Monday, August 30, 2010

Trade Talk with Rosa Whitaker - Don't Mischaracterize AGOA, It's Working!

Washington, DC - August 25, 2010. I find it troubling that declaring Agoa's achievements a "disappointment" has gained currency in so many policy circles. It leverages a pernicious line of thinking, one that belittles the significant achievements African countries have made over the last 10 years and perceives polices that support African economic growth as zero-sum. This thinking threatens to undermine what I believe is one of the United States' most successful and cost-effective development assistance programs ever.

I, for one, am not disappointed in the progress made under Agoa over the past 10 years. Exports from Agoa-eligible countries grew over 300% from $21.5 billion in 2000 to $86.1 billion in 2008. Of that, $28 billion was in non-oil exports - automobiles from South Africa, apparel from Lesotho, cut flowers from Kenya, jams and jellies from Swaziland. None of these counted for much in 2000, but now, thanks to Agoa, they and a host of other nascent industries are beginning to make a significant contribution to Africa's prosperity.

That this progress in combating poverty in Africa has been made with a US investment of just $2 million annually in reduced non-oil tariff revenues is an astonishing return on investment. Contrast that to the estimated $6.5 billion in foreign aid to Africa that the US has spent on average each year for the past 50 years - for a total, according to the OECD of $324 billion.

I am struck that the accepted benchmark for judging Agoa's success or lack thereof - repeated by both Alan Beattie in the Financial Times (August 8, 2010) and Secretary Clinton at the Agoa Forum earlier this month - is the disproportionate dominance of petroleum products among Africa's exports. This metric should cause one to question the nature of analysts' "expectations." Given both the political and economic realities of our world, there is no way that Africa - or any other region for that matter - can grow non-oil sectors that rival its oil sector in just 10 years. No other major oil exporter has done so. Moreover, it sweeps under the carpet clear progress. Beattie himself points to the 52% increase in Agoa-supported textile and garment exports in 2009 alone - only to dismiss them as insignificant within the context of the U.S. economy.

One benchmark Agoa should be judged on - but seldom is - is its incredibly positive role in redirecting US policy away from the aid-centered patronage that has long characterized our relationship with Africa. Agoa pushed US policy to focus on partnership with African nations instead of on patronage and to understand the wisdom of country-specific, country-led strategies. By resisting a "recipe" for countries' development, by creating industries that make sense given a country's resources, and by creating the space for countries to expand their economies, Agoa has helped the U.S. work with Africa to grow its own prosperity.

Another benchmark is our ostensible partners' perspective on Agoa's success. African leaders like Kenya's Minister of Trade, Amos Muhinga Kimunya, acknowledge that more can be done to achieve Agoa's full potential. Yet none of them have, or would, term Agoa a failure. What's more, their aspirations for what a fully-realized Agoa could accomplish are not "modest."

While I am encouraged by Secretary Clinton's verbal support for Agoa in her speech at the Agoa Forum, I am disappointed in the Obama Administration for what seems to be a broader demotion of Agoa's role in US/Africa trade policy. Agoa was never meant to be a panacea - in fact, additional initiatives that address very real trade capacity constraints would be broadly welcomed.

This Administration is the first since Agoa's passage not to offer or back further enhancements; so far, the Administration's protests around "re-launching" and "re-imagining" Agoa have yielded no concrete or constructive policy recommendations. Instead Obama Administration officials seem, at best, content to tread water on Agoa and, at worst, to view US/Africa trade policy as a zero-sum game.

On the tenth anniversary of this monumental policy, many African leaders complained about the Administration's tepid treatment of Agoa's achievements, as well as the African leaders who enabled those achievements. In what was widely seen as a rebuke to current leadership, African Ministers and Heads of State were shut out of White House celebrations marking the 50th Anniversary of many African countries' independence. Stunningly, even the African Ambassadors credentialed to the U.S. were excluded from the White House fete marking this important milestone in Africa's history.

I think it's time we lay to rest the idea that Agoa's results are "disappointing." The results are decidedly not disappointing to the 300,000 people who now have steady employment as a result of the legislation, who are consequently able to provide a better future for their dependents. They are not disappointing to those African governments that have made significant progress in laying the groundwork necessary to grow stronger export sectors. They are not disappointing to Africa's growing entrepreneurial and managerial classes who are benefiting in a host of ways from the incentives offered by Agoa. They are not disappointing to foreign investors who continue to bring their capital and skills to Africa precisely because of the promise offered by Agoa. And they are not disappointing to the American taxpayers, who should be confident that their return on investment - which is only a couple of million dollars annually - far outgains the billions spent each year on the aid-industrial complex that has emerged in Washington.

Agoa is working. Those of us working on the ground in Africa know this. By mischaracterizing Agoa as a disappointment, the Obama Administration diminishes its opportunities to build on Agoa's achievements.

I recommend the Obama Administration translate its concerns about Agoa into action and build on what President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush and African leaders worked so hard to achieve. The Administration could enhance Agoa with tax incentives and credits to US companies who invest in sustainable, job-creating sectors in Africa, such as agriculture and manufacturing.

They can increase support to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and make Agoa permanent, as it is due to expire in 2015. Agoa's expiration would otherwise cause a massive hemorrhage of the region's jobs and much-needed capital. These, along with other proposals, have been put before the Administration by African leaders, the Agoa Action Committee and other stakeholders.

A definitive response to these excellent recommendations would be a good first step in the right direction for the Obama Administration.

