Monthly Archives: August 2014

This past week, Washington DC was alive with the buzz the first US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington DC. It has been so gratifying to see all the attention paid to heads of state from African countries by President Obama and his cabinet, investors, and corporate leader. For those of us in the development community it is a long time coming.

One of the key themes of the summit is partnerships. Power Africa, a high-profile partnership of USAID and private sector partners, seeks to bring electricity to sub Saharan Africa where 70% of the population lives without electricity. Just imagine Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda will full power!

There is also great interest in Africa as the next big tech hub and market for technology products. South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria all boast about technology users, innovators and investors. The market for mobile phones continues to grow exponentially throughout the continent.

American, European and Asian businesses are all angling for a piece of the market.

As a development person who has worked in Africa for 20 year, it is thrilling to see such enthusiasm for Africa. Finally people are talking about countries, not just a continent. But more importantly investors are seeing the rich resources both human and material that most countries in Africa have to offer.

Partnerships (which has been a mantra of our work for decades), have been forged this week that entail commitments of millions of dollars. The next five years will be exciting times for the continent.

When a dress is more than a dress….

Jill Biden’s comments on the stunning dress she wore for the state dinner captured another important side of the Africa I know.

Dr. Biden visited the Democratic Republic of Congo last month promoting a platform of economic empowerment and education for women. She visited a woman- owned business, Vlisco that employs women that are victims of gender violence. She asked that they make a dress for her to wear at the White House dinner honoring the heads of state participating in the US-Africa Leaders Summit. Using a brilliant blue wax print fabric locally-designed, the seamstresses worked over night to prepare the dress for her to take with her back to Washington the next morning.

Dr. Biden told the Washington Post: “For me, the fabric and style of this dress embodies the beauty and strength of the women I met throughout my visit to Africa last month”.

Couldn’t agree more….


 J Biden dress

Photo: Washington Post