News / Africa

Clinton Says Africa Must Fight Corruption to Boost Trade

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wraps herself with chitenge material after she was presented with it by members of the African Women's Entrepreneurship Program at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka, Zambia, Friday, June 10,
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wraps herself with chitenge material after she was presented with it by members of the African Women's Entrepreneurship Program at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka, Zambia, Friday, June 10,

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says African governments must do more to fight corruption and encourage cross-border commerce to better benefit from U.S. trade preferences.

Secretary Clinton says the Obama administration is committed to extending trade preferences under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. But renewing that duty-free access requires everyone involved to decide whether they are willing to do what’s necessary to make the most of those benefits.

"A business is only as successful as the environment in which it operates. A shipping company cannot thrive if it’s overwhelmed by government regulations and drowning in paperwork. Buyers and sellers can’t do business if they are harassed by corrupt officials. A strong economy requires a supportive business climate that empowers every entrepreneur,” explained Clinton.

Secretary Clinton says Africans face long-standing obstacles to diversifying AGOA exports that are still dominated by textile and oil products. "Trade officials are under pressure to protect their own home-grown industries. Government leaders of smaller countries are concerned that larger countries will gain too much influence. Business owners worry about losing out to competitors across the border. Now these are not problems unique to Africa, but they have a disproportionate impact on Africa,” she said.

She says it is ultimately up to Africa's leaders to decide whether they have the political courage for greater economic integration. "It does mean you have to take on entrenched interests and respond to concerns about new competition, while making the case over and over again as to why the people in your country will benefit from expanded trade. I know this is difficult. Although I am out of politics now, I understand how hard it is to tell a longtime supporter something he doesn’t want to hear.  But sometimes it’s the right and important thing to do,” said Clinton.

Secretary Clinton spoke at the close of a forum on the AGOA trade preferences that have been the cornerstone of U.S. investment in Africa for more than ten years.

Business and civil society leaders at the meeting called on the Obama administration to do more to encourage direct investment in Africa.

Chungu Mwila, director of private sector development for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, says, “I think there is a lot more that the U.S., being the strongest economy in the world, can do by assisting in capacity building of our industries, by ensuring that some of the American companies come and look around. After all, Africa is no longer such a risk[y] place."

The Obama administration wants U.S. lawmakers to extend beyond next year a provision allowing AGOA-eligible nations to source raw textile materials from third countries.

Mwila says that extension, and the renewal of AGOA as a whole, will bring more business to a continent that it making itself more attractive to investors.

“We have very liberal economic regimes. Our macro-economic fundamentals are being put in place. For example, the inflation rates have come down. The exchange rates are stabilizing. And the economic growth rate is one of the highest globally, around five or six percent. You don't even get that in the U.S,” said Mwila.

Secretary Clinton says the Obama administration's approach to Africa is based on partnership not patronage, focusing not on handouts but on supporting economic growth that underlies long-term progress with the ultimate aim of helping developing countries chart their own future and end their need for aid altogether.

You May Like

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid