Saturday, February 27, 2010

US & Africa Closer Than You Would Think!

As Featured on Larry King Live Blog

http://larrykinglive.blogs.cnn.com/2010/03/01/lkl-blog-exclusive-us-africa-closer-than-you-would-think/


With several 10-hour direct flights to many capital cities on the continent, Africa isn’t as far from the U.S. as many Americans perceive it to be. The flight time from Washington, DC to Accra, Ghana is the same as that from Washington, DC to Honolulu, Hawaii. This comparison of physical distances also holds true for the virtual distances between the two regions, thanks in part to free markets and a globalized economy. Today we in America are able to patronize African coffee, jewelry, clothing, chocolates, roses, crude oil and thousands of other products as though they originated from our backyards while those in Africa benefit from U.S. government and private sector investments on a daily basis. As individuals and nations we are more closely linked than stereotypes would have us believe.

U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa has more than doubled since the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into law in 2000. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce (2008 report), U.S. imports from sub-Saharan Africa alone exceeded $86 billion, more than quadruple the amount in 2001. During the 2009 AGOA Forum in Nairobi, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledged the interdependence between the United States and Africa with the following words, “America is Africa’s largest trading partner.”

The now outdated concept of a distant, so-called 3rd world (mostly used to describe Africa), is just one example of how people in economically advanced countries like the United States view themselves as being separated from Africa and the rest of the world. Of course skewed news media coverage of the African continent is partly responsible for this mindset. A paragraph from President Barack Obama’s Accra speech, July 11, 2009 accurately highlights the new realities of international relations and the bonds we share as individuals and nations in a much smaller, global community.

“The 21st century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington, but by what happens in Accra as well. This is the simple truth of a time when the boundaries between people are overwhelmed by our connections. Your prosperity can expand America's. Your health and security can contribute to the world, and the strength of your democracy can help advance human rights for people everywhere.” - President Barack Obama.

Americans who have served in U.S. Embassies abroad, in the U.S. Military or have represented their multinational corporations overseas have a better appreciation of America’s interdependence on Africa and the rest of the world and vice versa. With the current world economic order, the concept of a global village could not be truer and it calls for a totally different world view from everyone. I would even argue that the once lofty subject of international relations is no longer the exclusive domain of career diplomats and Foreign Service officials but rather every citizen of the world including the illiterate coffee farmer in a remote village in Uganda or Kenya whose crops find their way to the Starbucks shop near the White House in Washington, DC.


Djibouti is one of Africa’s most impoverished nations yet it is America’s most important African partner in the fight against global terrorism. Djibouti's strategic location between Somalia and Ethiopia makes it a perfect spot for U.S. military and intelligence operations. It sits at the intersection of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and within striking distance of Yemen and Somalia, the two main suspected havens of Al Qaeda followers. Camp Lemonnier, situated at the Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport is the only U.S. military infrastructure on the entire African continent today. Who would have thought that such an impoverished, mostly desert African nation would emerge as America’s key partner in the fight against global terrorism? On January 21st 2003, President George W. Bush met Djibouti’s President Ismail Guelleh in the Oval Office, and why would he not make this a priority since President Guelleh’s government hosts a major U.S. Military base. Of course hundreds of Djibouti nationals are also thankful to the United States for providing good jobs with the establishment of the military base, so it’s a win-win situation.

Africa is the second largest continent, home to 12% of the world’s total population (840million) and undisputedly the largest supplier of raw materials to industries around the world. Contrary to what many believe, U.S.-Africa engagement, which is not limited to governments, extends way beyond humanitarian assistance and conflict resolution to trade, industry, education, cultural exchanges and other mutually beneficial partnerships. Without even counting the ties America and Africa share through the Trans Atlantic slave trade, America’s bonds with Africa far outweigh the differences and distance that separate them and the two are much closer than we could ever imagine.

Africa is not that far you know!









About The Blogger

Frederick Nnoma-Addison is President & CEO of the Washington, DC based Africa Media-Image Project, an African interest news and media production organization working to bridge the information gap between the United States and African countries. He is the Author and publisher of a historic book that celebrates 50 years of U.S. - Ghana/Africa relations. http://www.usafricapicturebook.org



video

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ambassador Carson Remarks

Remarks for the Africa Society’s Ambassador Andrew Young Lecture Series
Embassy of the Republic of Ghana - February 25, 2010, 6:30 p.m.

