US President Barack Obama unveils US Africa strategy

 
US President Barack Obama sits with Ghana President John Atta Mills, right, and President Yayi Boni of Benin during a luncheon on food security at the G8 Summit in May 2012 Mr Obama's strategy is partly aimed at encouraging the US and Africans to do business together

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The White House has announced a new US strategy for sub-Saharan Africa, which focuses on the continent's economic potential.

It also explores issues related to democracy, security and development.

President Barack Obama said African democracy had improved but corruption was endemic in many countries and state institutions were weak.

The strategy comes as China's presence on the continent continues to grow through investment and trade.

Mr Obama said he would work with Congress to develop preferential trade agreements with African countries, while fighting al-Qaeda and its affiliates on the continent.

"As we look toward the future, it is clear that Africa is more important than ever to the security and prosperity of the international community, and to the United States in particular," said Mr Obama, the US-born son of a Kenyan man.

Exchanging entrepreneurs

The White House said its new Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa provides "a proactive and forward looking vision grounded in partnership".

A bid to increase trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa is among its aims.

Start Quote

Africa offers the highest rate of return on foreign direct investment of any developing region in the world”

End Quote Hillary Clinton US secretary of state

The US administration is reaching out to entrepreneurs through exchange programmes. It will try to match US and Africa companies for business opportunities.

The strategy is the result of four months of work, during which advisers looked at how to address the challenges the continent faces from famine to instability as well as the continent's economic potential.

The BBC's Kim Ghattas in Washington says the strategy is partly aimed at encouraging the US and Africans to do business together.

Our correspondent says this approach could also provide an opportunity to help revive the flagging economy in the US.

The announcement indicates a renewed focus on Africa, but as the plan is short on detail for now it is unclear how the strategy differs from what the administration has been doing so far, she says.

Some African countries already enjoy trade preferences with the US - through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) - on the condition they uphold free elections and markets.

At an Agoa forum in Washington on Thursday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Africa was the "land of opportunity".

"I want all of my fellow American citizens, particularly our business community, to hear this: Africa offers the highest rate of return on foreign direct investment of any developing region in the world," AFP news agency quotes her as saying.

Last month, Mr Obama announced a $3bn (£1.9bn) plan to boost food security and farm productivity in Africa.

US officials said that initiative was aimed at alleviating shortages as world food supplies are being stretched by rising demand in Asia's emerging markets.

 

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 22.

    Africa has potential. It suffers from corruption, tribalism, and in some cases archaic ways. The U.S, and for that matter the U.K should look at this from a business perspective and rent out civil servants, architects, and infrastructure developers. Only then can the private sector go forth and mess it all back up again!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 21.

    Sad poor exploited gobbled up Africa never belonging to it's own and in the minds of the worlds people a world of reasons not belonging to reality is being used to define it.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 20.

    Dear lovely moderator(s),thanks for removing my comment. I hate people like you how are afraid of the truth. Anyway good job for removing my comment.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 19.

    Bush did more than Obama will ever do and no doubt, Obama will take credit for what Bush did. He needs the votes just like he is doing with the ILLEGALS. He needs their relatives votes so he does a run around Congress to get those votes and guess what? The stupid Americans fall for this crap EVERY single time

  • rate this
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    Comment number 18.

    What a ruse. Obama isn't trying to "help" Africa, he's trying to help control it for U.S. interests. The U.S. military has been involved in at least 24 African countries since 2011. http://usinafrica.com

  • rate this
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    Comment number 17.

    Almost to the end of his current administration (before the U.S. Elections); he is announcing this newest policies towards Africa. I think that Former Presidents George W. Bush (son) and Bill Clinton did more in Africa...

    Obama, you should've done more 3 years ago, when you're policies would've been effective!

    -Dennis-

  • rate this
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    Comment number 16.

    Last month, Mr Obama announced $3B plan to boost food security & farm productivity in Africa. US officials said initiative was aimed at alleviating shortages.
    Obama could have done something far more vital if he had stopped hedge funds from betting on commodities; this speculation raises prices throughout the world, but especially in Africa. Surely Obama is aware of this.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 15.

    George W Bush did more for Africa than any other western leader, without any strings attached. The positives effects of his care for Africa are still widely evident throughout the continent.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 13.

    Odd how nobody pays attention to Africa until a rival power makes an inroad then suddenly Africa is on the map. That unhappy continent is yet to see its worse turmoil as foreign powers begin backing opposing factions for gets to control resources. The innocent always pay the cost in geopolitical chess not of their making.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 12.

    Strategy talks about leaders who undermine human rights & strong, democratic institutions which is good. However, the strategy fails to address the challenges from Islamists who want to introduce Sharia law, often through violence. ECHR has ruled Sharia is incompatible with democracy & human rights and Islamists threaten Mali, Nigeria & many other states. In that respect it is a failure.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 11.

    Barack prefers war in nations like Somalia. He will not succeed with negotiating trade agreements. The American Electorate should send him to defeat on November 6.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 9.

    Scramble for Africa Mark II. The Great Game continues. Let's hope our politicians in the UK and Europe have to foresight to jump on board too - wouldn't want to miss out.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 8.

    Let's not fool ourselves. Countries have interests not friends. The US or any country don't care about Africa unless their interest is at stake. African leaders and Africans in diaspora need to stop the West from exploiting them and start leveraging their vast resources. Perhaps take a cue from Israel which receive more in US foreign aid than all African countries the rest of world combined.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 7.

    Obama is out of touch with African Culture. Don't give us grain. Corruption will consume it. Pressure on liberal political "correct" dictators is what we need. Fair opportunities to trade, genocide acknowledgement towards minority groups in multicultural situations, is needed. Rainbow nations do not work! What does Obama want from Sub Saharan Africa in return for his generosity?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 6.

    This is real interesting! what i see what the western and china are doing in Africa is just the scrabble for Our natural resources and not any Agenda to develop African continent.America and other developed countries has been promoting corruption and bad governance of African government through their companies which are main doing business in Africa claiming as Foreign Direct Investment.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    I believe that Republican Presidents have done better for Africa than their Democrats counterparts, (Clinton is the only exception). Obama did not do as much as Bush jnr for Africa. Hence I am more likely to trust Romney than Obama to adopt good policies towards Africa. I must add though that as a Christian, I do not trust either candidates to adopt policies that are biblical.

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    Comment number 4.

    I think as the world grows and we all start to look towards the same goals in the future (prosperity, growth, ultimately a pleasant and happy way of life with no conflicts) we need to start to integrate many cultures and communities across the globe and help each other as much as possible. I think if we all did this we would be a richer happier race of humans rather than a squabble of nations.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 3.

    China never thought goodness for any African country that is the reason they always support ruthless and dictator leader.They are hungry lions who ready to destory any living image at his sights,that was the reason you ca never see china talk about democracy or any related development like western counterparts,luckily for them we have the most foolish at helm of affair .

 

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