President Donald Trump told a gathering of African leaders at the United Nations on Wednesday that the continent’s tremendous business potential has attracted many of his friends, who are “trying to get rich.”
He emphasised on economic opportunities that Africa offers and that it is working to optimise.
“For American firms, it’s really become a place that they have to go — that they want to go,” he said.
He was addressing a luncheon at Palace Hotel attended by African leaders from Uganda, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa.
The luncheon took place on the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly.
President Trump also expressed hope that African firms will invest in the US.
He referred specifically to Sasol, a South African energy company that, he noted, is building a $9 billion petrochemical plant in the state of Louisiana.
He said the project will create employment for Americans.
Mr Trump also affirmed US support for health initiatives, humanitarian assistance, and efforts to promote security in countries such as South Sudan and Somalia.
In his first extensive comments on Africa since becoming president in January, Mr Trump made reference to a country — “Nambia” — that does not exist.
“Uganda has made incredible strides in the battle against HIV/Aids,” President Trump said. “Nambia’s [sic] health system is increasingly self-sufficient,” he added.
The US President cited conflicts in some African countries which he termed as “very, very tough and very dangerous” situations.
He said instabilities in these are countries are caused by Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and Isis.
“The United States is proud to work with you to eradicate terrorist safe havens, to cut off their finances, and to discredit their depraved ideology. And a number of you have told me — actually, last night — that we’ve been doing a very good job over the last six or seven months in particular,” he said.
Mr Trump also commended the work of African forces striving to combat terrorism and secure peace saying the troops are brave.
“Millions of lives are at risk, and we continue to provide humanitarian assistance. But real results in halting this catastrophe will require an African-led peace process and a sincere, really sincere, commitment of all parties involved,” he said.