News / Africa

Clinton Prepares for Economic-Oriented Africa Tour

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (file photo)
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (file photo)
Nico Colombant

Enhancing trade, development and regional security will be key priorities for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on an Africa tour later this week.

After a stop in the United Arab Emirates to discuss Libya, Secretary Clinton will start the Africa portion of her trip with a scheduled visit to Zambia's capital, Lusaka, Friday.

There, she will speak at the African Growth and Opportunity Act ministerial forum.  The U.S. act, known by its acronym AGOA, provides preferential trade treatment, such as duty free entry, for some African products.

A Clinton spokesman said she would showcase what he called the "centerpiece" of U.S. trade policy with the continent.

J. Peter Pham, an Africa expert with the Washington-based Atlantic Council, says Clinton's participation is very meaningful.

"Any time senior level U.S. officials engage in Africa, it is very important because Africa suffers often from attention deficit in this town, in Washington," said Pham. "For our senior officials, with so many different challenges and crises around the world, unless there is a pressing calamity or some other disaster in Africa, Africa does not get that engagement."

Pham says he would like to see AGOA, in his words, "re-tooled" to encourage more U.S. investment in Africa and more imported African manufactured goods, beyond the prevalent energy sector.

Development expert Raymond Gilpin, with the United States Institute of Peace, shares these concerns, given that petroleum products account for more than 90 percent of the overall value of U.S. AGOA imports.

"Quite a significant amount of African exports to the United States are still non-AGOA," said Gilpin. "The lion share of AGOA trade is in the petroleum sector and not in the non-petroleum sectors where we would really want to foster sustainable and sustained economic progress as well.  To that extent, it seems a significant constituency in Africa has not been as engaged as it should be. Hopefully, this meeting will also highlight that fact and try to sensitize the key constituencies a lot more, work with chambers of commerce, work with civil society and business groups and work with African governments so that they could feel a greater sense of ownership."

After Zambia, Clinton will visit Tanzania, which in 2008 signed a nearly $700 million, five-year compact with the U.S. government Millennium Challenge Corporation. The money is going toward reducing poverty and stimulating economic growth with investments in transportation, energy and water.

Her other stop will be Ethiopia, a long standing U.S. security ally in the volatile east of Africa. Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti says that visit will be important as well.

"We do have cooperation in various fields," said Mufti. "We have economic cooperation, defense, etc. So we would like to boost this relationship and hopefully this relationship could be strengthened in tandem with the regional stability that we are looking for."

Renewed violence between northern and southern Sudanese as well as the ongoing fighting in Somalia are shared U.S, Ethiopian concerns.

But the leader of the main opposition coalition known as Medrek, former President Negasso Gidada, says he is very disappointed that, as far as he knows, no meeting between Clinton and Ethiopia's opposition has been scheduled.

The opposition leader says internal African politics are also very important. He says, as long as there are serious shortcomings in democracy and human rights, other priorities, such as development and stability, are at risk.

"I think the embassy here should still try to arrange the program so that she meets with us, because it is really a pity if she does not," Gidada said.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been ruling Ethiopia for 20 years, with opposition accusations he denies elections are not free and fair. Planned social media led protests against the anniversary of his rule last month failed to garner much support, amid fears of an internal security crackdown.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid