Bringing together nearly 50 leaders from across the African continent, it is being hailed by the White House as "the largest event any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government."
"We chose to do this summit to send a very clear signal that we are elevating our engagement with Africa. We see enormous opportunities in Africa as it continues to advance its own economic development and continues to develop its capabilities as African countries continue to develop their capabilities as security partners of the United States and as democratic partners of the United States."
The theme of the three-day summit is "Investing in the Next Generation."
That future-oriented view reflects, said Rhodes, "our focus on African capacity-building and integrating Africa into the global economy and security order."
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry convened the "Civil Society Forum" at the National Academy of Sciences to discuss the role of civil society in Africa. In his opening remarks, Kerry emphasized that the Summit seeks to support the "empowerment of people, through their government, through their civil society" and noted that "we need to invest in relationships with not just those who are in charge today, but those who are pushing for change."
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman hosted an African Growth and Opportunity Act Ministerial at the World Bank on Monday in order for the U.S. and African trade officials to discuss the AGOA program and plans to renew the legislation.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host a U.S.-Africa Business Forum at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.