Trade Talk is a regular column by Rosa Whitaker, president and CEO of The Whitaker Group. She was a hands-on architect of the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the first ever Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa. To read other columns by Rosa Whitaker, visit The Whitaker Group website

Friday, August 27, 2010

Statement by President Obama on the Promulgation of Kenya’s New Constitution


Office of the Press Secretary
August 27, 2010

I congratulate Kenya on the promulgation of the new constitution, which was approved by a majority of voters on August 4, 2010. This historic approval and signing of the constitution is an important step forward, and demonstrates the commitment of Kenya’s leaders and people to a future of unity, democracy, and equal justice for all – even the powerful. With this Constitution, the people of Kenya have set a positive example for all of Africa and the world.

Today represents a moment of promise for Kenya, similar to the early days of independence – a new moment of promise that must be seized to usher in an era of progress for the Kenyan people. The United States looks forward to partnering with Kenya as it moves through the multi-year process of implementing the new constitution. We share the expectations of the Kenyan people that this process will usher in an era of deepened democracy and expanded economic opportunity for all Kenyans.

I am disappointed that Kenya hosted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in defiance of International Criminal Court arrest warrants for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The Government of Kenya has committed itself to full cooperation with the ICC, and we consider it important that Kenya honor its commitments to the ICC and to international justice, along with all nations that share those responsibilities. In Kenya and beyond, justice is a critical ingredient for lasting peace.

Coordinating Bright Ideas Yields Off-Grid Power in Africa

By Lindsay Madiera

Today, 1.6 billion people worldwide and more than 500 million in Africa lack access to electricity for basic needs such as household cooking and lighting. The number in Africa is expected to rise over the next 20 years to nearly 700 million. These people rely predominantly on fuel-based cooking and lighting (mostly with charcoal, wood, and kerosene) that is inefficient, costly, dangerous, a threat to human health, and a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Lighting consumes the highest percentage of expenses for energy in the home; African consumers spend between $10 billion and $17 billion on kerosene for lighting. To improve this situation, public and private sector partners are modeling a new distributed innovation approach - acting as market makers - to accelerate product innovation that will bring modern off-grid lighting products to this "bottom of the pyramid" population.

Private Sector Cannot Develop the Market on its Own

Advanced modern lighting technologies have the potential to replace kerosene with better consumer products, but substantial barriers block commercial markets for these products in the developing world. Moreover, the private sector is ill equipped to capture the market on its own.

Lighting Africa, a World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) joint program, acts as a partner clearinghouse to facilitate international collaboration to address these problems. Starting with lighting and advancing to additional energy services, Lighting Africa acts as broker between private companies and customers to create markets for better lighting products. By supporting the development of improved products and business models, it helps provide practical, affordable alternatives to kerosene.

An essential role of Lighting Africa is as a "matchmaker" between industry groups and other relevant stakeholders such as non-government organizations (NGOs), local governments, academia, financial institutions, and international development organizations. By matching products to buyers, Lighting Africa helps provide African consumers with modern lighting options at prices they can afford, substantially improving their lives and reducing the impacts of climate change.

Without intervention, a number of barriers that have been addressed through this distributed innovation approach would have inhibited the development of markets for better lighting products in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and other parts of the world:

. Lack of understanding and high transaction costs that deter the private sector from fully appreciating the market opportunities

. Lack of consumer awareness about the benefits of off-grid lighting, resulting in poor consumer purchasing decisions

. Lack of product quality assurance and technical support services, resulting in fewer products and compromised quality

. Policy and regulatory impediments such as import duties, customs issues, and market-distorting subsidies that undermine creation of sustainable markets

. Lack of business support services and access to business networks/partners

. Limited access to finance along the supply chain, undermining purchasing power


Lighting Africa reduces barriers and promotes rapid market acceleration by providing market intelligence and consumer education, business support services, and policy and public sector operations. Two of its most visible services involve providing quality assurance and access to financial assistance.

A multi-pronged approach to quality assurance helps manufacturers design high quality products and protects consumers from buying poor quality ones. Lighting Africa accredits test labs close to manufacturing centers (mostly in Asia) and builds local testing capacity at universities to provide manufacturers access to a "quick screening" of their products. The project also works with local regulators and collaborates with a new International Stakeholder Association to develop a "quality seal" to help buyers make informed decisions.

Lighting Africa partners with commercial financing institutions to educate them about the business opportunities in this sector and supplies them with wholesale capital and risk mitigation tools to guide them in financing participants throughout the supply chain. The project also is considering offering direct financing to organizations such as E+Co and Acumen Fund, which provide funding for specific projects in developing countries.

Partnering with microfinance institutions and leveraging innovations in mobile banking also better enables consumers to finance their purchases of these products. The project's strategy is to create self-sustaining markets that make efficient, carbon friendly products affordable to consumers rather than rely on often limited and short-term donor funding.


Early evidence shows that the project's support has helped accelerate many parts of the market for modern off-grid lighting in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2008, fewer than 10 products were developed specifically for this market; today more than 70 product types manufactured by 50 companies find space on African retail shelves. Also in 2008, products above $50 dominated the market; now many quality products retail between $25 and $50. Manufacturing costs of solar portable lighting are projected to decline by 40 percent per year, largely due to falling solar photovoltaic (PV), battery, and light-emitting diode (LED) prices.

Lighting Africa's success illustrates the direct benefits of a coordinated public-private effort to help nascent industries mature and to achieve full-scale commercialization of new technologies. Lighting Africa also is an excellent example of the important role a neutral international organization can play in facilitating this kind of coordinated action to develop and distribute products that are urgently needed in high-risk environments.

