On Thursday, April 25, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto will hold a Facebook chat to discuss U.S. foreign policy and Africa. Support for democracy and the strengthening of democratic institutions — including free, fair, and transparent elections — are among the pillars that serve as the foundation of U.S. policy toward Africa.
Zimbabwe held a referendum on its new constitution on Saturday, March 16, paving the way for presidential elections later this year. Zimbabwe’s last elections in 2008 were marred by political violence and this referendum vote was the unity government’s first opportunity to signal whether Zimbabwe’s people will have the opportunity…more »
About the Author: Patricia M. Haslach serves as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.
On the day after Christmas in 1982, the first shots were fired in Senegal’s Casamance rebellion. Thirty years later, the insurgency continues, making it one of the world’s longest-running conflicts. On Thursday, March 28, President Obama sat down with Senegalese President Macky Sall to discuss democracy, economic growth, and this conflict.
Thanks largely to President Sall’s leadership, there is a chance that this will be their last conversation on the conflict. After his election last spring, the president immediately opened the door to negotiations with the Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance (MFDC), the insurgency rebel group. The State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs,… more »
About the Author: Stuart Crampton serves as an Anti-Corruption Advisor in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ Office of Anti-Crime Programs.
Corruption in parts of Africa is deeply entrenched and many citizens view it as uncontrollable. I knew my mission would be challenging when I traveled to Accra, Ghana to participate in a five-day workshop to help advance the fight against corruption. I also knew, however, that there are fearless activists across the continent who are rising up with more determination than ever to fight corruption. These are the people I would have the honor to work with and learn from during my visit.
The U.S. Government, in partnership with the Government of Ghana, sponsored the workshop which took place on March 11-15. This workshop offered training for more than 30 law enforcement officials from five countries—Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia, and Tanzania—on subjects like how to more effectively investigate and prosecute allegations of public corruption and pursue the recovery… more »
President Obama Meets with Leaders of Sierra Leone, Senegal, Malawi, and Cape Verde
About the Author: Grant T. Harris currently serves as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs on the National Security Staff of the White House.
Today, President Obama welcomed President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Joyce Banda of Malawi, and Prime Minister Jose Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde to the White House. The United States has strong partnerships with these countries based on shared democratic values and shared interests. Each of these leaders has undertaken significant efforts to strengthen democratic institutions, protect and expand human rights and civil liberties, and increase economic opportunities for their people.
President Obama and the visiting leaders discussed how the United States can expand our partnership to support their efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and promote economic opportunity, both in their countries and across sub-Saharan Africa. A particular focus of the conversation was on the importance of transparency and respect… more »
Most of us in the United States don’t think twice when we turn on a light to work late into the night or cook dinner without inhaling dangerous smoke. Yet, these everyday tasks are still out of reach for the estimated 1.3 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity, and the estimated 2.7 billion people without access to clean cooking facilities — 95 percent of whom are in either sub-Saharan Africa or Asia.
As I noted in my recent remarks at the Brookings Institution, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the DRC, deserves a much higher place on the world’s foreign policy priorities list. Conflict in the DRC has resulted in more than five million deaths since 1998. No other conflict or act of violence since World War II has come anywhere close to taking so many lives. Eastern DRC’s chronic instability also negatively impacts the security, political, economic, and development goals of the country’s nine neighbors. This is one of the reasons why it is imperative for the United States and the international community to work with the DRC and other regional partners to break this cycle of death and suffering and address the consequences of this violence.
Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs Johnnie Carson delivers remarks on finding a lasting solution to instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. on February 12, 2013. A text transcript can be found at http://www.state.gov/p/af/rls/rm/2013/204511.htm
After more than 40 years of experience in Africa — and the ebbs and flows of hope and conflict — I’ve become ever more optimistic about Africa’s future. As those of you who know me are aware, I like to base my conclusions on analysis and factual observations. Here, too, my optimism is grounded in real developments: expanded democracy, rapid economic growth, and greater security and opportunities for Africa’s people. It’s now realistic to think that the 21st century will not only be shaped in Beijing and Washington, but also in Pretoria, Abuja, Nairobi, and Addis Ababa.
In my January 16 remarks at the Wilson Center, I elaborated about this optimism and the Obama Administration’s policies in Africa. Somalia and South Sudan are two places where no one previously believed… more »
About the Author: Gene A. Cretz serves as U.S. Ambassador to Ghana.
A new year means new challenges and new opportunities. In my corner of West Africa, both were on display this week. On Monday, January 7, as I drove through the red, yellow, and green clad streets of Accra towards Independence Square, I reflected on how privileged I was to witness history in the making as Ghana’s fourth president of the Fourth Republic was on his way to the Square to be sworn in, after successfully concluding a hard-fought political campaign. Unfortunately, my previous diplomatic postings did not afford me an opportunity to see a peaceful assumption of power after a democratic election.
Witnessing the on-time arrival of dignitaries and convening of the new Parliament alongside a stage full of political leaders from across Africa and notably, Ghana’s former presidents John Kuffour, Jerry Rawlings and former Secretary General Kofi Annan was an unforgettable… more »
Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs Johnnie Carson Testifies on “The Evolving Security Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Implications for U.S. National Security” before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C. on December 20, 2012. [Go to http://www.state.gov/p/af/rls/rm/2012/202276.htm for as-prepared remarks.]