News / Africa

Clinton Promotes US Investment in Africa

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with Nelson Mandela, 94, former president of South Africa, at his home in Qunu, South Africa, on August 6, 2012.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with Nelson Mandela, 94, former president of South Africa, at his home in Qunu, South Africa, on August 6, 2012.
Anne Look
JOHANNESBURG — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in South Africa as part of her tour of the continent.  She met with former president Nelson Mandela at his home Monday before taking part in a high-level summit aimed at promoting U.S. investment and trade -- which has been a key focus of the secretary's trip.  On Tuesday, she travels to the capital, Pretoria, to participate in the third annual U.S.-South Africa Strategic Dialogue.  

Clinton spoke at the U.S.- South Africa Business Summit Monday in Johannesburg.  The event brought together 200 top business executives and government officials from both countries.
 
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets Kofi Annan and his wife Nane Lagergren at the funeral of Ghana President John Atta Mills, in Accra, Ghana, August 10, 2012.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, left, meets with Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama, at his residence in Accra, Ghana, August 9, 2012.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a clinic at Delft township on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, August 8, 2012.
  • South Africa's Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, left, and Hillary Clinton visit the Delft South Clinic in Delft South, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, August 8, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton meets with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel at his home in Qunu, South Africa, August 6, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton and South Africa's Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane see a rare snow flurry as they leave business meetings in Pretoria, South Africa, August 7, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton walks out with African Union Chair-Designate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma after their meeting at Brynterion Estate in Pretoria, South Africa, August 7, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton dances with Emille Phiri, chair of the Lumbadzi Milk Bulking Group, Lilongwe, Malawi, August 5, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton meets with Malawi's President Joyce Banda at the State House in Lilongwe, Malawi, August 5, 2012.
  • Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki, with Hillary Clinton (R) and his vice president Kalonzo Musyoka (L), leaves after a meeting at State House in Nairobi August 4, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton is met by Uganda's Foreign Affairs Minister Okello Oryem upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, August 3, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton shakes hands with Bishop Elias Taban in Juba August 3, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton meets with South Sudan President Salva Kiir, August 3, 2012, at the Presidential Office Building in Juba.
  • Hillary Clinton, accompanied by President Macky Sall, speaks at the Presidential Palace in Dakar, August 1, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton shakes hands with staff from the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, August 1, 2012.
  • The shadow of Hillary Clinton on a Senegalese flag before she spoke at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, August 1, 2012.

"What I think we have to look to is not only helping our own businesses and yours be more competitive, grow, create jobs, but then how we translate economic growth into opportunities for people, particularly those who still need to be given a chance to work themselves and their families out of poverty," Clinton said.

In South Africa, Clinton has been joined by a delegation of 10 senior U.S. business executives representing a wide range of sectors including aviation, energy and shipping.
 
South Africa, Clinton said, plans to make "big investments" in infrastructure over the next 20 years that could create "massive new opportunities" for American businesses and jobs in both countries.  

Trade between the countries already totals $22 billion annually.  South Africa is the leading market on the continent for American goods, while the United States is both an important export market and a source of foreign direct investment for South Africa.  
 
Razia Khan, the head of Africa research at London-based Standard Chartered Bank, says Clinton needs to cement those business ties.
 
"It's about being able to secure the relationship, ensuring that their interests are aligned, and that there is a framework for working through disagreements. Both South Africa and the U.S. have almost been sidelined by the importance of China, the speed with which we've seen China-Africa trade increasing," Khan said.
 
Africa is home to some of the world's fastest growing economies and populations. Analysts say the continent is increasingly a land of investment opportunity, not risk.
 
South Africa holds the rotating African Union leadership, which Khan says makes the country influential in molding foreign trade relations on the continent.
 
Sub-Saharan Africa

Boosting U.S. trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa is one of the cornerstones of the Obama administration's Africa foreign policy.
 
"Africa is more than a billion people now, more than two billion by the half century mark. [That] represents a vast untapped market for U.S. trade and investment," said J. Peter Pham, Director of the Washington-based Michael S. Ansari Africa Center.
 