Lindsay Madiera is a consultant for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, where she has been supporting the initiative, Lighting Africa, since its launch in 2007.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ambassador Lyman to Lead Sudan Negotiation Support Unit

Office of the Spokesman
August 25, 2010


Ambassador Princeton N. Lyman to Lead Sudan Negotiation Support Unit

On behalf of Secretary Clinton, I am pleased to announce that retired United States Ambassador Princeton N. Lyman will serve as a part of an expanded United States negotiation team being dispatched to Sudan. Ambassador Lyman and his team will augment and complement the efforts of the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum and U.S. Consulate General in Juba as our diplomatic mission to Sudan assists in the final elements of implementing Sudan's North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Ambassador Lyman joins a robust U.S. leadership team deeply committed to improving the security and humanitarian situation in Sudan. His efforts will directly support those of U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Major General (Retired) Scott Gration, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, Chargé d'Affaires Robert Whitehead in Khartoum, and Consul General Barrie Walkley in Juba.

Ambassador Lyman departed for Sudan yesterday evening, where he will join Special Envoy Gration in Sudan for meetings this week with the Sudanese National Congress Party (NCP), the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Sudan Haile Menkerios, Chairman of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel Thabo Mbeki, and representatives of the Sudan Troika (United Kingdom and Norway).

Source: U.S. Department of State

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Legacy Continues: Leon H. Sullivan Foundation

Africa Policy Forum: September 24-28, Atlanta, GA

Her looks and fashion sense could easily lead you to think she is a either a model or modeling agent in Paris, France, an Advertising Executive in New York or an A-List actress in Hollywood, but she is none of those. Hope Masters is President and CEO of the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, Washington, DC, a less glamorous job and position she has held since 2002 after her father’s passing in 2001. She has dedicated her life to championing the selfless, Africa-focused humanitarian work of her late father, Rev. Dr. Leon H. Sullivan. With the support of Ambassador Andrew Young (board chair), former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and former Mayor of Atlanta, Hope established the Leon Sullivan Foundation to continue and preserve her father’s legacy throughout the next generation. She proudly refers to her work as “the embodiment of a daughter’s love.”

Asked whether she always knew she would step into her father’s big shoes she replied “no, I am a lawyer…I have always worked, I have always been a part of the work. I started working for my father when I was 15 during summers. I have always felt it, I have always been a part of it, I have always loved Africa it’s something that is in you.”

Inspired by the life and principles of Leon H. Sullivan, the Foundation exists to promote the political, entrepreneurial, and intellectual leadership of the African Diaspora and friends of Africa, and to advocate on behalf of Africa and the world’s vulnerable people. The collaborative – styled work is essentially a model of self help and empowerment to the people of Africa. The work of the Foundation revolves around the following pillars and programs.

  • Leon H. Sullivan Summits
  • Global Sullivan Principles
  • Government and Public Advocacy
  • Forums and Town Hall Meetings

Summits: This year, and for the first time ever, the Foundation has organized and scheduled the Africa Policy Forum: A Vision for the 21st Century for the United States. (Atlanta, Georgia), September 24-28. The Forum has been designed to bridge the gap between Africa (ns) and America (ns) and will include sessions and activities like a policy forum on the Obama Administration's policy on Africa, networking opportunities, entertainment, critical education, media panels, health and economic opportunities and live cultural events. The forum hopes to attract members of the African Diaspora. Every two years, the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation convenes thousands of delegates from Africa, America, the Caribbean and Europe to an African country for the Leon H. Sullivan Summit - the largest Diaspora gathering in the world. The Leon H. Sullivan Summit is one of the world’s premier international conferences held on the African Continent.

The Summits were founded by the late Rev. Dr. Leon H. Sullivan and have been held since 1991. Each Summit focuses on building a bridge of opportunity from Africa to the developed world. The organization also uses its relationships with corporate America to access resources for underprivileged communities in Africa. It recently fulfilled a financial pledge to the Manyatta Primary School in Arusha, Tanzania, delivered a large well to the region, provided over 1 million books to Africa, partners with developers to build schools and hospitals and provides medical supplies. Hope Sullivan summarizes the work of the Foundation in terms of advocacy and bridge building between the African-American community in the United States and the African continent. "...We are striving to build the bridge to the continent, over which people travel and opportunity, investment can get to Africa. Our most important role is to reconnect the lost sons and daughters of the continent back home and in that process bring expertise with them..."

After her studies in law at Temple University in 1989, Hope brought her legal training to developing and supporting programs within OIC America (Opportunities Industrialization Center) and IFESH, (International Foundation for Education and Self Help) two of the organizations that her father established. She played a vital role in the planning of the first Leon H. Sullivan Summit and supported the development of the Global Sullivan Principle of Social Responsibility in the early 90s.

Reverend Leon H. Sullivan has long been recognized as a man of unparalleled vision and action. In 1963, Life Magazine cited him as one of the 100 outstanding young adults in the United States, a prophecy which later became true of him around the globe. Born in Charleston, West Virginia, Sullivan became a Baptist minister at age 18 and eventually moved to Philadelphia to become pastor of the Zion Baptist Church in 1950. His exemplary lifetime service to humanity was birthed from the pulpit where he could clearly see the needs of his community and resolved to address it.

In 1971, Dr. Sullivan became the first African American appointed to the Board of Directors of a Fortune 500 company when he accepted a seat on General Motors' board. He used his position with GM to launch an international campaign to reform apartheid in South Africa, developing the Sullivan Principles, a code of conduct for human rights and equal opportunity for companies operating in South Africa. The Sullivan Principles are considered one of the most effective efforts to end discrimination against blacks in the workplace in South Africa, thus directly contributing to the dismantling of apartheid. In 1988, Reverend Sullivan retired from Zion Baptist Church and moved on with his vision to provide a model of self-help and empowerment to the people of Africa. He began using his talent for bringing world leaders together to find solutions to international issues through the establishment of the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH).

