The United States needs to forge investments in Africa, Former President Bill Clinton explained Tuesday, moderating a U.S.-Africa Summit panel titled “Expanding Opportunities: The New Era For Business In Africa”
“I think the United States and its business community need this relationship as much or more as Africa and its business community,” he said. “This is a very important part of our future.”
Clinton pointed to Ashish J. Thakkar — the founder and managing director of Mara Group who introduced Clinton’s panel and described his personal story as a refugee from genocide and teenage school drop who was able to start his own company — as a highlight of the morning.
“I thought of all the people who were driven out of Uganda. And the amazing stories so many of them have made. It reinforced something that we shouldn’t forget here. Intelligence, dreams and the willingness to work are evenly distributed throughout the world. Investment opportunities and systems that reward smart behavior are not. That’s really what this is about,” Clinton said.
“All of us are being given a chance to either do our work, like the Gates Foundation and I do or to make a lot of money out of the fact that this gap has occurred, which should now be closed,” he continued.
Clinton stress the importance of Thakkar’s story to show the need for more opportunity on the continent.
“We want to create the African home as a place of opportunity for Africans and for those who want to work with them,” he said.
Clinton noted early on in the panel, that the summit was something that “we should have done long ago.”
President Obama is scheduled to address the U.S.-Africa Summit in Washington, D.C. later in the day Tuesday.