Thank you all for your kind invitation to come and speak at The Africa Society’s Ambassador Andrew Young Lecture Series. I would like to thank the sponsors of tonight’s event: MARS Incorporated, the Africa Society, and the Embassy of Ghana. Ambassador Agyekum (pronounced: a-jay-koom), thank you for that thoughtful introduction, and congratulations to you on the presentation of your credentials to President Obama yesterday. I hope you will enjoy your tour of duty in Washington, and I look forward to working with you over the next several years. I also want to thank Bernadette Paolo, the President of the Africa Society, and the many other members who are here, including Chairman Noah Samara.

I also wish to extend warm greetings to the other distinguished members of the African diplomatic corps here this evening, as well as the members of the press, academia, NGOs, and others interested in Africa. Thank you all for being here this evening.

It is a real pleasure for me to join you today to talk about a topic that I have devoted much of my professional life to – strengthening the United States relationship with Africa.

As many of you know, I have spent much of my career working in and on Africa, from volunteering for the Peace Corps in Tanzania to holding the position of U.S. Ambassador in Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Uganda. I am honored to be serving as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in this administration.

President Obama has a strong interest in Africa and has prioritized Africa among our top foreign policy concerns. This has been evident throughout his first year in office.

The President’s visit to Ghana last July, the earliest visit made by a U.S. president to the continent, underscores Africa’s importance to the U.S. Last September, at the UN General Assembly, the President hosted a lunch with 26 African heads of state. He has also met in the oval office with President Kikwete of Tanzania, President Khama of Botswana, and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangarai. And the President invited dozens of people to the White House to see him give a Zimbabwean women’s group the Robert H. Kennedy Prize for Political Courage.

All of the President’s senior foreign policy advisors have followed his lead—many of them travelling to Africa as well. The U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations -- my former boss and close colleague Ambassador Susan Rice -- visited five African countries last June, including Liberia and Rwanda. Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew traveled to Ethiopia and Tanzania in June 2009. Last August, Secretary Clinton and I embarked on an 11-day, seven-country trip across the continent. And last month Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero headed the U.S. delegation to the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, where we discussed a range of issues including democracy and governance, climate change, and food security.

From Ethiopia, I travelled to Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria where I met with senior government officials and members of civil society. We discussed the need for free, fair, and transparent elections. We also talked about other issues such as regional stability, economic development, and responsible use of resource revenues. I stressed the need for governments, particularly those that have discovered large quantities of oil like Ghana and Uganda, to use their new found wealth responsibly. How these governments manage these resources and the money they receive from them will have a major impact on future political and economic development in those countries. President Obama has said repeatedly that the United States views Africa as our partner and as a partner of the international community. While Africa has very serious and well-known challenges to confront, the President and Secretary Clinton are confident that Africa and Africans will rise to meet and overcome these challenges.

Last June when the President was in Ghana, he said, “We believe in Africa's potential and promise. We remain committed to Africa's future. We will be strong partners with the African people.” Africa is essential to our interconnected world, and our alliance with one another must be rooted in mutual respect and accountability. I echo the President’s sentiment that U.S. policy must start from the simple premise that Africa’s future is up to Africans.

The Obama Administration is committed to a positive and forward looking policy in Africa.

It is committed to substantial increases in foreign assistance for Africa, but we know that additional assistance will not automatically produce success across the continent. Instead, success will be defined by how well we work together as partners to build Africa’s capacity for long-term change and ultimately the elimination of the continued need for such assistance. As Africa’s partner, the United States is ready to contribute to Africa’s growth and stabilization, but ultimately, African leaders and countries must take control of their futures.

Just like the United States is important to Africa, Africa is important to the United States. The history and heritage of this country is directly linked to Africa; President Obama’s direct family ties to the continent are a testimony to this. But the significance and relevance of Africa reaches far beyond ethnicity and national origin. It is based on our fundamental interests in promoting democratic institutions and good governance, peace and stability, and sustained economic growth across Sub Saharan Africa. All of these interests affect the United States. The U.S. will focus on these areas and others that are critical to the future success of Africa.

FIRST

We will work with African governments, the international community, and civil society to strengthen democratic institutions and protect the democratic gains made in recent years in many African countries. A key element in Africa’s transformation is sustained commitment to democracy, rule of law, and constitutional norms. Africa has made significant progress in this area. Botswana, Ghana, Tanzania, Mauritius, and South Africa are a few examples of countries showing that commitment. But progress in this area must be more widespread across Africa.

Some scholars and political analysts are saying that democracy in Africa has reached a plateau, and that we may be witnessing the beginning of a democratic recession. They point to flawed presidential elections in places like Kenya, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe; the attempts by leaders in Niger, Uganda, and Cameroon to extend their terms of office; and the re-emergence of military interventionism in Guinea-Conakry, Madagascar, and just last week in Niger.