In the late 1990s, Rev. Sullivan brought world and business leaders together to expand the successful Sullivan Principles into the Global Sullivan Principles of Social Responsibility. In November 1999, at a special meeting at the United Nations Headquarters, Sullivan and then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan formally introduced these new principles to the corporate world. The aim of the Global Sullivan Principles was to improve human rights, social justice and economic fairness in every country, throughout the world. A man of courage, a servant of the people and above all a man of God, Leon H. Sullivan devoted his life to the well being of others. Reverend Sullivan passed away on April 24, 2001.

In addition to holding honorary doctorate degrees from over 50 colleges and universities, Reverend Sullivan was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 by President George H. W. Bush, honoring him for his “voice of reason for over forty years” and a lifetime of work in helping the economically and socially disadvantaged people in the world. In December 1999 he received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award from President Bill Clinton who recognized his humanitarian efforts around the world. Reverend Sullivan authored several books including: America is Theirs, Build Brother Build, Philosophy of a Giant, Alternatives to Despair and his last book in 1998, Moving Mountains. A 2001 documentary film “A Principled Man: Rev. Leon Sullivan" details the roots and accomplishments of the Reverend Sullivan. He will be dearly missed during this year’s Forum in Atlanta.

# # #

Saturday, August 14, 2010

U.S. Government Statement On Presidential Elections In Rwanda

Re-Elected President Paul Kagame

National Security Council Spokeman Mike Hammer Expresses Concern on the National Elections In Rwanda

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
August 13, 2010

We congratulate the people of Rwanda on their national elections on August 9. We note reports from the National Electoral Commission that official results have been tallied and President Paul Kagame won reelections with roughly 93% of the vote.

We remain concerned, howwever, about a series of disturbing events prior to the election, including the suspension of two newspapers, the expulsion of a human rights reseacher, the barring of two oppposition parties from taking part in the election, and the arrest of journalists.

Democracy is about more than holding elections. A democracy reflects the will of the people, where minority voices are heard and respected, where opposition candidates run on the issues without threat or intimidation, where freedom of expression and freedom of the press are protected.

No one should underestimate the enormous challenges born of the genocide in 1994. Rwanda's progress in the face of these challenges has been remarkable, and is a testameent to the people of Rwanda. Rwanda's stabiity and growing prosperity, however, will be difficult to sustain in the absense of broad political debate and open participation.

# # #

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

African Trade Ministers Visit Kansas City Board of Trade

AGOA Forum attendees see firsthand the importance of commodity exchanges

By Charles W. Corey

Kansas City, Missouri - African government officials attending the ninth annual U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum - better known as the AGOA Forum - visited the Kansas City Board of Trade August 5. The board trades more than 10 billion bushels of hard red winter wheat annually and sets the benchmark price worldwide for that key commodity, which is the primary ingredient for bread in many countries.

In an interview with, Deborah J. Bollman, assistant vice president for marketing at the board, said the visit represents a "wonderful opportunity to have African visitors here ... to be exposed to how we run a futures and options exchange in the heart of America for the bread wheat" that is grown in America's heartland.

Bollman said Nigeria, Egypt and Jordan are some of the exchange's biggest customers. Last year, Nigeria alone imported some $80 billion of U.S. wheat, making wheat imports the second-largest business sector in that country behind petroleum.

It is at the Kansas City Board of Trade in Kansas City, Missouri, Bollman said, "where price discovery is established ... all based on supply and demand," where the true value of the product - hard red winter wheat - is determined in a transparent, open marketplace.

Wheat is traded on the exchange in bushels. Each bushel contains 35.23 liters of wheat. Forty-two percent of all wheat produced in the United States is hard red winter wheat.

Bernardo Vimpi, a Kansas City Board of Trade intern who is Angolan and attending a local college, said the board plays an important role. "You have to have organizations like the K.C. Board of Trade that are willing to do such a tremendous job in helping to determine the price worldwide," and structure the orderly handling, pricing and sale of such commodities.

While at the exchange, the government ministers viewed a video presentation and then walked onto the open trading floor to witness wheat being traded.

Wheat is traded at the board of trade in what are called trading pits, tiered areas where colorfully attired traders stand and trade the wheat either electronically on laptop devices or verbally by what they call "open outcry," where they shout buy and sell orders to each other in a frenzy or gesture with sign language. The traders wear brightly colored jackets so they can be easily spotted from afar and identified by their companies, fellow traders and exchange officials.

This system allows transparent price setting for red hard winter wheat, providing some price predictability so large baking companies and buyers of the commodity can lock in prices for wheat that is milled into flour for bread and pastries.

The Kansas City Board of Trade was organized in 1856 by a group of Kansas City merchants. Initially, it served a function similar to that of a chamber of commerce. Located on the northern border between Kansas and Missouri and at the junction of two rivers, Kansas City is situated in one of the most productive wheat-growing regions of the world. Original members of the board met on the banks of the Missouri River to develop a more organized method of buying and selling grain.

Alfred Mahamadu Braimah, director of private sector investment for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, spoke with following his tour of the board. He called his visit "a major eye opener."

"I think one of the main challenges we have in West Africa is making farming into a business, and embedded into that, the challenge is having a regulatory type of exchange where the forces of supply and demand can be brought into place to determine price."

"That [type of exchange] would bring transparency to the whole pricing process and ... will also enable farmers to forecast way ahead of time what kind of revenues they are going to get and therefore what kind of cost structures they need to be profitable."

