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Delaware Senator Holds 2nd Annual ‘Opportunity: Africa’ Conference

“On Monday, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons [D-Del.], chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, sponsored the second annual ‘Opportunity: Africa’ conference at Delaware State University,” World Politics Review reports, adding, “The senator’s remarks emphasized the need for the U.S. to recognize the metamorphosis of the continent.” The news service writes, “The conference’s wide-ranging agenda, with subjects ranging from doing business in Africa to security and hunger, reflected the senator’s conviction that U.S. policy toward Africa must better account for the interconnectedness of the issues facing the continent by integrating development, defense and diplomacy” (Chenet, 2/13).

“U.S. Rep. John Carney [D-Del.] and three ambassadors — Elkanah Odembo (Kenya), Somduth Soborun (Mauritius) and Eric Goosby [head of the State Department's Office of Global Health Diplomacy and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator] — were in attendance,” Delaware State University notes in an article on its webpage (2/13). “Kenyan Ambassador to the United States, Elkanah Odembo, spoke of the growth his country has seen as Kenya celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence” and “believes that the U.S. needs to continue its involvement in the continent as funding towards programs such as PEPFAR and the Global Fund has saved millions of lives,” the ONE Blog notes. “The conference’s second keynote speaker was our own Michael Gerson, senior ONE adviser,” according to the blog, which adds, “Gerson emphasized the importance of both the moral obligation to help Africa in its struggles but also the idea that Africa offers strategic benefits” (Wetzel, 2/13). A post in Coons’ official blog provides a slideshow of photos and Twitter posts from the conference (2/12).