Moreover, democracy remains fragile or tenuous in large states like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and arguably Africa’s most important country, Nigeria.

Nigeria continues to experience political tensions caused by the prolonged illness of President Yar’Adua. The United States welcomes President Yar’Adua’s recent return to Nigeria. However, we remain concerned that there may be some in Nigeria who are putting their personal ambitions above the health of the President and more importantly ahead of the political stability and political health of the country.

Nigeria is simply too important to Africa and too important to the U.S. and the international community for us not to be concerned and engaged. Widespread instability in Nigeria could have a tsunami-like ripple effect across West Africa and the global community.

During my recent visit to Nigeria, I was encouraged by the steps Nigeria’s elected officials at the national and state level had taken to elevate Goodluck Jonathan to Acting President. But today Nigeria may be marching towards a crossroads and it is critically important that all of Nigeria’s leaders act responsibly, that they stay on the democratic road, and that they choose constitutional rule over the uncertain path of conflict.

Nigeria and other African countries need civilian governments that deliver services to their people, independent judiciaries that respect and enforce the rule of law, professional security forces that respect human rights, strong and effective legislative institutions, a free and responsible press, and a dynamic civil society. All of these things are needed for a stable and prosperous Africa. All of these things are needed to secure Africa’s future.

The political and economic success of Africa depends a great deal on the effectiveness, sustainability, and reliability of its democratic institutions. Over the next two years, 27 countries in sub-Saharan Africa will hold elections. We encourage those governments to get it right. To level the playing field, clean up the voter rolls, open up the media, count the votes fairly, and give democracy a chance.

Although elections are but one component in the process of democratization, there is a strong correlation between electoral processes, including strong and independent electoral institutions, successful elections, and efforts to consolidate democracy. And there is strong evidence that suggests that democratic governments perform better economically.

The U.S. will continue to work with Africans, as partners, to build stronger democratic institutions and to advance democracy in Africa. It is a major priority.

SECOND

Africa’s future success and global importance are dependent on its continued economic progress. Working alongside African countries to promote and advance sustained economic development and growth is another Obama administration priority. Africa has made measurable inroads to increase prosperity. Countries like Mauritius, Ghana, Rwanda, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, and Cape Verde have made significant economic strides. Yet Africa remains the poorest and most vulnerable continent on the globe. To help turn this situation around, we must work to revitalize Africa’s agricultural sector, which employs more than 70 percent of Africans directly or indirectly.

The U.S. is committed to supporting a new Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative, focusing predominantly on reducing hunger, poverty and under-nutrition.

This 3.5 billion dollar Food Security Initiative will also supply new methods and technologies to African farmers. The initiative was developed to help enhance Africa’s ability to meet its food needs and reduce its reliance on imported food commodities. It will also enable African states to further develop their agricultural industries, and by doing so it can spur economic growth across the continent.

Now is the time for a Green Revolution in African agriculture. Through innovative approaches and nontraditional technology, we can improve the lives of millions of people across the continent.

I was encouraged by Malawi’s election as the next chair of the African Union.

Malawi has made great progress in the field of agriculture and has indicated that it plans to use its chairmanship of the AU to advance agriculture in Africa. Countries that can feed themselves are stronger, more stable, and better able to weather economic downturns.

The U.S. also wants to strengthen its trading relationship with Africa. We already have strong ties in energy, textiles, and transportation equipment. But we can and should do more. The Obama administration is committed to working with our African partners to maximize the opportunities created by our trade preference programs like AGOA. And we hope more African nations will take advantage of AGOA.

We also continue to explore ways to promote African private sector growth and investment, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.

In the midst of these efforts, we cannot forget the critical role African women play as producers and agricultural traders – they must take part in this economic growth. We must ensure that African women are an equal part of Africa’s economic future and success.

THIRD

Historically the United States has focused on public health and health-related issues in Africa. We are committed to continuing that focus. We will work side-by-side with African governments and civil society to ensure that quality treatment, prevention, and care are easily accessible to communities throughout Africa.

From HIV/AIDS to malaria, Africans endure and suffer a multitude of health pandemics that weaken countries on many fronts.

Sick men and women cannot work and contribute to the economy. They cannot serve in the armed forces or police and they cannot provide for the security of their counties.

To help solve the health crisis that is occurring throughout the entire continent, Africans as well as the international community must invest in public health systems, in training more medical professionals, and must ensure that there are good jobs and well-paying opportunities in their own countries for doctors and nurses once they are trained. We must also focus on maternal and infant health care, which are closely related to several Millennium Development Goals.

