The Obama administration says it is launching a new partnership with sub-Saharan Africa to improve democracy, economic growth, security and trade in the region.
The new presidential policy directive on sub-Saharan Africa is based on many of the themes outlined in Barack Obama's 2009 speech to lawmakers in Ghana. The White House says it commits the United States to elevating its work to strengthen democratic institutions and boost economic growth, trade and investment.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says President Obama believes passionately that Africa's future is now.
"We can and must do better by deepening our cooperation and improving our performance. This is a priority for the United States," she said.
The policy directive aims to advance African democracy by strengthening institutions for more open and accountable governance and for promoting human rights and the rule of law. It also vows to challenge leaders "whose actions threaten the credibility of democratic processes."
It commits the United States to increasing trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa by improving economic governance, promoting regional integration, expanding African access to global markets and encouraging U.S. companies to trade with and invest in Africa.
Duty waivers under the African Growth and Opportunity Act have increased U.S. trade with Africa. Secretary Clinton told public and private sector leaders Thursday at an annual meeting of beneficiaries of those waivers that the Obama administration is pushing Congress to extend the so-called AGOA trade preferences.
"The United States will stand with you as your partner on the basis of mutual respect in order to make sure that the benefits that we see as so potentially achievable are available for you and, particularly, for the next generation," she said.
Secretary Clinton delivers remarks at the African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum and marks Global Economic Statecraft Day, at the Department of State, June 14, 2012.
The presidential policy directive on sub-Saharan Africa says the United States will deepen its security partnership with African countries and regional organizations, as "only Africa’s governments and people can sustainably resolve the security challenges and internal divisions that have plagued the continent, but the United States can make a positive difference."
Clinton says the directive also continues to focus U.S. aid on sustainable development.
"We can make a commitment knowing that it's not only about economic growth but also democratic progress, improved security, development gains," she said. "Because all taken together, we will strengthen the security, the prosperity, and the democracies across Africa and by doing so help to fulfill that dream of a future of peace, freedom, prosperity, and dignity for all Africans."
The Obama administration says its new policy builds on what it calls "numerous accomplishments" in Africa, including helping to end political violence in Ivory Coast and Kenya, working to bring peace to Sudan, pursuing the Lord's Resistance Army and helping to bring stability to Somalia.