President Donald Trump congratulated the leaders of African nations Wednesday on the “business potential” of their countries, telling them that he has “so many friends” going to the continent “trying to get rich.”
The comment came in a speech during a working lunch with the leaders amid the United Nations General Assembly. The bulk of Trump’s remarks struck a positive tone on continental efforts to promote “prosperity and peace on a range of economic, humanitarian and security issues.”
“We hope to extend our economic partnerships with countries who are committed to self-reliance and to fostering opportunities for job creation in both Africa and the United States,” said the president.
“I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich. I congratulate you,” continued Trump, adding that Africa represented “huge amounts of different markets and for American firms.”
“It’s really become a place that they have to go, that they want to go,” he said.
Trump went on to acknowledge allies on the continent who partnered to fight the spread of terrorism in Africa and pledged the U.S. would continue to monitor violence in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He noted that U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley would travel to Africa to assist in resolving conflicts.