ARUSHA, Tanzania (eTN) – Delegates from about 42 African countries and the United States have gathered here in Tanzania’s northern city of Arusha for the eighth Leon H. Sullivan Summit, which also attracted seven African presidents and the former Nigerian head of state Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo.
The five-day summit, taking place at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC), will focus on investment and development opportunities in Africa such as of tourism and infrastructure.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said the Sullivan summit was a platform on which Africans in their continent and those people of African origin in the Diaspora were to discuss issues of mutual interests.
African delegates came from Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, the Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Other delegates came from the Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, France, Germany, Jamaica and the United States to participate the summit, which bears the tagline, “The Summit of Life Time,” and first to be held in East Africa.
President Kikwete, who is the host of the summit, said he had accepted to host the eighth edition of the summit in East Africa for the first time not as a matter of courtesy but as a duty to a worthy cause.
US President George Bush appointed his delegation to represent the United States government to the Sullivan summit here in Tanzania. US Ambassador to Tanzania Mark Green was appointed the head of the US presidential delegation to the Sullivan summit.
Others in Bush delegation are the US Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, Overseas Private Investment Corporation executive vice president John A. Simon and former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael S. Steele, who is also the chairman of GOPAC.
The US delegation also comprised of the executive chairman of USADF, Edward Brehm, who is also the founder and chief executive officer and chairman of two insurance consulting companies based in Minnesota–the Brehm Group and Capstone Advisors.
Mr. Brehm has also been actively engaged in African development issues for more than a decade, as a private citizen and member of two US Congress delegations. His interest in Africa began in 1992, when he participated in a World Vision International tour of famine-affected areas of east Africa.
The other prominent US delegate to the summit is Melinda Marie Doolittle, a musical voice performer who won third place on the sixth season of popular-television show “American Idol.” She traveled to Zambia with First Lady Laura Bush in July 2007 to observe activities carried out under the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI).
Inaugurated in 1991, the Leon Sullivan Summit has been focusing on poverty elimination through development in various fields. All the previous seven summits were held in west and south African countries of Cote d’Ivoire (1991), Gabon (1993), Senegal (1995), Zimbabwe (1997), Ghana (1999) and Nigeria in 2003 and 2006 respectively.