A total of 47 heads of state, as well as the African Union Commission Chairwoman Dlamini Zuma, will be present at the summit, the objective of which is to strengthen the historical, cultural, economic and political ties between the United States of America and the vast African continent – hence the focus on perspectives for launching new forms of cooperation for the development of the continent in the areas of finances, investment, trade and security.
The summit features a vast program of official meetings among heads of state, as well as others with high-level US officials, African officials and representatives of international institutions, alongside other events of a technical, civic and cultural nature involving entrepreneurs, university students, NGOs and civil society groups. There is also a parallel program of activities for the First Ladies, with a conference on Women in Society featuring the participation of Michelle Obama and Laura Bush – the former the current US First Lady the latter the wife of former US President George W. Bush.
On Wednesday, August 6, the summit will be chaired by Barack Obama, who, in the presence of all of the African heads of state and leaders, will lay out the foundations for “Investing in Africa’s Future,” “Peace and Regional Security” and “Governing for the Next Generation.” With the choice of these themes, the United States is hoping to show its intention to cooperate and help African countries solve their increasingly complex security problems and create an environment that will allow African armies to protect their respective peoples.
Cape Verdean President Jorge Carlos Fonseca, speaking before departing for the summit, said he will reaffirm Cape Verde’s willingness to enhance and strengthen bilateral relations with the United States of America and, within a multilateral framework, with all peace- and freedom-loving peoples and countries for the general well-being of humanity. “Cape Verde and the United States of America should blaze paths of complementarity, seeking greater political and cultural exchange and a willingness to participate in the fulfillment of the legitimate aspirations of the two countries’ peoples.” Fonseca stressed the desire to deepen existing bilateral ties between Cape Verde and the United States, pointing to the example of cooperation with the United States Africa Command (Africom), which is responsible for military relations with 53 African countries.
“These relations can be better taken advantage of, keeping in mind the fact that Cape Verde and its Exclusive Economic Zone can turn into a buffer zone with regards to drug and human trafficking, given its location at the crossroads of the routes connecting Africa, Europe and South America,” stressed the Cape Verdean head of state. Prior to this, on August 5, a reception will be held in the Capitol Building, while a dinner at the White House will be offered by President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama on the evening of the 6th.
The Cape Verdean delegation to the summit is made up of the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Energy, Cape Verde’s ambassador to Washington, the Presidential Chief of Staff and other presidential staff members. The President will also use his stay in the United States for meetings with the Cape Verdean community residing in Washington, D.C., Boston and other points in New England.
The head of state also has meetings scheduled with the Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, state representatives of Cape Verdean origin Vinny de Macedo and Tony Cabral, Congressmen Joseph Kennedy, William Keating, Stephen Lynch and David Cicilline and the mayors of Boston, Brockton and New Bedford, among others.
Jorge Carlos Fonseca and his wife will visit the city of New Bedford, which is home to a large Cape Verdean community. There, they will be welcomed by the mayor and will be shown the Cape Verde Cultural Center, a young association that intends to use culture to promote activities facilitating the social integration of the Cape Verdean community in American society. They will also participate in a gala dinner in honor of late Cape Verdean sportsman Carlos Alhinho, the objective of which is to raise funds for a statue in the city of Mindelo, where Alhinho was born.
The schedule will also include a visit to Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a lunch with Cape Verdean and American academics at Bridgewater State University, well as meetings with officials from Microsoft and Cisco.