U.S. Ambassadors ‘Bike Across Borders’ in Zambia and Zimbabwe

Tourism is one of the great drivers of economic growth worldwide.  According to the U.S. Travel Association, the average international tourist in the United States spends $4,300, and those tourist dollars directly support 1.2 million jobs.  Tourism is also a big growth sector in sub-Saharan Africa.  Contributing 94.3 billion dollars to the region’s economy in 2012, travel and tourism as a part of the region’s GDP is expected to increase by 5.1 percent over the next 10 years through much needed economic expansion and job creation.  If managed with foresight and attention, travel and tourism will promote wildlife conservation, local handicraft skills, and cultural preservation. MORE

Building Consensus in Support of a Global, Inclusive, Free, and Open Internet

Next week, the United States will join the Member States of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) at the fifth World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF) in Geneva.  The U.S. comes to Geneva expecting a consensus outcome to the discussions there but also to renew our commitment to understanding the needs and challenges some countries have with respect to the Internet. MORE

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea Yun Byung-se after their meeting at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on April 2, 2013.

Food Security and Minimizing Postharvest Loss

Soybeans are harvested on a farm near Pergamino, Argentina, July 14, 2012. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Jose W. Fernandez serves as Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

On February 19, the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs along with the Office of Global Food Security and the Foreign Service Institute will host the conference “Food Security and Minimizing Postharvest Loss.” Government officials, representatives from the private sector, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and foreign diplomatic corps will discuss the issue of postharvest loss, focusing on Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

Postharvest loss is collective food loss along the production chain, from harvest and handling to storage and processing to packing and transportation.… more »

At DataJam, Innovators and Entrepreneurs Unleash Open Data for Global Development

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park discuss the impact of open data in the field of global development during DataJam at the White House in Washington, D.C. on December 10, 2012. [USAID Photo/ Used by Permission]

About the Author: Dr. Rajiv Shah serves as Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Todd Park serves as Assistant to the President and U.S. Chief Technology Officer.

A remarkable new tool is becoming increasingly available to help end extreme poverty and ensure dignity and opportunity for people around the world — a tool that few people think about when they consider how to bolster international development efforts. That tool is data, and in particular “open data" — data freely available in formats that are easy to use in new and innovative ways, while rigorously protecting privacy.

The possibilities are truly endless — it could be regional epidemiological statistics being made available to community health workers; or real-time weather information being made available to small-holder farmers; or loan information being made accessible to first-time borrowers. In these and countless other arenas, open data has the potential to not only improve transparency and coordination,… more »

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Presents the Small/Medium Enterprise winner of the 2012 ACE Award to Tea Importers, Inc., for Sorwate, Ltd. Rwanda in Washington, D.C. on November 28, 2012. [Go to http://www.state.gov/e/eb/rls/rm/2012/202347.htm for a full text transcript.]

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton presents the 2012 ACE Large Enterprise award to Intel Products, Vietnam, in Washington, D.C. on November 28, 2012. Go to http://www.state.gov/e/eb/rls/rm/2012/202348.htm for a full text transcript.

Ensuring Diamonds Are Truly Conflict Free

Miners pan for diamonds near Koidu in northeastern Sierra Leone near the Guinean border, June 2004. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Jose W. Fernandez serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs.

U.S. Kimberley Process Chair Ambassador Gillian A. Milovanovic and the rest of the U.S. Kimberley Process (KP) team achieved a significant number of successes during the annual KP Plenary, November 27-30, 2012, which took place at the Department of State, in Washington, D.C. On January 1, South Africa will take over from the United States as Chair as the KP marks its 10th anniversary. The Kimberley Process is a voluntary effort to prevent diamonds that fuel rebel movements’ activities from entering into the global supply chain, thereby creating confidence in an industry that supports millions of workers in mining, cutting and polishing, wholesale, and retail trade. The KP includes 80 countries, as well as observers… more »

Maintaining an Open, Consumer-Driven, and Multi-Stakeholder Approach to Telecommunications

In this Nov. 8, 2011, file photo, a man holds a mobile phone in Berlin. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Ambassador Terry Kramer serves as U.S. Head of Delegation, World Conference on International Telecommunications.