The Obama administration will continue the PEPFAR Program and the Bush administration’s fight against HIV/AIDS. In addition to combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, and polio, the Obama administration has pledged $63 billion to meet public health challenges throughout Africa.

FOURTH

The U.S. is committed to working with African states and the international community to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflicts and disputes. Conflict destabilizes states and borders, stifles economic growth and investment, and robs young Africans of the opportunity for an education and a better life. Conflict sets back nations for a generation. Throughout Africa, there has been a notable reduction in the number of conflicts over the past decade.

The brutal conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia have come to an end, and we have seen Liberia transform itself into a democracy through the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female head of state. These examples of what can be accomplished in a short period of time should make us proud and hopeful for solving the problems of seemingly intractable conflicts elsewhere.

However, areas of turmoil and political unrest such as Guinea, Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger and Madagascar create both internal and regional instability. Furthermore, we must not forget the extreme harm inflicted by gender-based violence and the recruitment of child soldiers. The Obama administration is working to end these conflicts so that peace and economic progress can replace instability and uncertainty.

President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to work with African leaders to help resolve these conflicts through the appointment of the Special Presidential Envoy for Sudan, General Scott Gration, whose mandate is to ensure the full implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The Special Advisor for the Great Lakes former Congressman Howard Wolpe is also working to bring peace and stability to the Eastern Congo.

We will also continue our cooperation with regional leaders to look for ways to end Somalia’s protracted political and humanitarian crisis. We continue to call for well-meaning actors in the region to support the Djibouti Peace process of inclusion and reconciliation, and to reject those extremists and their supporters that seek to exploit the suffering of the Somali people.

Additionally, the United States is proactive in working with African leaders, civil society organizations, and the international community to prevent new conflicts. We are cooperating with African leaders to defuse possible disagreements before they become sources of open hostility. As we pursue these avenues of promoting stability and peace in Somalia, we are also shouldering the lion’s share of humanitarian assistance to the people of Somalia.

The United States consistently has been the largest single country donor of humanitarian assistance to Somalia, providing more than $150 million in humanitarian assistance in 2009.

FIFTH:

We will seek to deepen our cooperation with African states to address both old and new transnational challenges. The 21st century ushered in new transnational challenges for Africa and the world. Africa’s poverty puts it at a distinct disadvantage in dealing with major global and transnational problems like climate change, narco-trafficking, trafficking in persons and arms, and the illegal exploitation of Africa’s minerals and maritime resources.

Meeting the climate and clean energy challenge is a top priority for the United States and the Obama Administration. Climate change affects the entire globe; its potential impact on water supplies and food security can be disastrous. As President Obama said in Ghana, “while Africa gives off less greenhouse gasses than any other part of the world, it will be the most threatened by climate change.” Often those who have contributed the least to the problem are the ones who are affected the most by it, and the United States is committed to working with Africans to find viable solutions to adapt to the severe consequences of climate change.

The effects of climate change are clear: the snow cap of Mount Kilimanjaro is melting and Lake Chad is a fraction of the size it was 35 years ago. With our international partners, the United States is working to build a sustainable, clean energy global economy which can drive investment and job creation around the world, including bringing energy services to the African continent.

There is no time like the present to face this issue as it carries tremendous consequences for the future of our children, grandchildren and our planet.

Narco-trafficking is a major challenge for Africa and the world. If we do not address it, African countries will be vulnerable to the destabilizing force of narcotics trafficking in the years ahead. As Africa faces the impact of these new transnational problems, the United States will actively work with leaders and governments across the continent to confront all issues that are global in nature.

I would now like to turn to our new programs and initiatives, which work to implement our policies to move our partnership with Africa forward. We are establishing in-depth, high level dialogues with South Africa, Angola, Nigeria, and with the African Union.

We are increasing our cooperation with other countries interested in Africa such as Canada, the UK, France, China, Japan, and multilateral bodies like the EU.

We also hope that increased funding for projects and programs in Africa, as requested in the 2011 budget, will be approved by Congress. With enhanced resources we can further strengthen our partnership with Africa.

Finally, one of my personal goals is to expand our diplomatic presence in Africa. I am working with the Administration and Congress to increase resources – both funding and people – at our embassies and consulates. I want more American diplomats living and working in Africa. An increased diplomatic presence is important for our mutual progress on all of these pressing issues. It is my sincere desire to open more consulates in Africa, which will enable us to reach your citizens beyond the capital cities.

We must be in Mombasa as well as Nairobi, we must be in Goma as well as Kinshasa, and we will be in Kano as well as Abuja.

