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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid