It's going to be a busy three days in the nation's capital, as Washington plays host to 50 leaders from the continent of Africa.
The goals of the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit are clear: spur economic growth, foster investment, and encourage democratic development in these rapidly emerging markets.
"You’re the fastest growing economies in the world, and quite frankly the success of the rest of the world depends in part on your success," Vice President Joe Biden said Monday.
The gathering is the first of its kind; never before has the United States engaged with African leaders on such a broad scale to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties. Secretary of State John Kerry says it's time international leaders begin paying attention to some of the issues plaguing the continent.
"We all have a stake in this. This is not an African problem, this is everybody’s problem, and everybody’s challenge," Kerry said during a discussion Monday morning.
Kerry and Biden point to political corruption as one of the key factors leading to challenges in Africa. Addressing corruption would mean more open government, and more opportunities for trade. But it won't be easy.
"It stifles economic growth, and scares away investment," Biden said. "It siphons off resources that should be used to lift people out of poverty."
With recent scandals at the IRS and Department of Veterans Affairs, Biden notes even the United States grapples with issues of corruption.
"Corruption, as I’ve said, is not unique to Africa, but it’s a cancer. It’s a cancer in Africa as well as around the world," Biden said.
But for the administration, this summit isn't about problems, it's about finding solutions together.
"We’re prepared to go with you if you want us to," Biden said.
Monday afternoon, President Obama issued a memorandum calling on a collection of agencies to explore new opportunities for trade and development in Africa. That steering group will report back to the president within 180 days.