News / Africa

Clinton Winds Down Africa Tour

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, meets with Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama, at his residence in Accra, Ghana, Aug. 9, 2012.U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, meets with Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama, at his residence in Accra, Ghana, Aug. 9, 2012.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, meets with Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama, at his residence in Accra, Ghana, Aug. 9, 2012.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, meets with Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama, at his residence in Accra, Ghana, Aug. 9, 2012.
Anne Look
ACCRA, Ghana — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is attending the funeral of late Ghanian President John Atta Mills on Friday before heading to Benin, her last stop of an 11-day tour of the continent.

Clinton's trip to sub-Saharan Africa, likely her last as America's top diplomat, took her to nine countries, where she celebrated successes and addressed ongoing challenges with regards to security, economic cooperation and development goals, such as promoting women and eradicating HIV/AIDS. Clinton reaffirmed American support in these areas at each stop.
She called on African countries, in particular South Africa where she spent four days, to take their place on the world stage and to be less "wary" of intervention when it comes to protecting democratic values and human rights.
"Consider some of the problems we face today: an anemic global economy, trans-national crime and terrorism, climate change, disease, famine, nuclear proliferation," said Clinton. "None of these problems can be [solved] by any one country acting alone, or even several countries acting together. Each one calls for a global network of partners. Now I've often heard it said that African problems need African solutions. Well, I'm here to say that some of our global problems need African solutions too."
Analysts said Clinton's trip reflected Africa's growing strategic importance to the United States - not only with regards to security and counterterrorism but also energy. Analysts say Africa, in particular the Gulf of Guinea region, is rivaling the Persian Gulf as a source of oil imports.
Clinton stopped in Africa's top oil-producing nations like Nigeria, Ghana and South Sudan, as well as oil debutantes like Kenya and Uganda.
Razia Khan, the head of Africa research at London-based Standard Chartered Bank, said those stops were no accident.
"East Africa is increasingly seen as the new exploration hotspot in terms of oil and gas," said Khan. "Its proximity to more rapidly growing Asian economies means that a lot of trade will probably be focused on the Asia-Africa corridor."
Clinton never mentioned China by name, however many argue that countering China's economic dominance in Africa was, in fact, a key goal of this trip. Alex Vines, head of the Africa program at London-based think tank Chatham House, said the Clinton clearly had commercial interests in mind.
"Over the last year, there's been a significant push by the Obama administration to ensure that U.S. companies are more aggressive looking for market access and share," Vines said. "That's what this trip is about."
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to some of the world's fastest growing economies and populations. Clinton argued for greater trade among African countries and with the United States that she said would create jobs and economic growth on all sides.
Clinton referred frequently to President's Barack Obama's words in Ghana in 2009.

"Africa needs partnership, not patronage," he said. "Strong institutions, not strong men."

Clinton also praised democratic success in Senegal and Ghana, while calling for free, fair and peaceful elections in Kenya next year and continued progress in Somalia's political transition.
She scored a key diplomatic win in South Sudan which reached an agreement with its former rulers to the North to resume oil production, a move seen as essential to heading off imminent economic collapse and further conflict.
Clinton also reinforced economic and security cooperation with continent heavyweights and key strategic partners, South Africa and Nigeria.
Throughout her trip, the secretary consistently kept women on the agenda. Clinton reminded South Sudan, the world's newest nation, to "include women at every step" of its journey.
She praised the political climb of women in Senegal, where women occupy one of the largest percentages of seats in directly-elected legislative bodies in the world.
"And of course, it makes perfect sense because democracies must be open to and include all of their people, men and women, not just to vote, but to have the chance to participate and to lead," said Clinton.
Observers remarked that the secretary looked particularly "lit up inside" during her visit to Malawi, where she talked about sexual health and economic advancement with women and girls and met with the nation's new president Joyce Banda, Africa's second-ever female leader.
Clinton also met now 94-year-old former South African leader Nelson Mandela at his home in Qunu.
In a rare personal glimpse, the secretary went off script during her remarks in Cape Town and shared her own past yearnings for revenge during her up-and-down journey in American politics.
"It’s easy to lose sight of the common humanity of those who oppose you," she said. "You get to feeling that your way is the right way, that your agenda is the only one that will save the people.  And all of the sudden, you begin to dehumanize the opposition and the other."
A key turning point for her, she said, came at Mandela's inauguration in 1994, when the anti-apartheid leader called on his three white jailers to stand.
The men, Mandela said, had treated him like a human being during his 27 years of political imprisonment. He thanked them and said he had made the choice upon his release to let go of "bitterness and hatred" and work toward reconciliation.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.