Braimah said the private sector is truly the pivot point and platform for economic efficiency. "Government cannot do that all alone. What government can do is to provide the enabling environment."

"The broad bulk of the people - especially within the ECOWAS area - will fall within the private sector group ... more than 70 percent of the population. The only way that you can address all the issues of poverty and all the issues of food security, etc., [is] to create a platform for this large, massive population" that will continue to move the region toward greater economic development.

Braimah said what he saw at the Kansas City Board of Trade "reinforces the thinking process within the ECOWAS Commission that we will need a commodity exchange for our own agricultural products," to allow for the mobility of those products across the region and to allow farmers to see pricing in a transparent way that minimizes opportunities for fraud by intermediate agents. Fifteen West African states are members of the ECOWAS Commission.

Following their tour of the board, the ministers heard a presentation from a group of America's land-grant universities, which were established in the 19th century to help teach agriculture, science and engineering. The theme of the presentation was that the American farmer has been successful because he or she works not alone but within a broad network of partners, from the universities and extension services to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Commodity markets like the Kansas City Board of Trade function as part of that network.

The ninth annual AGOA Forum held sessions in Washington before moving to Kansas City for two days of meetings August 5 and 6.

Source: U.S. Department of State

Friday, August 6, 2010

Secretary Clinton & Nigerian Foreign Minister Ajumogobia Hold Bilateral Meeting


Office of the Spokesman

August 5, 2010


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

And Nigerian Foreign Minister Henry Odein Ajumogobia

August 5, 2010

Treaty Room

Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well good morning everyone, and I want to start by welcoming the minister here. I had a wonderful visit to Nigeria a year ago this month and have stayed in close touch with my counterparts there and have been delighted by the creation and operation of our Binational Commission. And this is another example of our close cooperation and partnership.

Before I begin on what I’d like to say about Nigeria, I’d like to offer a few comments about Kenya. Yesterday we watched with great interest as Kenyans went to the polls to cast their votes on a new constitution. This was the first time that Kenyans have participated in a national poll since the violence that followed the disputed 2007 presidential election. Constitutional reform is the centerpiece of the reform agenda that Kenya has adopted for itself. It is aimed at addressing the underlying causes of violence, and I commend the people of Kenya for participating in large numbers and exercising their right to vote in a peaceful manner.

While the final results are not in, it appears that about two-thirds of Kenyans have voted in favor of their new constitution. This is an indication that a very strong majority of Kenyans have voted for fundamental change. And we were supporters of both sides of the constitutional debate and, in fact, we urge all Kenyans to reach out to each other, to work together after this referendum to support Kenya’s democratic institutions and to move the country forward into the kind of future that Kenyans themselves deserve. And they can rest assured that the United States will continue to be a friend and partner to help build that future.

Now, the foreign minister comes here from Nigeria during a week of meetings and gatherings, starting in Washington and now having gone on to Kansas City. Devoted to strengthening the relationship between the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, we are working to expand our business and trade links. We are listening and learning from African leaders, and we welcome this opportunity to build upon one of our most important bilateral relationships.

Today, the foreign minister and I had a very productive meeting. Nigeria is a key strategic partner, not only in Africa but globally. It is Africa’s most populous nation, its largest democracy, a significant contributor to peacekeeping efforts across the continent, a crucial partner for economic growth, trade and direct investment with the United States. About one million Nigerians live, study, and work in the United States, providing important people-to-people connections. So today I want to reaffirm how much we value our relationship with Nigeria and how much we both, I believe, can benefit from closer cooperation.

When I visited Nigeria last year, I saw firsthand the strength and determination of the Nigerian people, their absolute commitment to achieving a stable and democratic future even amidst a lot of challenges. We were saddened by the illness and passing of their president earlier this year, but encouraged by the timely and peaceful succession of President Jonathan. The Nigerian people deserve a responsible government that rejects corruption, enforces the rule of law, respects human rights, and works on behalf of the betterment of the Nigerian people. That is the driving principle behind the U.S.-Nigerian Binational Commission. We are focusing on four critical areas: good governance and transparency, energy reform and investment, regional security and the Niger Delta, and food security and agriculture.

The group on good governance, transparency, and integrity has already begun working together in preparation for Nigeria’s upcoming 2011 elections.

The United States and United Kingdom are jointly committed to working with civil society groups on voter education and election monitoring, and Under Secretary Maria Otero will return to Nigeria at the end of this month to follow-up on election preparations with the Independent National Election Commission.

In June, the energy and investment working group also met to discuss electricity generation and managing Nigeria’s energy resources, including gas, oil, and renewables. Revenue from Nigeria’s oil reserves should be used to promote sustainable, broad-based prosperity for all Nigerians. And today I was very pleased to inform the foreign minister that the United States will provide $1.5 million in technical support to help meet Nigeria’s power sector priorities.

And today I am pleased to announce the next step in our Binational Commission focusing on our third priority.

So this September, the Niger Delta and regional security working group will convene here in Washington to discuss ways to resolve the grievances of people living in the Niger Delta and strengthen our coordination on regional security issues, which the minister and I discussed, particularly in the Gulf of Guinea. Strong institutions and sound strategies for economic development, infrastructure, environmental protection, and the delivery of social services are necessary for progress in the Niger Delta.

So we are making a lot of progress together, and we’ll continue to work with Nigeria. Nigeria will be celebrating 50 years of independence October 1st. And we applaud the Nigerian people for all that you have accomplished during the past 50 years. We want to work with you to build on the success so that it becomes even more of a success story. And thank you again, Minister, for your leadership and your partnership on these important matters.

