Monday, January 30, 2012

Deputy Secretary Burns Completes Week-Long Trip to Africa

Office of the Spokesperson

January 30, 2012

Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns wrapped up his week-long visit to Africa today in Ethiopia. As head of the U.S. delegation to the African Union Summit, he met yesterday and today with a number of leaders in Addis Ababa, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, South Sudanese President Kiir, Sudanese Foreign Minister Karti, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles, Libyan Prime Minister al-Keeb, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang, and Kenyan Foreign Minister Wetangula. Over the weekend, the Deputy Secretary was in Uganda, where he met with Ugandan President Museveni and visited a public-private partnership at Wagagai, one of more than a hundred clinics that the United States supports in Uganda to provide preventive care and comprehensive maternal and child health services. He also traveled on January 28 to South Sudan, where he met with a number of senior officials including Vice President Machar.

Throughout his meetings at the African Union, as well as in Ghana, Uganda, and South Sudan, the Deputy Secretary highlighted our ongoing commitment to work with African partners to support gains in democratic governance, sustainable development, economic growth, and the peaceful resolution of conflict. His discussions also covered a range of security, political and humanitarian challenges facing the continent. The Deputy Secretary expressed deep concern regarding the Government of Sudan’s continued denial of humanitarian access to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and also underscored the need for Sudan and South Sudan to quickly reach agreement on oil and related financial issues. Various leaders he met with expressed concern about the growing threat posed to Nigeria and the region by Boko Haram. The Deputy Secretary stressed that the United States will continue to support the Government of Nigeria on this and other challenges facing the country. On Somalia, the Deputy Secretary noted U.S. support for the work of the African Union Mission in Somalia and the need for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to make steady and sustained progress on the Roadmap in advance of the end of the TFG’s mandate in August. The Deputy Secretary highlighted ongoing U.S. collaboration and partnership with the African Union on a broad range of issues, and assured leaders of the U.S. commitment to continue to assist the African Union in augmenting its capacity to address the many opportunities and challenges facing the continent.

In Ghana, Uganda, and Ethiopia, The Deputy Secretary took the time to engage with a cross section of young leaders, entrepreneurs, and civil society activists engaged in every sector of society. The Deputy Secretary’s visit, coming on the heels of the Secretary’s visit to West Africa last week, reaffirms the high priority that the Obama Administration attaches to Africa, and the special emphasis the United States has placed on engaging the continent’s next generation of leaders.

# # #

New African Union Headquarters Unveiled In Addis Ababa

Bronze Statue of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Unveiled At New AU Headquaters

Left to Right) Pres. Rawlings, Samia Nkrumah, Pres. Mills, Prof. Nkrumah, Hon. Muhammad Mumuni

January 28, 2012
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The President of Ghana, John Evans Atta Mills on Saturday unveiled the statue of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President at the forecourt of the new African Union (AU) building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was assisted by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, out-going Chairman of the AU, and Dr. Jean Ping, Chairman of the African Union Commission. The unveiling was done moments after the building was inaugurated. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns lead a high-level Government delegation to the 18th African Union (AU) Summit.

Cast in bronze, the 3. 5 metre statue of Dr. Nkrumah who was overthrown in a coup in 1966 depicts the late leader wearing a short sleeve shirt in an African design with a pair of trousers and shoes to match. The first president of Ghana had raised his right hand with a short walking stick in the left hand, with the head raised and looking into the heavens. Underneath the statue is the inscription: “Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God, Africa must unite,” a statement on the founding of the predecessor of the AU, the Organization of African Unity in May 1963. The unveiling of the statue was in recognition of the leaders of the 54-nation continental body of the leading role of Dr. Nkrumah in the African liberation struggle.

President Mills was the Guest of Honor at the ceremony, which was performed in the presence of a number of African leaders attending the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU. The ceremony was also attended by Professor Francis Nkrumah, a medical biologist and Madam Samia Nkrumah, Chairperson of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), children of Dr. Nkrumah, who were invited by President Mills to the ceremony. Also in attendance were former President Jerry John Rawlings, Mr. Alan Kyerematen of the largest minority New Patriotic Party, Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse, former Special Advisor to former President John Agyekum Kufuor, Dr. Don Arthur of the Office of the President, and Mr. Kwesi Quartey, Ghana’s Ambassador to Ethiopia.

Dr. Nkrumah was a founding member of the Organization of African Unity, now the AU, as well as the Pan Africanist Movement. The brain behind the statue is Dr. Don Arthur, an architect and a sculptor. Work was done on it by Mamphey Developers in Accra, when the Government of Ghana insisted to the AU for the statue to be done in Ghana.

Shedding tears of joy, Prof. Nkrumah told the Ghana News Agency that the unveiling of the statue was a significant honor to the memory of his father and his family. He described the moment as historic, and said the family was very proud of the recognition given to their father, and proud of being a Ghanaian. Samia, who said the representation of the family at the ceremony was fair, expressed happiness about the event, describing it as a restoration of the previous recognition given to Dr. Nkrumah. She however called for Africa’s emancipation to go beyond politics to the economic, stressing more on intra African trade from the current 10 per cent.

Mr. Kyerematen, described the event as historical and very symbolic and called for the review of the notes by people who do not acknowledge Nkrumah as a great African. He said Nkrumah inspires vision and hope for Ghana and called for more commitment to the national cause as a people with one destiny. Mrs. Chinery-Hesse said the statue of Nkrumah was a symbolic continuation of the journey to free Africa. She said the lesson that could be learned was for hard work, which would be recognized at the right time. Dr. Don Arthur said the greatness of Nkrumah has led to the celebration, not only for himself, but also to Ghana, Africa and the rest of the world.

In 2009, African leaders accepted the proposal of President Mills to declare September 21, the birthday of Nkrumah as Founders Day.