The United States is Africa's second largest trade partner after China, which is known to leverage infrastructure projects for access to Africa's consumers and its natural resources.
 

Clinton kicked off her trip with a speech in Dakar by saying the U.S. will seek out business opportunities but not at the expense of democracy and human rights.  
 
"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," she said.

China in Africa
 
China criticized Clinton's remarks as "cheap shots," aimed at "discrediting China's engagement with the continent."
 
Razia Khan of Standard Chartered says Africa's future prosperity depends on more than increased trade, be it with China, the U.S. or other countries. Africa, she says, needs to diversify its exports.
 
"It (Africa) has primarily been seen as a producer of raw materials, (it) may not have the infrastructure, (it) may not have the scale economies in place in individual countries to really be able to do much in the way of value addition to boost its own manufacturing sector," Khan said.
 
While in South Africa, Clinton will continue her push for American companies to invest in Africa. She will also highlight U.S. efforts to facilitate the import of African goods through measures like the African Growth and Opportunities Act, which allows African countries to sell certain manufactured items into the U.S. quota-free and duty-free.
 
However, Khan said those efforts, while positive, have not yet had a "major influence."
 
"Much more emphasis is needed in this area because unless Africa can diversify its export base, unless we do see greater value additions, most African economies are simply not going to be able to produce the formal sector jobs that their demographics imply they absolutely have to be creating," Khan said.
 
Population Boom

The African Development Bank and the United Nations have released joint reports this year on concerns that Africa's population boom coupled with its current trend of "jobless," commodities-based growth poses a serious risk to future security and stability.
 
Africa's youth population will not only double by 2045, the studies say, but it will also be better educated, yet less able to find work, if current trends continue.
 
Khan says increased trade will help Africans reap the benefits of their growing economies.
 
"There is no question about it, that one way to lift a greater number of people out of poverty is to have more economic activity and that is made easier through increased trade. It really doesn't matter whether that trade is with the East or with the West," Khan said.
 
Earlier Monday, Clinton met privately with former South African president Nelson Mandela at his home in the city of Qunu. The former president recently turned 94 and rarely makes public appearances.

Map of Hillary Clinton's Stops in Africa

View Clinton's Africa trip in a larger map

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Shannon from: CHN
August 07, 2012 3:14 AM
Ok, Why you America discredit China's engagement with the continent, but now you yourself engage with it? Is this your so-called human rights? What a shame!

by: Alf
August 07, 2012 12:01 AM
To Razia Khan and Peter Pham, whilst investment opportunities are good, please remember that the situation in Zimbabwe is precarious, in which tragedy, suffering and hardship are now a way of life, without much hope for many people.

by: PJ
August 06, 2012 10:22 PM
Talk about following China's shadow. Right after they get a foot hold here comes Mr "I can print money from toilet paper" stepping on everyone's toes again. Reminds me of a schoolground bully, one day the other 2 biggest guys in the yard will truly be sick of it and deck him to the ground!

by: Bretfox from: South
August 06, 2012 11:46 AM
This articled is censorsed so everybody please post complimentary comments are you will be blocked!
In Response

by: elana nada from: san diego
August 25, 2012 10:19 AM
What so Clinton endorses Obama , so they can both gain money off this project and get money from America to fund it. LOL

What a joke

by: Bretfox from: South
August 06, 2012 11:01 AM
Hillary wants to take taxpayer money and invest it in Africa at the same time her comrads are telling us that American infrastructure is in serious decline. Fat cat elites need to get their messages in sync.
In Response

by: Jay from: Tokyo
August 07, 2012 6:20 AM
Where do you get that she wants to invest taxpayers money in Africa? She's encouraging private companies to invest there. Of course the purpose is to both help Africa and the US economy by going global. Of course, the US Dept of Commerce is promoting foreign investment in the US, which is even better for the US economy.

by: hokgan from: KL
August 06, 2012 10:36 AM
Of course, there is a footnote coming along. American style human right and their political system regardless of others' education attainment.

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