FOREIGN MINISTER AJUMOGOBIA: Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton. And I’m really delighted to be here, and I want to thank you for a very warm reception and for the partnership. The Binational Commission is an important landmark for us in Nigeria in terms of the relationship between Nigeria and the United States. It, I think, will elevate and deepen the relationship our two countries have.

I have come with a message of open optimism from Nigeria. We are – we have a new government that’s stable, and I think I should also acknowledge the role the United States played in bringing about that stability and President Jonathan. And he has committed to what you described about Kenya. That’s what we want for ourselves in Nigeria, free and fair elections in which every vote counts. And the president has committed to this and has taken steps to demonstrate that commitment.

We have a new electoral law; the Electoral Law 2010 that’s been passed that provides a new framework that will support free and fair elections in Nigeria. We have a new electoral commission headed by a man of integrity. It’s very unusual to find one individual that no one criticizes. But we managed to do that with Professor Jega who is the new chairman of the – our new independent electoral commission.

We’re on course for the new time table for the elections. That suggests that the elections will take place sometime in January, 2011. It’s a tight time frame and a lot has to be done in that time. But we are on course and I will say again on behalf of our president that we will meet the benchmarks – global benchmarks for credible elections.

The other issue we talked about, the Niger Delta, which is – I happen to come from that region. And so I’m particularly interested in ensuring peace and security and prosperity in the region that produces the commodity that has sustained Nigeria’s economy for 50 years.

I look forward to the meeting in Washington in June. I hope to be able to look in on that meeting and hope that we can make as much progress in that area as we have done with the other meetings on good governance, transparency, integrity, and energy and investment. I hope that our partnership will endure and that we will be able to build on what we have. The elections, of course, are an important milestone and I want to assure you all that we’re committed to ensuring free and fair elections.

Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Minister. (Applause.)

MR. CROWLEY: We have time for questioning (inaudible).

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. I want to ask you about two stories that are in the news this week. The first on is UAE. They’ve announced recently that they’re considering banning all Blackberry service. And since then, several other countries have followed suit. It seems like it’s starting to snowball. You’ve spoken out quite a bit about advancing technology, about freedom of information. What’s your reaction to this and are you engaging your counterparts on this?

And then one other story that’s also big this week is the anniversary of Hiroshima. The

U.S. is sending a delegation there – an official delegation for the first time. Why now? What’s the significance of this year if you just could talk a little bit about that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have been in touch with our partners in the UAE on this matter. It involves a very complex set of issues that we’re working on with other countries as well. We are taking time to consult and analyze the full range of interests and issues at stake because we know that there is a legitimate security concern, but there’s also a legitimate right of free use and access. So I think we will be pursuing both technical and expert discussions as we go forward.

With respect to Hiroshima and anniversary of the atomic bomb, this President, President Obama, is very committed to working toward a world without nuclear weapons. He has said many times that he recognizes this is a long-term goal. It is something that will take years of effort by leaders and citizens who recognize the importance of denuclearizing our planet. It’s one of the reasons why we pursued the outcome that we reached with the START Treaty, why we worked hard on the nonproliferation treaty review conference at the United Nations, why in general this is an issue in our foreign policy. And I think that the Obama Administration and President Obama himself believed that it would be appropriate for us to recognize this anniversary and so has proceeded to do so.

MR. CROWLEY: (Inaudible) from Nigeria TV.


QUESTION: My question is focused on Nigeria’s democracy. And it’s obvious that the leadership desires to have a sustained democracy in Nigeria. But I want to know in what areas the United States really wants to assist Nigeria to make sure that it’s credible and sustained. I’m worried about a sustained democracy in Nigeria. In what area will the United States assist?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as the minister and I discussed, the United States has offered assistance and we stand ready to be of help in any way that is appropriate. We’re working with the United Kingdom on some of the preparations for the elections. But ultimately, we recognize that the sustainability of democracy lies in the hands of the Nigerian people.

I am very optimistic about Nigeria’s future. I think Nigeria has a tremendous potential. But I do believe over the last 50 years – 30 of which, as the minister reminded me, were under military rule – has undermined the progress that the Nigerian people are capable of making for themselves.

So the appointment of the new election commission, the appointment of a well-respected chair, the steps that he and the commission are taking, the commitment by President Jonathan to a free, fair, credible election, all of those are very important commitments and we’re going to stand ready to assist in any way that we can. Because we want for Nigeria what you have described – a sustainable democracy, elections that are free, fair, and credible, and then strong democratic institutions.

FOREIGN MINISTER AJUMOGOBIA: And if I might add to that, I see elections in Nigeria, free and fair elections in Nigeria, are in Nigeria’s own interest. The commitment is not because the United States has asked us to do this, but because it’s in our own interest to do so. We welcome whatever support in terms of training, training support for those who ad hoc (inaudible) personnel who are going to be conducting elections. We welcome support in logistics. It’s a large country. The United States is a large country, there’s a lot of experience that you have in conducting elections over a very long period. We haven’t had that tradition for much of our – much of the last 50 years.

But I see this in the context of a condition precedent, if you like, for us to deepen the relationships we have with the United States. And so we will do what we have to do to ensure that we are respected and that our processes are respected, and so that our leadership is respected.


MR. CROWLEY: Thank you.

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President Obama's Statement On Constitutional Referendum In Kenya


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 5, 2010

Statement by the President on the Constitutional Referendum in Kenya

The United States congratulates the Kenyan people and government on the holding of a peaceful, transparent, and credible constitutional referendum. This was a significant step forward for Kenya's democracy, and the peaceful nature of the election was a testament to the character of the Kenyan people. My Administration has been pleased to support Kenya's democratic development and the Kenyan people, including through the visit of Vice President Biden earlier this year.

