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Obama trip should strengthen Africa ties

RE “US can’t take Africa for granted” (Op-ed, June 25):

Jason Warner is right — the United States cannot afford to ignore Africa. Given the booming opportunities for investment in key sectors, including energy, information and communications technology, infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare, and finance, President Obama’s trip to Africa can play a critical role to bolster economic engagement.

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Though this is a time of great hope and progress, key developments and political challenges remain for the continent. Africa’s pervasive health challenges, including inadequate health systems, which are exacerbated by the absence of energy access, continue to significantly limit economic growth and development. Across the continent, ongoing conflicts, including in Sudan and Congo, tarnish Africa’s image on the global arena.

President Obama should be commended for recommitting to the United States’ partnership with Africa. Now it’s time for Congress to act. Through a comprehensive and strategic framework that achieves social, political, and economic objectives, including an AIDS-free generation, we can ensure that America’s ongoing support for development and trade policies can benefit Africa — and America — for generations to come.

Barbara Lee

Washington, D.C.

The author represents California in Congress.

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