We must also do a better job of using our diplomatic presence on the continent to listen to the people of Africa and learn from them how we can better work together on the challenges they face.

The Obama administration believes in and is committed to Africa’s future. As global citizens interested in Africa, I appreciate your commitment to this shared vision and your willingness to work together toward a future that brings better governance, expanded democracy, and greater prosperity to Africa’s people.

Thank you very much for your time, thank you for this invitation, and now I turn it over to you for questions.

World Bank African Diaspora Program (ADP)

Washington, DC - Thursday February 25, 2010 (World Bank Headquarters)
The World Bank Africa Region has hosted its second Diaspora Open House as part of its efforts to continue harnessing the strengths of the Diaspora community for development in Africa. The day long event which was themed " Mobilizing the African Diaspora for Development" was attended by some 250 participants from public, private and non-profit sectors, diplomatic corps and other constituencies within the Diaspora community.

There to Address the opening ceremony were the Bank's Vice President for the Africa Region (Oby Ezekwesili), Managing Director (Ngozi Okonjo-Iwaela), Sierra Leone Ambassador to the United States (H.E. Bockari Kortu Stevens), Director, Citizens & Diaspora Directorate, African Union Commission (Dr. Jinmi Adisa) and African Diaspora Program (ADP)Adviser (Richard Cambridge).

During her opening remarks Ms. Ezekwesili reported on the progress made and challenges encountered in the implementation of ADP programs like the Africa Remittances Institute (Addis Ababa), Africa Diaspora Health Initiative, Institutional Development Fund and Diaspora Organization Grant Service. She was candid about areas where the Bank had been unable to achieve her goals and provided good reasons.

Ms. Okonjo-Iwaela used her speaking opportunity to clarify the Bank's reason for engaging the Diaspora community explaining that ADP was not about opportunities for individuals but rather about mobilizing resources for development in Africa. She requested specific input from participants in creating safety nets and assistance programs for the most vulnerable communities in Africa during crisis periods.

Afternoon panel sessions were held under themes like Micro-finance and Diaspora Engagement in home countries (DMADE Experience), the evolving World Bank Strategy in Africa and remittances.

The Africa Region of the World Bank launched the African Diaspora Program in September 2007 with three main objectives.

i. Diaspora engagement policy development and implementation
ii. Finance, particularly leveraging of remittances for development
iii. Human capital development for "brian gain"


Welcome Remarks
Oby Ezekwesili, Vice President, Africa Region (World Bank)






























Special Remarks
Ngozi Okonjo-Iwaela, Managing Director (World Bank)




Thursday, February 25, 2010

Following Ambassador Johnnie Carson

Washington, DC - In an unprecedented attempt to effectively share the Obama Administration's foreign policy for Africa to the widest possible audience, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Johnnie Carson has concluded a series of public events with an Ambassador Andrew Young Lecture Series held at the Embassy of the Republic of Ghana (Washington, DC). This event organized by the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa comes after Ambassador Carson's just ended tour of five African nations; Ethiopia, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria (January 26 to February 10). Immediately following his return from Africa and prior to the Ghana Embassy event he spoke at the George Washington University Elliot School of International Affairs and the Foreign Press Center.

Coverage of Ambassador Carson's George Washington University program is available in a separate post dated February 18, 2010 under the heading "Ambassador Johnnie Carson ON Policy Guidelines For Africa." Transcript of his exchange with journalists is available at http://fpc.state.gov/137225.htm



February 18 - George Washington University



February 24 - Foreign Press Center

















February 25 - Embassy of Ghana (Africa Society Ambassador Andrew Young Lecture Series)

[Full transcript of Ambassador Carson's speech is available in a separate post dated February 26, 2010 - Under the heading "Ambassador Carson Remarks"]










Ambassador Daniel Ohene Agyekum (USA)


Washington, DC. Thursday February 25, 2010 - On his first official day as Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Daniel Ohene Agyekum expressed optimism about the future of Ghana and U.S. relations during his time in Washington saying that as Ghana’s envoy, he will do all within his power to engage public-private sectors and the Ghanaian Diaspora to further promote Ghana’s economic development.

In his first interview since his arrival in Washington, DC in January 2010, he told AMIP News about the state of the nation (Ghana) when the NDC government took office in January 2009, acknowledged the economic and development challenges facing his government and nation as well as the new opportunities available. “One of the ways to continue growing our economy is to generate new foreign direct investment (FDI) and as Ambassador that will be one of my priority areas. With new investments comes industries and job which is one area we really need to address.”

