Webb Outlines Ten Point Plan for U.S. Investment in Africa
By Jubi Headley
Speaking before the National Summit on Africa held in Washington, DC on February 19th and 20th, Denver Mayor and Conference of Mayors President Wellington E. Webb called for the implementation of a ten-point plan of action to address the economic and social inequities facing the peoples and nations of Africa. The centerpiece of the plan is a proposal for a $5 billion aid program for Africa which includes funds for economic aid, human resource development, and resources to combat the AIDS pandemic which is devastating the African continent. Such levels of aid, if approved by Congress and the Administration, would be unprecedented, and would, according to figures reported by the Africa fund, increase the level of U. S. aid to sub-Saharan Africa by sevenfold.
“Why do this? Why Africa?” Mayor Webb said. “The United States has been very active in stimulating trade in Russia, Eastern Europe, the Pacific Rim, Latin America, and Mexico and Canada through NAFTA, the North America Free Trade Agreement; it is time to extend those same initiatives to Africa.”
Webb made his appeal last night while delivering the closing keynote address at the closing ceremonies of National Summit on Africa, held at the Kennedy Center. The Summit brought together 5,000 people here to discuss Africa and race in America, and hopes to become a strong lobby for African issues in the United States.
“The United States is
the most logical nation to lead international efforts to assist
Africa’s economic endeavors. Our thriving economy provides a
tremendous resource base for economic investment and technical
assistance,” Mayor Webb said. “Its diverse population is composed
of a substantial number of citizens of African descent, and its
history of being a melting pot of all peoples provides fertile ground
for the idea of substantial investment in Africa. If not, the U. S.,
then who?” Mayor Webb asked. “If not the large African American
population in the U.S. then who?”
Webb was also on hand for
a special awards luncheon held on February 19th, where he received an
award for his pivotal role in helping to raise the profile of the
National Summit. Last September, as part of the National Summit on
Africa, the City of Denver hosted one of four regional conferences on
Africa at the Colorado Convention Center.
Mayor Webb is an
internationally recognized leader on issues relating to Africa. He
created The U.S. Conference of Mayors Task Force on Sub-Saharan Africa
and was one of two locally elected officials invited to participate by
President Clinton to participate in an historic mission to Africa in
1998. Last spring, Mayor Webb led a delegation of U.S. Mayors to Ghana
to participate in the African/African American Summit. Mayor Webb has
also visited Axum, Ethiopia, one of Denver’s Sister Cities.
Other key policy elements of Mayor Webb’s agenda for Africa include:
Cultural elements of the plan include fostering sister-city” and other cultural exchanges between African and American cities; supporting organizations such as the National Summit on Africa; and teaching the nation’s children about Africa’s economic and cultural contributions to the world.
The National Summit on
is a four-year initiative established to achieve three key goals: to
educate the American public about Africa and about U.S.- Africa
relations; to broaden and strengthen the network of Africa’s
supporters in the U.S., and to develop a policy plan of action to
guide U.S. relations with the countries and peoples of Africa.