By Amini Kajunju
President Barack Obama will deliver the first State of the Union Address of his second term on Feb. 12 in Washington, D.C. While we don’t know yet what international issues will be raised in the annual address, The Africa-America Institute (AAI) will offer our perspective on what we’d like to hear from President Obama as it relates to bolstering economic and development progress in Africa.
The State of the Union sets forth an opportunity for the President to outline the White House’s priorities and legislative agenda for this year. From AAI’s standpoint, we’d like to see President Obama lay out a broad plan on how the United States aims to deepen its partnership with Africa nations to accelerate economic growth and prosperity on the continent.
For AAI, our focus has always been on educating Africans. Education is the bedrock of development in Africa. Investments in education across all levels have proven to yield far-reaching, sustainable returns. Leading research shows a positive correlation between countries with strong education systems and social, political and economic progress, technological advancement, entrepreneurship and global competitiveness.
In the State of the Union, AAI hopes that President Obama will present a renewed focus on Africa that recognizes the importance of investments in education, particularly in higher education, in building strong democracies, strengthening civil society, improving health, and spurring economic growth, trade and investment.
AAI released a policy brief, “Equipping the African Continent for Jobs of the 21st Century to Bolster Economic Growth and Prosperity”, in November 2012, that lays out priorities for President Obama in greater detail. The policy brief outlines three key priority areas for the Obama Administration’s second term on strengthening the human capacity on the African continent to prepare African nations to compete in the global economy and accelerate economic growth. The priority areas include:
- Increasing investment in higher education, vocational skills training and professional development.
- Expanding trade and investment.
- Creating Jobs for Africa’s Youth.
To access AAI’s Priority Areas for the Obama Administration, please click here.
What would you like President Obama address as it relates to Africa in the State of the Union?
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