The overwhelming approval of the proposed new constitution reflects the desire of the Kenyan people to put their country on a path toward improved governance, greater stability, and increased prosperity. As it is fully implemented, the new constitution can play a decisive role in achieving these objectives in a way which benefits all Kenyans.

Kenyans across the political, social, and ethnic spectrum now have a chance to come together to support implementation through an inclusive dialogue. Reaching out to one another, Kenyans will be able to take advantage of this historic opportunity to move their country forward. As Kenya’s close friend and partner, the United States will work with the international community to support the implementation process, and to stand with the Kenyan people as they reach for a better future.


Secretary Clinton on Code d'Ivoire's Independence Day


Office of the Spokesman

August 5, 2010


Cote d’Ivoire’s Independence Day

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I congratulate the people of Cote d’Ivoire as you celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of your independence this August 7.

Cote d’Ivoire has made great progress in the last few years in resolving the complex challenges that come with a diverse population. On this historic occasion, you can reflect with pride on the tolerance, hard work and determination that helped your country become a leader in West Africa. These same values can also be the foundations for a successful future. The United States supports the people of Cote d’Ivoire’s aspirations for renewed democracy, and we share your eagerness for elections that will help move the country beyond political stalemate to lasting unity. Political stability and the rule of law are vital building blocks for a prosperous and sustainable future.

I wish all Ivoirians a safe and joyous Independence Day and reaffirm the commitment of the United States to our enduring friendship. May this year be the beginning of a new era of peace and prosperity in Cote d’Ivoire.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Remarks By Secretary Clinton To Young African Leaders


Office of the Spokesman

For Immediate Release August 3, 2010


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

At The President’s Forum with Young African Leaders

August 3, 2010

Loy Henderson Auditorium

Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all so much. I am thrilled to see you. I had to come back to work to recover from my daughter’s wedding. (Laughter.) And one of the reasons I came back was because I wanted the chance to welcome each and every one of you here to the State Department, and to tell you how excited we are to be hosting this Young Leaders Forum.

Now, I know that later this afternoon, you will have the unique opportunity to go to the White House and to meet with President Obama. And I think from what you heard already today and the comments of my friend and extraordinary Assistant Secretary for Africa, Johnnie Carson, this Administration, from the top, is very committed to, concerned about Africa, and especially about Africa’s future, because we know that it is people like all of you and others who are not in this room today who will determine what Africa’s future will be.

I see Africa as a continent brimming with potential, a place that has so much just waiting to be grasped. Sixty percent of the population of Africa is under the age of 25. And that means that there’s a lot of work to be done to make sure that those young people are educated, are healthy, are motivated, are given the tools of opportunity. But it also means that Africa has not just the potential, but the promise of becoming a leader in innovation, in design, in creativity of all that you, your families, communities, and countries can become.

Now, people in this room have already started businesses. You have started NGOs, you have made films, you have helped to make peace, you have worked with at-risk youth, you have cared for people living with HIV/AIDS, you have fought to end mistreatment of some of Africa’s most vulnerable citizens. You have looked for solutions close to home. And you have seen unprecedented progress in your own lifetimes. Poverty and child mortality have declined across much of the continent. Primary school enrollment is up. Ghana, Botswana, South Africa, and others have all recently held elections that were models of freeness and fairness.

Across Africa, more citizens believe they now have the power and the duty to shape their own lives, to help their communities, to hold their governments accountable. So for all of the challenges, which we hear much about, I want to focus on these gains, because it is through this positive progress that we can motivate and incentivize even more to take place. And ultimately, it is up to you. The President and I very much believe in Africa’s promise and we can do what’s possible from afar to assist and to be front-row cheerleaders, if you will. But ultimately, it is up to you, and to citizens like you to make sure that we sustain and deepen the progress.

Every child, boy and girl, deserves to go as far as his or her God-given talents and potential and hard work will take that child. That means education is a right, not a luxury. It means that the best education must be made available to as many young people as possible. It means that every pregnant woman receives prenatal care and assistance for labor and delivery so the child that is brought into the world has a good start. It means that everyone has a safe environment – a house, a roof over one’s head, a fair wage for the work that is done, and that everyone is free to follow his or her conscience in religion and politics to express an opinion without fear of being marginalized, silenced, or worse. We believe that you have the talents, the determination and the ability to bring these dreams to fruition.

When President Obama spoke to the parliament of Ghana a year ago he said, Africa’s future is up to Africans. And he pledged then to work with Africa’s leaders and citizens as friends and partners in a spirit of mutual respect and accountability. We stand ready to be your partners.

What does partnership mean? Well, it means that we have to change the way we pursue development. We have to work harder to expand trade and we have to encourage more trade among African countries yourselves. It means we have to improve private sector competitiveness. Many of you have had the privilege of traveling. You’ve been to Europe. You’ve now been to the United States. You’ve seen the diaspora from your countries and you often see how successful they are. We want that success to be right where you live and to break down the barriers that still exist. (Applause.)

We want to help you modernize how you deliver and create clean energy, how you get more value for agriculture which is still the life blood and the source of income for most people in Sub-Saharan Africa. We want to help you strengthen democratic institutions. Elections are great, but that’s only one part of democracy – free press, independent judiciary, respect for human rights and the rights of minorities, giving everybody a stake in their own society. We want to support women and girls to be full participants in their communities and countries. (Applause.) We want to redouble our global efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis, malaria. We want to respond to food scarcity and soaring food prices and growing populations with a multi-billion dollar initiative to help eradicate hunger and achieve food security. We want to join with you to fight against climate change, which will be devastating to Africa.