As never before in human history, we take for granted the ability to communicate across borders, oceans, and continents. Mobile technology and Internet connectivity are woven into the daily life of most Americans, and have created new avenues for connection, interaction, sharing, and understanding. Meanwhile, the pace of evolution and innovation in mobile and Internet technology ensures an ever-changing, ever-expanding communications landscape.

That landscape extends across the globe, and while not all corners of the world have come to enjoy the full benefits of the Internet age yet, the global expansion of those benefits is gaining speed. The number of Internet users in Africa, for example, is growing by more than 30 percent per year, and mobile broadband services in developing countries grew by nearly 80 percent in 2011 alone.

Consider for just a moment… more »

Delivering on the Promise of Economic Statecraft

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Singapore Management University
November 17, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much. Thank you, President De Meyer, for welcoming all of us here to SMU. Thank you, Ambassador Adelman, for your exemplary service here in Singapore, strengthening and deepening the already very strong relationship between our two countries. Thank you also for the Minister of State and the Minister for Education and the Speaker of the Parliament for being here with us. And thanks to the American Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. ASEAN business council for helping to cosponsor this event.

It has been three years since I was last here with President Obama, when we came for our first APEC meeting. And that trip helped launch what has been called our pivot to the Asia Pacific. As Secretary of State, I have visited the region many times. And I was just in Australia with Secretary of Defense Panetta for our annual AUSMIN consultations with our Australian counterparts. Tomorrow I will join President Obama in Thailand. And then we will go together to Burma and on to Cambodia for the East Asia Summit.

Now, I think one of the questions that may be on your and others’ minds is: “Why is the American President spending all this time in Asia so soon after winning re-election?” Well, the answer for us is very simple. Because so much of the history of the 21st century will be, is being, written in this region. America’s expanded engagement represents our commitment to help shape that shared future. The strategic and security dimensions of our efforts are well known. But the untold story that is just as important is our economic engagement. Because it is clear that not only in the Asia Pacific but across the world, increasingly, economics are shaping the strategic landscape. Emerging powers are putting economics at the center of their foreign policies, and they are gaining clout less because of their size of their armies than because of the growth of their GDP.

For the first time in modern history, nations are becoming major global powers without also becoming global military powers. So, to maintain our strategic leadership in the region, the United States is also strengthening our economic leadership. And we know very well that America’s economic strength at home and our leadership around the world are a package deal. Each reinforces and requires the other.

I must say this is a lesson that Singapore learned long ago. Today the non-stop flow of people, goods, and capital through this small nation is proof that a country does not need to be big to be mighty, to be respected, to be a real leader. Every country wants to do business in Singapore, so every country has a stake in cultivating good relationships with Singapore. With only 1/60 of the population of the United States, Singapore is our 15th largest trading partner. More than 2,000 American companies base their regional headquarters here. Two-way trade exceeded $50 billion for the first time last year. And U.S. direct investment surpassed $116 billion over the last decade. That makes Singapore’s security and stability a vital interest for the United States. This connection between economic power and global influence explains why the United States is placing economics at the heart of our own foreign policy. I call it economic statecraft.

Now, these ideas are hardly new. After all, it was Harry Truman who said our relations, foreign and economic, are indivisible. But today that carries renewed urgency. Last year I laid out America’s economic statecraft agenda in a series of speeches in Washington, Hong Kong, San Francisco, and New York. Since then, we have turned this vision into action in four key areas: first, updating our foreign policy priorities to take economics more into account; second, turning to economic solutions for strategic challenges; third, stepping up commercial diplomacy — what I like to call jobs diplomacy — to boost U.S. exports, open new markets, and level the playing field for our businesses; and fourth, building the diplomatic capacity to execute this ambitious agenda. MORE.