Obama lauds Africa’s potential, women and youths

President Obama addressing the Sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya

President Obama addressing the Sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya

US President Barack Obama has reiterated his government’s commitment to help women entrepreneurs around the world and particularly on the African continent because women “are powerhouse entrepreneurs”

Obama said research shows that when women entrepreneurs succeed they drive economic growth, help their families and communities grow through investments.

President Obama, who is on a three day visit to Kenya said his government and partners have already helped establish 1,600 women entrepreneurs network across the African Continent and they are launching three women’s entrepreneurial centres in Africa.

The centres will be setup in Zambia, Kenya, and Mali, Obama announced at the opening of the Sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.

Obama also announced his government is setting aside $100 million to help 10,000 women run initiatives around the world through a Goldman Sachs program.

Africa is on the move

In his remarks at the high profile entrepreneurship summit in Nairobi, the US president, whose father was born in Kenya, said “I wanted to be here because Africa is on the move.”

Obama exalted the fact that “Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, people are being lifted out of poverty, incomes are up, the middle class is growing and young people like you are harnessing technology to change way Africa is doing business”

He stressed Africa’s growth is fueling global growth, trade, incomes and opportunities and appealed to Africa’s entrepreneurs and Western investors to keep driving Africa to greater heights.

“This continent needs to be a future hub of global growth not just African growth,” Obama said

Obama took an opportunity to laud Kenya’s entrepreneurship and innovation leadership.

He singled out M-Pesa money transfer and microfinance service, Ushahidi information crowd sourcing company, both global companies founded by Kenyans.

The Sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit is being attended by more than 400 delegates, mostly youths and women. Obama brought with him American investors and legislators with interest in US-Africa partnership.

The Obama-led initiative has mobilized more than $1 billion dollars to help fund new entrepreneurial projects, mostly women and youth-run around the globe.

Jay Ireland, the President and CEO General Electric –Africa, one of President Obama’s advisors on “Doing Business in Africa” thinks Obama’s decision to come to Kenya and Africa is an indication the continent is full of promise.

He told the BBC the US will do all it can to compete with China in Africa as they help Africans develop infrastructure and skills.

According to Kenya’s Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, Obama’s initiative toward the youths and entrepreneurship are in lining with the Kenyan government’s education policy that encourages “self-employment and job creation”