Asked about his confidence in the ability of his government to deliver on their promise he was unflinching, “every government will be judged by the people therefore it is extremely important that we meet the expectations of Ghanaians during the period we have been elected into power, and we do have the leadership to do so. With the discovery of oil and natural gas, Ghana has a fine chance to address the major economic challenges and I expect that the resources will be used for that purpose.”

Ambassador Ohene Agyekum together with seven other envoys presented letters of credentials to President Barack Obama at the Oval Office (White House) on Wednesday February 24th in what he described as, “a very simple but colorful ceremony.”

The role of Ambassador is not new to Ohene Agyekum, he served as Ghana’s Ambassador to Canada in the 90s. The Ghanaian community in the United States wishes him a warm welcome and a productive time in Washington.

F. Nnoma-Addison

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ambassador Johnnie Carson On Policy Guidelines For Africa


WASHINGTON, Thursday February 18, 2010 - Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, Ambassador Johnnie Carson, outlined the Obama Administration’s policy guidelines for engagement with Africa at the 2010 Annual David H. Miller Foundation Lecture held at the Elliot School of International Affairs, George Washington University. The five guiding principles are helping strengthen democracy, supporting economic growth & prosperity, strengthening public health systems, preventing armed conflicts and collaborating with African governments to address transnational challenges such as human and narcotics trafficking, global terrorism, climate change and environmental matters.

On the subject of democracy he cited Malawi, South Africa and Ghana as good examples to emulate and decried the unfortunate incidents in Nigeria, Guinea Madagascar and Niger. According to him, 27 African nations are scheduled to conduct elections over the next two years hence the need for greater attention to democracy on the continent. Africa is the world’s poorest and least integrated continent he said and is responsible for only 2% of world trade. Efforts by the U.S. government to facilitate economic growth through programs like African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation were timely and could be understated.

On strengthening health systems he noted that while Africa accounts for only 10% of the world’s population, 60% of HIV Aids cases were found on the continent with countries like South Africa and Nigeria in the lead. In speaking about prevention of armed conflicts, he noted that while significant strides had been made, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan were exceptions. Before the end of the lecture Ambassador Carson successfully conveyed the Obama Administration’s keen interest in being Africa’s partner citing visits by the President and high ranking officials to the continent in the first year alone.

Ambassador Carson was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State on May 7, 2009. His 37-year Foreign Service career includes ambassadorships to Kenya (1999-2003), Zimbabwe (1995 - 1997), and Uganda (1991-1994).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Africa Partnership Station (APS) Photos




















SEKONDI, Ghana (Feb. 25, 2009) Coast Guard Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Amaury Perez, with the International Training Division, works with a Ghanaian Sailor during visit, board, search and seizure training as part of Africa Partnership Station (APS) 2009 aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Nashville (LPD 13).


















FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (Oct. 14, 2009)
Sailors and Marines from Ghana, Senegal, the Netherlands and the U.S. man the rails aboard the Royal Dutch navy amphibious ship HNLMS Johan De Witt (L 801) as the ship enters port.















DAKAR, Senegal (Feb. 4, 2009) Ghana Navy Lt. Cmdr. James Agambiere mans the rails aboard the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Nashville (LPD 13) as the ship prepares to pull in to Dakar, Senegal, for Africa Partnership Station (APS) 2009.

















FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (Oct. 14, 2009) Dutch navy amphibious ship HNLMS Johan De Witt (L 801)



ABOUT APS

APS, an international initiative developed by Naval Forces Africa, works cooperatively with U.S. and international partners to enhance maritime safety and security for the continent of Africa.


Pictures provided by U.S. Navy.








Friday, February 12, 2010

Historic Picture Book on 50 Years of US - Ghana /Africa Relations

http://www.usafricapicturebook.org




















ABOUT THE BOOK

A full color, perfect bound, laminated picture book on U.S.-Africa engagement since 1957. The 176 page book begins with a special emphasis on U.S.-Ghana relations. Ghana has become America’s launching pad for intensified engagement with the African continent and this commemorative book shares archival and never before seen photographs of most of the historic moments between 1957 and 2009 including important inter-governmental, social, corporate, non governmental and human interest milestones that have shaped bi-lateral relations.



The second part of the book extends to rare moments in U.S.-Africa engagement and includes historic pictures of bill-signing events of landmark U.S. legislations involving Africa, President Obama’s historic meeting with 25 sub-Saharan African heads of state in New York (September 2009), his meeting with Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Tsvangarai (July 2009), awkward meeting (hand shake) with Libya’s leader Muammar al-Quadafi in L’Aquila, Italy, his Oval office meeting with Botswana’s President Khama (November 2009) and Secretary Hillary Clinton’s 7 nation tour of Africa (August 2009).



