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The African Development Bank is an amazing turnaround story. The regional development bank was close to shutting down after losing its AAA credit rating in 1995 and, worse, squandering the confidence of its shareholders.
We are one week away from the first ever US-Africa Summit. As some fifty heads of state prepare to descend on Washington DC on Aug 4, the only certainties are that the hotels will be packed and downtown traffic will be a snarl. But what to expect from the Summit itself?
We cheer for the African teams, so we’re a little conflicted with the USA-Ghana grudge match in the World Cup tonight. We harbor no illusions about USA’s chances to win the tournament. But at least we’ll have the electricity to watch it.
The White House and the House of Representatives have weighed in on how the United States can help bring electricity to millions of Africans and also reposition US engagement with the continent. Supportive legislation is now up to the Senate, and specifically the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez (D-NJ).
Last Friday (hmmm…), the State Department announced that Secretary Kerry will travel to sub-Saharan Africa April 29-May 5, his first visit to the sub-continent as Secretary of State. First stop is Addis Ababa to meet with the African Union and the Ethiopian government “to discuss efforts to advance peace and democracy in the region”. Next up is Kinshasa to “discuss how the DRC government’s progress in neutralizing some of the dozens of dangerous armed groups that victimize the Congolese people can be consolidated and how to best advance the DRC’s democratization and long-term stability.” Last stop is Luanda to “commend President dos Santos for Angola’s leadership of…the Great Lakes peace process.”
We need to get ready for a world of a whole lot more energy. Recognizing and embracing this reality is a more practical starting point for meeting the development and environmental challenges that we face. That’s the bottom-line of Our High Energy Planet, a report by an eclectic mix of thirteen authors released today by the Breakthrough Institute and Arizona State University.