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  • U.S. Policy in Africa: Long on Promise, Short on Performance

    US assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson

    On April 5, in a speech at Harvard University Secretary of State Clinton’s lead diplomat for Africa Johnnie Carson outlined policy guidelines for sub-Saharan Africa.

    Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Carson is a seasoned, three-time ambassador to Africa with an illustrious career as a diplomat and an analyst of African affairs.   His speech stressed the importance of strengthening African governments and institutions, promoting economic progress, addressing health challenges, preventing and resolving conflicts, and meeting transnational challenges from climate change to drug trafficking.  In short, Carson followed the familiar, consensus-based road map drawn-up by previous Administrations.

    Yet, Ambassador Carson failed to mention Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, “genocide” in Darfur,  Sudan’s fragile elections process, the case of Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir before the International Criminal Court, the presence of Islamist extremists Shabab and its linkage with the al-Qaeda in  Somalia, or the ongoing maritime challenge of Somalia piracy.  The Carson policy speech lifted goalposts, but revealed nothing of a genuine game plan.

    The Carson’s speech failed to bridge the persistent gap between modest if well-intentioned actions by the Obama Administration and tough, often intractable, challenges faced in the conflictive and uncertain arena of many African states that have either failed as nations or preserve only the most tenuous capacity to govern.  He said little about the need for hardball diplomacy, multilateralism with teeth, and the use of military and intelligence assets in the region.

    There is little doubt that the future of sub-Saharan Africa hinges essentially on the will African people to overcome tribal, religious, and social divisions in order to advance within a framework of democracy, free markets, rule of law, and stable national security.

    One critical benchmark largely missing in the current policy for Africa is the importance of economic freedom.  Sub-Saharan African places just one country (Mauritius) in the top 20 and twelve in the top 100 in the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, the Heritage Foundation’s data-riven annual policy guide.

    Likewise, Assistant Secretary Carson failed to mention that  one of the greatest steps the U.S. can take to assist Africa is the lowering or removal of U.S. agricultural subsidies in order to open the door for more African agricultural imports and for real rural growth in Africa needed to lift millions out of poverty.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    One Response to U.S. Policy in Africa: Long on Promise, Short on Performance

    1. Mabasa Nhekairo, Atl says:

      "The Carson policy speech lifted goalposts, but revealed nothing of a genuine game plan".

      Could you please kindly share what the "game plan" should be?

    2. ron terry australia says:

      your link to 'robert mugabe' doesn't work.

    3. Sahasrabudhe Anand S says:

      Dear Nobel Winner Obama Barck splendidly take the moves to reduce criminalogy tendency, in my word called it as "Settlement of The Criminals" not by blood war but by psychological war indeedly enhacement of the social and financial status of these Laden ,Rajan,Daud Ibrahim Kaskar,Attarwala,Don Harris,Talibans mostly have underground bank accounts in Burkina Faso African Bank .Because Africa is better country for the criminals.Criminlogy tendency cannot be reduced by Blood War but only way applying Criminal theory suitable.Lasttime I have done request to International Justice court for the relaxation process .Actually My work is for Nobel Achievement for myself and Ho norable George Bush as well .So movement is beneficial for the settlement of Africa and African have better attitude towards America .Our task is the reduction in poverty mostly in India,Africa and America .And Criminology and peace are important factors lies behind these task .

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