President Obama Meets with Leaders of Nations Representing Africa’s Democratic Progress

The President Meets with Democratically Elect African Heads of State

President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press after meeting with democratically elected African heads of state, including, from left, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, President Boni Yayi of Benin, President Alpha Condé of Guinea, and President Alassane Ouattara of Cote D’Ivoire, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, July 29, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Today, President Obama welcomed President Yayi of Benin, President Conde of Guinea, President Issoufou of Niger, and President Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire to the White House. In the President's remarks he spoke about the four leaders' efforts to strengthen democracy in Africa:         

All these leaders were elected through free and fair elections.  They’ve shown extraordinary persistence in wanting to promote democracy in their countries despite significant risks to their own personal safety and despite enormous challenges, in some cases -- most recently in Côte d’Ivoire -- in actually implementing the results of these elections.

But because of their fortitude and because of the determination of their people to live in democratic, free societies, they have been able to arrive at a position of power that is supported by the legitimate will of their peoples.  And as such, they can serve as effective models for the continent.

These countries all underscore what I emphasized when I visited Ghana and gave a speech about Africa as a whole -- this is a moment of great opportunity and significant progress in Africa.  Politically, the majority of Sub-Saharan African countries are now embracing democracy.  Economically, Africa is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. 

 And we just had a very productive discussion where we discussed how we can build on both the political progress, the economic progress, and address the security challenges that can continue to confront Africa.  And I emphasized that the United States has been and will continue to be a stalwart partner with them in this process of democratization and development. 

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