The Economist's Matthew Bishop described this as 'an incredibly important week' for Africa. The biggest ever summit between the US president and African leaders concluded on Wednesday (August 6, 2014) in Washington DC. During the summit, President Barack Obama announced $33 billion in new investment and trade with Africa.
President George W Bush significantly grew aid to Africa relative to his predecessors, though sometimes controversially, particularly in relation to AIDS prevention. The Obama administration has continued to provide significant funds to tackle global health issues, including new health funding announced Monday (August 4).
However, there have been distinctive policies under the current administration. For example, there appears to have been a significant shift towards focusing on trade and direct investment with Africa, mirroring the shifts that have occurred in government policy in several other countries, such as Ireland and the UK. This week's US-Africa summit is important as a symbolic statement as it is practically. It recognises the continent's emerging economic power and potential over the last 15 years. The summit may be seen as an important part of the Obama administration's Africa legacy, as will its handling of the Arab Spring.
The US has also been heavily involved in the process which led to independence for South Sudan.