The publication is timeless and informative, and relevant to private citizens,diplomats, educational institutions, government officials and development workers with vested interest in U.S.-Ghana or U.S. multilateral relations with Africa. It is the first publication to pictorially capture and present a chronological timeline in history on this subject.



We see both the statesmanship of U.S. and African leaders as well as their childlike humanness; from President Clinton interacting with a crowd in Ghana to President George W. Bush rubbing his forehead against that of a Ghanaian student in Accra. We see a president soliciting a handshake, first ladies engaging each other, presidents having a tête à tête, national rallies, singing of national anthems, state banquets, press corps members covering the historic events, progress in development work and lots more. Notes on each page provide useful information about each photograph.


















Thursday, February 11, 2010

Video Introduction To Historic U.S. State Visit

video


DVD Available on Amazon.com









Updates On Recent Events

September 2009 - February 2010
Ethiopia School Release



February 11

Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson Completes Multi-nation Africa Tour


West Africa - U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson has completed a we
ek long 4-nation African tour. Ambassador Carson and his delegation were first in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the just ended African Union Summit where they interacted with African leaders. Following the summit, Carson traveled to Ghana, where he conferred with President John Evans Atta Mills, met with representatives of the business community and delivered remarks at a regional U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) conference in Accra. In Togo, he met with President Faure Gnassingbé, Prime Minister Gilbert Houngbo, and Foreign Minister Kofi Esaw and in Benin, met with President Thomas Yayi Boni and Foreign Minister Jean-Marie Ehouzou. He ended his tour in Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria, where he met with members of civil society, representatives of the state government and held bilateral meetings with the new acting President - Goodluck Jonathan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ojo Maduekwe.



January 29 - February 5, 2010

New MCC Chief Executive Visits Ghana and Cape Verde


Africa - In his First trip as Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) head since his appointment by president Obama in September 2009, Mr. Daniel Yohannes travelled to Ghana and Cape Verde to evaluate project results by the two partner countries. During his visit to Ghana January 30–February 2, Yohannes toured the N1 Highway, visited the Pakro School, met with beneficiaries at the Bomart Pineapple Farm, handed out land titles and attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new land title registration office in Winneba. Yohannes also met with President John Atta Mills and other senior Ghanaian officials. In Cape Verde Mr. Yohannes held a meeting with Prime Minister José Maria Neves. In August 2006, the MCC and Ghana signed a five-year, $547 million compact aimed at reducing poverty by raising farmers’ incomes through private-sector and agribusiness development. The MCC signed its first, five-year compact with Cape Verde in July 2005 for $110 million; it was aimed at transforming the economy from aid dependence to private-sector growth.



February 2, 2010

United States Congratulates New African Union Chairman


Washington, DC - The United States congratulated Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, president of Malawi, on his election by the African Union General Assembly to serve as chairperson of the African Union (AU), saying it looks forward to continuing the U.S. partnership with the AU to promote peace, prosperity and security for all Africans. In a statement, Phillip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary of state for public affairs at the U.S. Department of State, said: “We share Chairperson Mutharika’s goals of ending child hunger and malnutrition and welcome his interest in promoting the critical goal of agricultural development and food security on the continent. The U.S. stands ready to partner with the AU on promoting democracy and good governance and to ensure free, fair and transparent elections on the continent in the coming year.”


January 28, 2010

The United States & European Allies Urge Nigeria to Exercise Restraint



Washington, DC - The United States joined France and the European Union in urging Nigeria to adhere to its constitutional process in the “current period of uncertainty” caused by the absence of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who has been undergoing medical treatment in Saudi Arabia for the past three months. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton signed the joint statement. “We express our deep regret at the recent violence and tragic loss of lives in Jos, and extend our sympathies to the bereaved and injured. We urge all parties to exercise restraint and seek peaceful means to resolve differences between religious and ethnic groups in Nigeria,” the statement said. Nigeria is one of the most important countries in sub-Saharan Africa, a member of the U.N. Security Council, a global oil producer, a leader in ECOWAS [the Economic Community of West African States], a major peacekeeping contributing country, and a stabilizing force in West Africa.


