President Obama pledged $7 billion in aid today to provide electricity to sub-Saharan Africa, as he warned Africans to be wary of exploitation by other countries, including the United States.
“I’m calling for America to up our game when it comes to Africa,” Mr. Obama said in a speech at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, midway through his weeklong tour of the continent. “We want to unleash the power of entrepreneurship and markets to create opportunity here in Africa.”
Funds from the electricity initiative, dubbed Power Africa, will be distributed over the next five years to six countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania. Mr. Obama said the U.S. wants to help Africa without interfering, as colonial powers did in the past.
“You will always find the extended hand of a friend in the United States of America,” he said.
But on his three-nation tour, the president also has been warning Africans not to automatically trust foreign powers offering help, including the U.S.
“When we look at what other countries are doing in Africa, I think our only advice is make sure it’s a good deal for Africa,” Mr. Obama told reporters in Johannesburg. “If somebody says they want to come build something here, are they hiring African workers? If somebody says that they want to help you develop your natural resources, how much of the money is staying in Africa? … Don’t just assume that folks come here and they’re automatically benefiting Africans. And that includes the United States. Ask questions in terms of what we do.”
Read more: The Washington Times