Meanwhile, we want to be sure that your voices are heard on the global stage. Johnnie was referring to my trips to Africa as First Lady. And I recognized then how much work there still was to be done to educate people in my own country about Africa.

I held a roundtable for members of the White House Press Corps, and this was probably in – I don’t know, 1997 or ’98 – and one of the first questions that one of the reporters asked me – he said, what’s the capital of Africa? (Laughter.) I thought, oh, do I have a lot of work to do. (Laughter.) And we’ve made a lot of progress there, too – (laughter) but we have a long way to go. Because you know so well that when people think too often of Africa, they think of all the tragedies, the conflicts. We want people to see a more comprehensive picture.

This forum, along with the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, and the AGOA Forum taking place here in Washington and in Kansas City, Kansas, this week will help link African and American leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, investors, and especially young people. And we are inviting you to take advantage of that. We designed this forum not to be a one-time event; we want to create the connections that you will continue to exploit, to think about how you can tap into whatever help and skills, references and ideas that you can get from us.

We want you to take advantage of this when you go home, when you return, and maybe begin to think anew about how you can be more effective. And your generation of young Africans has already pioneered information technologies. You are connecting and empowering people in ways that we couldn’t have dreamed of even five, let alone ten years ago. For example, Ushahidi crisis management platform has become a digital tool for social change all over the world.

Ushahidi was developed by young Kenyans to map reports of violence after the election of 2007. And a lot of the young Kenyans we invited were unable to come because they’re staying to vote and to work on behalf of the constitution that will be voted on very soon. This new network has been used by citizen election monitors to help prevent fraud and violence in Burundi, India, Sudan, Guinea, Namibia. It’s revolutionizing and empowering what citizens can do without permission, just on their own. We have seen the way that sophisticated mobile communications tools have also been used in Kenya to educate and empower voters in the lead-up to the referendum on its new constitution tomorrow.

Good ideas leapfrog languages and borders. Technology created and deployed first in Africa was used by U.S. Marines in Haiti to help rescue earthquake victims, and by a Louisiana environmental group tracking efforts to clean up the Gulf oil spill We are working hard to convey that our relationship with Africa is not a one-way street. We expect to benefit. We expect to learn. We expect to look to you for models and ideas of what we can do better ourselves.

So to ensure that new technologies are used more for good – and not for ill – we have promised to work with partners in industry, academia, and NGOs to try to harness the power of connection technologies to help you spur economic, political, and social progress.

The United States has now joined with three local partners to sponsor a contest called “Apps-4-Africa” – A-p-p-s dash 4, the number, dash Africa. Software developers in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania have proposed applications for everything from educational games for mobile phones, to interactive maps that can track shortages of blood or medicines, to a mass texting app that could broadcast emergency information to rural villages. The winning apps will be announced in September. And we hope to catalyze these collaborations between technical experts and leaders of civil society to develop practical solutions that will improve people’s lives.

This concept of leapfrogging holds such great promise for Africa. You already have. You didn’t have to put up telephone poles, you went right to cell phones in many parts of Africa. Your electric grid doesn’t have to be massive. It can be local and regional and provide sources of energy from wind and solar as well as fossil fuels. We stand ready to help in any way we can.

I often say that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. Africa has no shortage of ideas, innovations, or entrepreneurial drive. We want this conference to be a start, where we work with you to help you create the conditions in which your ideas can be translated into real-life solutions for Africa and beyond.

I know you’ve been going to workshops and you’ve been talking to one another, and we will maintain a kind of nerve center after this forum to stay in touch with you, to provide assistance if you request it, to connect you up with other people.

It’s part of how we’re trying to redefine diplomacy, development, and statecraft in the 21st century. We recently held an entrepreneurship summit in Washington where we invited young business people from predominantly Muslim-majority countries that are lagging way behind in unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of their people. And I think people came in part because they got a free trip to Washington, but also they were curious, wondering kind of what we were up to. But what we were up to was trying to empower them as we now are trying to empower you.

We’re looking for leaders who know that empowering citizens is something that is in everyone’s best interests. The world in which we live in today – top-down hierarchical power – is not sustainable. Oh, it can stay in place for years, but eventually, it is not sustainable. There are just too many ways people are going to get too much information. And technology is going to blow the doors down on governments.

One of my hopes is that we can move toward e-government in Africa, so that you can get more quickly whatever documents you need to start that business, or to register that car, and you don’t have to go through a lot of hands to do it. We’re looking for those kinds of ideas and we want to help you bring them to fruition and then take them to scale.

I’m very excited about what’s possible with your generation in Africa. But you know as well as I that you’re here in part because you’ve already succeeded. And many of you would have the option to go nearly anywhere in the world to pursue your dreams. But you’re here because you care about the future of your families, your communities, your countries. And I urge you to stay with it. Change is not easy. And for many who try it, it can become very frustrating and even discouraging. But it is so worthy an effort, commensurate with your talents and your dedication.

You are educated beyond the average education of most of the people that you know or that you can watch as you drive down the road. You’re here because you had the opportunities and you took them. What we want to help you do is to set forth your vision and then realize it. Because it will not be just for you – although I hope every one of you becomes successful in whatever enterprise you choose to pursue – but it will help to open doors and not go over obstacles, so that people will look at you, especially people younger than you, and believe that they too have a chance for a different future.

Godspeed as you go out from this forum back to your homes, I hope, energized and knowing that no matter how hard it is, you have friends and partners who are rooting for your success.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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