By Ajong Mbapndah L
Challenging but exciting, is how Mel Foote sums up 25 years of existence of the Constituency For Africa, one of the leading African advocacy organizations in Washington, DC. Commendable progress has been made and Africa’s standing in Washington, DC, continues to soar, said Mel Foote, President and CEO of the CFA in a phone interview ahead of festivities to mark the 25th anniversary of the Organization.
Mr Foote, a veteran with over thirty years on African issues, says much work was needed in the years ahead especially on building synergy within groups that articulate African issues. Speaking in discordant voices only makes things more difficult said Mr Foote as he signals intentions to devote more energy on building consensus within African themed groups in Washington, DC.
On its list of achievements, Mel Foote cites the significant role of the CFA in the formulation of signature initiatives like AGOA and the Young African Leaders Initiative –YALI. Though many may not understand it, Africa will reap tremendous progress as the YALI generation matures. These young people empowered by YALI will lead Africa politically, economically and academically down the line said Mr Foote. President Obama had his hands tied with the harsh economic realities that ushered in his administration but the focus on prepping the next generation of African leaders will be his biggest legacy on the African continent.
With a new administration set to take office in January, Mr Foote was reluctant to pick sides. There is no guarantee that a Hillary administration will necessarily augur well for Africa than a Trump Administration said Mr Foote. Using the example of the Bush Administration, Mr Foote said it came as a surprise that it paid so much attention on African issues. Policy proposals formulated by the CFA will be available for the Administration that emerges after the November elections irrespective of party coloration said Mr Foote.
In addition to good will messages from the African Union and other organizations that have been received by the CFA, the 25th anniversary celebrations will be graced by the presence of high profile political and business leaders from the US and Africa including Namibian President Hage Geingob