January 20, 2010

The United States Welcomes Normalization of Chad-Sudan Relations

Washington, DC - The United States congratulated the Governments of Chad and Sudan on the signing of the January 15 agreements in N’Djamena to normalize relations. The two countries have agreed to prevent armed groups from using the territory of either state against the interests of the other and to establish mechanisms to monitor their common border. “We believe that the normalization of Chad-Sudan relations provides an important opportunity to advance ongoing international efforts toward a peaceful resolution of the situation in Darfur, and we call on the Governments of Chad and Sudan to contribute actively and appropriately to these peace efforts” the statement read. “This agreement will also enhance regional stability and promote economic growth. The United States stands ready to support implementation of these agreements, at the request of the signatories. The United States remains committed to a political settlement in Darfur and will continue to work closely with our partners to secure a sustainable and just peace.” Mark C. Toner - Deputy Department Spokesman, Bureau of African Affairs


January 13, 2010

African Diaspora Marketplace



Washington, DC - USAID, Western Union, Western Union Foundation, Academy for Educational Development and ECOBANK Transnational Inc. sponsored a successful African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM) initiative to help spur job growth in African countries. Fourteen diaspora-driven businesses in seven African countries were awarded matching grants ranging from $50,000 to $100,000. Winning entries ranged from a commercial plant tissue culture business that uses biotechnology to increase yield and quality of produce for Ethiopian agriculture producers, to a franchise business model that will empower female nurse entrepreneurs to improve access to healthcare and reduce the burden on government hospitals in Ghana. The ADM is an entrepreneurial business program that seeks to boost economic opportunity in Sub-Saharan Africa through sustainable start-up and established enterprises. ADM winners received grants to match their own funds to support the execution of their business plans.


January 12, 2010

Briefing on US Led Naval Operations in Africa (Africa Partnership Station)



Washington, DC - Vice Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr. Deputy Commander U.S. Naval Forces Africa held a media round table at the Washington Foreign Press Center to highlight the activities of the US led Africa Partnership Station, the just ended deployments in four west African nations and an ongoing one in Eastern Africa. In his opening remarks Vice Admiral Harris introduced the mission of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) which are maritime security and safety, international military partnerships and a long term commitment to Africa’s maritime capacity development
through training and other collaborative activities. He explained that all three were important for the prosperity and well being of any nation. “APS has no other agenda other than responding to specific capacity building requests from African nations” he reiterated, to debunk speculations that the US led program may be imposing US ideology on African nations. “APS focuses on building cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services in order to achieve common international goals of stability and security.” With African nations losing billions of dollars each year to illegal fishing, piracy and human trafficking, he stressed the importance of APS’s mission in these times of known piracy and human trafficking acts in Africa and elsewhere.


January 11, 2010

U.S. Observe the Fifth Anniversary of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement



Washington, DC – U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan, Air Force Rtd. Major General Scott Gration led America’s observation of the 5th anniversary of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) - January 9th. The CPA is an agreement that ended the longest running war in Africa, the civil war between the North and the South. “Since 2005, the National Congress Party and the Sudanese People Liberation Movement have made significant progress toward peace. The northern troops pulled out of the South. The ceasefire has largely held. The government of national unity was formed in Khartoum and the regional government of Southern Sudan was created in Juba. The oil wealth has been shared, and the historical grazing rights have been honored. The parties have reached agreements on the border with the disputed area, what we call Abyei. They’ve passed legislation to prepare for the national and legislative elections, the popular consultations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile areas, and the two referenda on self-determination in Abyei and in Southern Sudan. At the same time, peace remains incomplete. There’s not been enough progress on the democratic transformation that was envisioned in the CPA. Violence in the South is too high. And insecurity and lawlessness in Darfur remain much too high also. We will continue to support Sudan’s elections, for they’re an important CPA milestone toward democratic transformation. They are a key stepping stone to credible referenda in January of 2011. Just one year from now, the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei will choose whether to remain part of Sudan or to separate and form an independent country. This will be Africa’s first country in nearly 20 years. The United States is committed to peace in Sudan, and we will provide the leadership and support that’s required to achieve that objective.”


November 5, 2009

President Obama Meets President Ian Khama of Botswana



The White House - President Obama met with Botswana’s President Khama at the Oval office to discuss a range of bilateral issues including environmental, democracy and the African Union. In his remarks to the press President Obama praised Botswana economic success. “Although Botswana is not a large country, it is truly one of the extraordinary success stories in Africa. Since the mid-'60s it has moved on a path of good economic management and outstanding political governance. And as a consequence you have seen extraordinary improvements in living standards over the last 40 years in Botswana that really are an envy for much of the rest of the continent. Not only has Botswana shown itself to be an outstanding success, but it's also been a great partner to the United States, and our governments have cooperated extensively throughout the years.” President Khama spoke about trade, health, and how both countries were tackling the current economic downturn. This meeting was President Obama’s last with an African leader during his first year in office. On May 22, 2009 he held his first such meeting with Tanzania’s President Kikwete.


September 29, 2009

President Atta Mills U.S. Townhall Meeting


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