems.
H e is our role model," she said.
Africans have been expressing optimism about the continent's future relations wi th the US ever since Obama assumed the presidency.
Tankeu said African leaders should urgently table a possible solution on how to get out of the current trade impasse and take advantage of an African-friendly U S administration.
In an exclusive interview with PANA, African Union Commission Deputy-Chair Erast us Mwencha, however, warned that African states should not expect too much from t he US administration.
Mwencha said African leaders should take advantage of Obama's leadership to win more investment opportunities and help get the continent in the same level of in d ustrialization with the rest of the world.
He warned that Africa should not expect handouts from the US.
Meanwhile, Africa should get more foreign direct investments from the United Sta tes and the rest of Europe to compensate for the impact of the global economic s l owdown.
"We expect the US to invest more in Africa and add more value to African product s," Tankeu said.

30 janvier 2009 18:01:00




xhtml CSS