Thursday, August 2, 2012

America in Africa

It is interesting to keep this article from the BBC in mind when looking at Secretary of State Clintons current trip to Africa.

"The White House has announced a new US strategy for sub-Saharan Africa, which focuses on the continent's economic potential.
It also explores issues related to democracy, security and development.
President Barack Obama said African democracy had improved but corruption was endemic in many countries and state institutions were weak.
The strategy comes as China's presence on the continent continues to grow through investment and trade.
Mr Obama said he would work with Congress to develop preferential trade agreements with African countries, while fighting al-Qaeda and its affiliates on the continent.
"As we look toward the future, it is clear that Africa is more important than ever to the security and prosperity of the international community, and to the United States in particular," said Mr Obama, the US-born son of a Kenyan man."
Now I personally think that as Secretary of State Clinton is not a patch on her predecessor Condalisa Rice and think Rice was better at getting stuff done rather than just talking about it. I find these comments again from the BBC to be rather odd.

" She is due to meet Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, a key ally in the US's campaign against Islamic extremism.
Ugandan troops are in Somalia under the banner of the African Union to fight al-Shabab Islamist rebels.
Earlier, in Senegal, Mrs Clinton said Africa had too many autocratic rulers who cared little about their citizens.
She ruled out resuming US aid to Mali until the military - which staged a coup in March - handed power to a democratically elected government.
She also voiced concern that Guinea-Bissau, to the south of Senegal, which experienced a coup in April, could become completely dependent on Latin American drug traffickers.
Ms Clinton held up Senegal's democratic transition from long-serving President Abdoulaye Wade to his successor, Macky Sall, as an example to the region."
It is fine to rule out giving aid if it is military aid  but humanitarian aid should never be held up regardless of who is in charge. I detest Mugabe but we need to keep in mind that he is not the manifestation of Zimbabwe. 

" Exchanging entrepreneurs
The White House said its new Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa provides "a proactive and forward looking vision grounded in partnership".
A bid to increase trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa is among its aims.

Start Quote

Africa offers the highest rate of return on foreign direct investment of any developing region in the world”
Hillary ClintonUS secretary of state
The US administration is reaching out to entrepreneurs through exchange programmes. It will try to match US and Africa companies for business opportunities.
The strategy is the result of four months of work, during which advisers looked at how to address the challenges the continent faces from famine to instability as well as the continent's economic potential.
The BBC's Kim Ghattas in Washington says the strategy is partly aimed at encouraging the US and Africans to do business together.
Our correspondent says this approach could also provide an opportunity to help revive the flagging economy in the US."

Again I have my doubts, fair trade is good for all but the Americans are useless at it as we in NZ know our dairy industry is far more competitive than theirs so they protect and subsidise it.
"The announcement indicates a renewed focus on Africa, but as the plan is short on detail for now it is unclear how the strategy differs from what the administration has been doing so far, she says.
Some African countries already enjoy trade preferences with the US - through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) - on the condition they uphold free elections and markets."

So here we have America insisting on free markets yet they don't do this at home. 
At an Agoa forum in Washington on Thursday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Africa was the "land of opportunity".
"I want all of my fellow American citizens, particularly our business community, to hear this: Africa offers the highest rate of return on foreign direct investment of any developing region in the world," AFP news agency quotes her as saying."

Why ? I suspect exploitation and low wages might have something to do with it the west can't keep on build up their standard of living at the expense of Africa as this opinion piece reminds us.
"Last month, Mr Obama announced a $3bn (£1.9bn) plan to boost food security and farm productivity in Africa.
US officials said that initiative was aimed at alleviating shortages as world food supplies are being stretched by rising demand in Asia's emerging markets."

I suspect we are going to see real difficulties in the future due to this. It is good that Obama is thinking about this.


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