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August 01, 2012

Clinton: America Wants Sustainable Partnerships in Africa

by Anne Look

DAKAR, Senegal — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says America wants sustainable partnerships with African nations - as part of President Obama’s comprehensive strategy on sub-Saharan Africa. The top U.S. diplomat praised Senegal as a model democratic and economic partner.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton kicked off her 10-day tour of Africa Wednesday in Dakar.

"Africa," she said, "needs partnership, not patronage."

"Throughout my trip across Africa this week, I will be talking about what it means -- about a model of sustainable partnership that adds value, rather than extracts it. That’s America’s commitment to Africa," she said.

Clinton spoke at the Cheikh Ante Diop University following a meeting with Senegalese President Macky Sall..

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's speech in Dakar, Senegal

Sall was elected in March following deadly anti-government protests and a tightly contested election that gave way to a peaceful, democratic transition of power.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) gives a mosquito net for malaria prevention to a local woman during a tour of the Philippe Senghor Health Center in Dakar, Senegal, August 1, 2012.
​​Clinton lauds Senegal

Secretary Clinton praised Senegal as a "champion of democracy" and a "true partner and friend" of the United States.

"If anyone doubts whether democracy can flourish in African soil, let them come to Senegal. Americans admire Senegal as one of the only countries in West Africa never to have a military coup," Clinton said.

The applause continued as Clinton praised the effective grassroots mobilization before and during the presidential poll.

"We saw a handful of musicians and young activists sparking a mass movement with a simple slogan: “We’re Fed up.”  We saw diverse civil society organizations rallying together, registering and educating voters.  We saw students marching in the streets proclaiming, “My voting card is my weapon,” Clinton said.  

However, the secretary noted that two neighboring countries - Mali and Guinea-Bissau - demonstrate all the work that remains to be done on the continent. Both countries are struggling to return to constitutional order following military coups this year.

U.S. Secretary of State warns African leaders

Clinton said revolts in North Africa have shown that "the old ways of governing are no longer acceptable" and that leaders who hold on to power for their own personal enrichment are "on the wrong side of history."

"There are still too many places in this region and across the continent where democracy is threatened, where human rights are abused, where the rule of law is undermined. There are still too many Africans living under autocratic rulers who care more about preserving their grip on power than promoting the welfare of their citizens. Violent extremism, transnational crime, and rampant corruption all threaten democracy," Clinton said.

Secretary Clinton has a busy itinerary during the next 10 days, including stops in South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa.

It is her first African tour since the Obama administration unveiled its new Africa policy. The policy has four pillars: strengthening democratic institutions; spurring economic growth, trade and investment; advancing peace and security; and promoting development.

Advancing American partnership

MAP: Clinton's Africa Trip
​​Clinton said revolts in North Africa have shown that "the old ways of governing are no longer acceptable" and that leaders who hold on to power for their own personal enrichment are "on the wrong side of history."

"There are still too many places in this region and across the continent where democracy is threatened, where human rights are abused, where the rule of law is undermined. There are still too many Africans living under autocratic rulers who care more about preserving their grip on power than promoting the welfare of their citizens. Violent extremism, transnational crime, and rampant corruption all threaten democracy," Clinton said.

Secretary Clinton has a busy itinerary during the next 10 days, including stops in South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa.

It is her first African tour since the Obama administration unveiled its new Africa policy. The policy has four pillars: strengthening democratic institutions; spurring economic growth, trade and investment; advancing peace and security; and promoting development.

Africa is home to some of the world's fastest growing economies and populations and Clinton underscored why American partnership is in their long-term interest.

"This link between democracy and development is a defining element of the American model of partnership. … We want to add value to our partners, and we want to add value to people’s lives. So the United States will stand up for democracy and universal human rights even when it might be easier or more profitable to look the other way, to keep the resources flowing. Not every partner makes that choice, but we do and we will," Clinton said.

Clinton tied the concept of development firmly to democracy in what some analysts have suggested is America’s intention to try to counter China’s economic dominance in Africa.

Clinton called on American businesses to invest in Africa.

"We believe if you want to make a good investment in the midst of what is still a very difficult global economy, go to Africa. In Africa, you have seven of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. But too many business people around the world don't know that. So we're going to do more to try to make sure businesses and investors in the United States know about the opportunities in Senegal and elsewhere across Africa," Clinton said.  

Secretary Clinton travels next to Uganda - where the U.S. has provided military advisors to assist in wiping out the Lord’s Resistance Army -- which has been a destabilizing force in central Africa for more than two decades.

Watch related video of Clinton arriving in Dakar
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