News / Africa

Assessing Obama’s Africa Policy, Looking at 2012 and Beyond

Mwangi Kimenyi of the Brookings Institution says if re-elected, Obama should encourage more U.S. trade and investment with Africa

Obama, Congress, vote, Dec 23, 2011
Obama, Congress, vote, Dec 23, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to Butty interview with Mwangi Kimenyi of Brookings

James Butty

The Washington-based Brookings Institution said Africa, to benefit from development opportunities in 2012, must prioritize regional integration efforts and manage a growing youth population.

The public policy organization said the continent will have to increase the profile of organizations, such as the African Union, to sustain advancements in public health and increase the African voice in global governance.

Wednesday, the group’s Africa Growth Initiative hosts a discussion to identify top priorities for Africa for the coming year and beyond.

Senior Fellow Mwangi Kimenyi, director of the Africa Growth Initiative, said, if re-elected in November, President Barack Obama must take a pro-active policy position that encourages more engagement with Africa.

“What we are seeing is sort of what we may call a decline of the United States in Africa because it is being edged out slowly by China, Brazil, Russia, and others.  And so, we would like to see President Obama take a very pro-active policy position with regards to Africa,” he said.

Kimenyi said Obama, in his first term, maintained funding for programs initiated and promoted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, including HIV and AIDS treatment and research funding.

He also said while the president introduced his own initiatives, such as the Feed the Future program and the Global Climate Initiative, such initiatives are small in scale and scope.

In a recent opinion article in the British Guardian newspaper, Kimenyi argued that, if Obama is re-elected, he should advocate for more U.S. investment in Africa.

He said US and African economies would benefit by prioritizing trade and investment over foreign aid.

“I have to say that the president has done well in terms of programs like food and health.  But, what Africa needs is economic growth.  Africa needs to create jobs and get out of this idea of dependence, and we think that the best way to do that is through investment,” Kimenyi said.

He said, while aid is important, partnerships based on trade, investment, and joint ventures are much more important.

Kimenyi said the US must do more to combat what he calls its declining commercial relationship in Africa and China’s growing influence.

“The US has been a partner in Africa in terms of investment and development programs.  But, when you compare what has happened in the last five to ten years, what you see is that China has literally invaded Africa in all aspects. So, if you compare China’s rise in Africa in terms of involvement, you find that actually the United States’ influence in Africa, particularly commercial relations, is declining,” he said.

Obama visited Egypt and Ghana soon after he was elected in 2008.  Kimenyi said, if re-elected, the president should visit a number of Africa countries, this time accompanied by business executives

“What we would like to see is that he should visit several African countries; he should not go there with just government officials; he should go there with investors,” he said.

He said the priorities will remain the same whether Obama is re-elected or not.

“We have looked at these priorities from the perspective of Africa.  So, whoever is elected as president, what we want [is to] engage Africa, what we want to communicate is that Africa is not a basket case; Africa should not been seen from the eyes of just aid.  We should look at Africa as an opportunity for the United States to grow,” Kimenyi said.

He said Obama still has a chance to leave a US legacy in Africa, particularly if he follows the vision he articulated for the continent during his 2008 visit.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid