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We respectfully call on the United States Government to ensure that African civil society is afforded the opportunity to officially participate in the U.S-Africa Leaders Summit.


Dear Mr. President,

We believe that the US-Africa Leaders Summit, which will take place in Washington, DC from August 4–6, is an unprecedented opportunity to fulfill your administration’s commitment to the promotion of good governance and the respect for human rights. We understand that priority at the summit will be given to strengthening trade and investment, as well as to efforts to increase security and combat extremism. Just as important, the summit offers the chance for you to stand with those individuals who advance the cause of human rights across Africa, often at great personal sacrifice. 

Many African and international organizations have expressed concern that the summit will neglect the foundational issues of governance and human rights that prevent ordinary Africans from living with dignity.  Ignoring these issues often leads to the proliferation of extremist groups, social instability, corruption, and systemic underdevelopment. A crucial component to combating these ongoing concerns and to achieving broad-based human development is to ensure the meaningful participation and involvement of all stakeholders, including government and civil society.

For leaders of the United States and Africa to sustain and expand inclusive development as well as promote peace and security, civil society must play a meaningful role.  We respectfully call on you to ensure that African civil society is afforded the opportunity to officially participate in the summit proceedings and use this opportunity to highlight the important contributions civil society is making in Africa. In doing so, you will send a strong and unequivocal message to the world that the United States considers these independent voices to be a vital partner for development. We firmly believe that civil society actors and human rights defenders are equal stakeholders in shaping Africa’s future, and thus, should be treated as such at the summit.

We thank you very much for your thoughtful consideration of our concerns and our request for official civil society participation in the US-Africa Leaders Summit. We wish you the best of luck for what we hope is the first of many more productive gatherings between the U.S. and African heads of state.



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