Story by AMIP News & Ghana News Agency


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ghanaian Statesman,Nduom, Speaks About Democracy & U.S. – Ghana Relations

By Frederick Nnoma-Addison
January 25, 2012

Washington, DC – Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom has raised the bar for democracy in Ghana by challenging Ghanaians to “aspire for an American or European standard of democracy instead of an African standard.” Speaking from his Washington, DC office, the influential statesman, politician & entrepreneur who has a very competitive resume from the United said that he expects more from Ghanaians and will not settle for mediocrity even as the nation prepares for presidential and parliamentary elections in December this year. “This year’s elections will be keenly contested; it will set new standards, test our democratic resolve and be another defining moment in our history, and I urge all Ghanaians to demand high standards from government officials and each other.”

As the 2006 Minister of State and primary technical expert who helped Ghana secure and appropriate a $547 million grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation in the United States, he stressed the importance of Ghana-U.S. relations and said that both Ghana and the United States need to review their bilateral relations and determine the direction of the new phase, in view of new players like China. “Our formal, intergovernmental relationship needs greater understanding. I think that America must redefine its friendship with Ghana since Ghana is of strategic importance to the United States…On an individual basis U.S.-Ghana relations is thriving, Ghanaians are as much a part of American society as are Americans. The relations that individuals have in either country must end up opening doors for individuals and communities both in America and Ghana, like it did for me personally when I first came to the United States on an American Field Service (AFS) year-long scholarship in the 70’s, prior to my secondary school education in Ghana.”

Papa Kwesi Nduom was born in Elmina, Central Region of Ghana. He attended St. Augustine’s College (secondary school) in Ghana and returned to the United States for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics (1975), a Master’s degree in Management (1977) and a Ph.D (Service Delivery Systems) in 1982, all from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He started work as a life insurance underwriter with the North Western Mutual Life Insurance Company between 1975 and 1978. The following year he worked with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin. In 1979, he joined the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District as a Budget and Management Analyst and then joined Deloitte and Touche as an associate consultant in 1981, rising to become a partner in the Milwaukee office of the firm by 1986 before being transferred to Washington, DC. Nduom eventually returned to Ghana via a consulting assignment with the Ashanti Gold Company. In 1992, he helped establish Deloitte & Touche, Ghana and consequently in West Africa and retired as the board chairman for the Africa region.

During President Kufuor’s administration (2001-2009) Dr. Nduom served as Energy and Public Sector Reform minister between 2001 and 2007 and oversaw Ghana’s contract with Kosmos Energy, a U.S. oil and gas exploration firm at the helm of oil drilling in Ghana. In 2008, he was nominated to become the Convention People’s Party’s (CPP) nominee for the presidential election. Asked why he continues to pursue political ambitions when he got an insignificant percentage of votes during the 2008 presidential elections, he explained that public service still remains one of the best platforms to make a positive impact in the lives of millions of people.

“I don’t have to organize a political party at this time but I chose to do so because it has merits for Ghana and our democratic process. Despite my commitments to my expansive business enterprises I will still devote time and resources to help promote our multi party democracy and our nation.”

Today, through a consortium of private business enterprises, he provides gainful employment for at least 2000 Ghanaians among several other opportunities and continues to be an advocate for a prosperous and developing Ghana, worth living in. “My ultimate goal is to help establish an entrepreneurial culture in Ghana and my companies in all 10 regions of the country is the evidence.”

After failing to clinch the CPP flag bearership at the beginning of this year, Dr. Nduom broke away from the party he had significantly contributed to and help establish, and founded the newest political party in Ghana, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) to continue making an impact politically. Nduom is married to Mrs. Yvonne Nduom, a management specialist and graduate of the Cape Coast University in Ghana and the University of Wisconsin. Together they have four children.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns to Lead Delegation to Africa

Office of the Spokesperson
January 24, 2012

Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns will lead a high-level United States Government delegation to Africa from January 26-30. In Ethiopia, Deputy Secretary Burns will attend the 18th African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on January 29 and 30. The Deputy Secretary will also meet with Prime Minister Meles and other senior officials to emphasize the strategic importance of that country to countering violent extremism in the greater Horn of Africa region. Deputy Secretary Burns will meet with several regional and international leaders on the margins of the AU summit.

Prior to the summit, the delegation will travel to Ghana, Uganda, and South Sudan. In Ghana, Deputy Secretary Burns is scheduled to meet with President Mills to reinforce the U.S. commitment to building strong ties with one of Africa’s leading democracies. The visit will highlight the United States’ continued commitment to presidential initiatives such as the Partnership for Growth and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Deputy Secretary Burns will also meet with alumni of U.S. exchange programs.

In South Sudan, the Deputy Secretary will meet with Vice President Machar and other senior officials to encourage expeditious resolution to outstanding post-Comprehensive Peace Agreement issues. Deputy Secretary Burns will also encourage the Government of South Sudan’s efforts to promote reconciliation and break the cycle of inter-ethnic violence.
In Uganda, Deputy Secretary Burns’ discussions with President Museveni and members of Uganda’s civil society will highlight the strength of the bilateral partnership on a range of issues, including regional security and on helping Uganda strengthen its commitment to good governance and respect for human rights. Deputy Secretary Burns will also visit a medical clinic that is advancing integrated health service delivery, a key part of the U.S. Global Health Initiative.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

U.S. & Nigeria Revisit Binational Commission Agreement Signed In 2010

Office of the Spokesperson
January 20, 2012

United States to Engage with Nigeria on Regional Security

A U.S. delegation co-chaired by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs William Fitzgerald and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense Joseph McMillan will meet with Nigerian government officials January 23-24 to discuss regional security cooperation.

The meeting marks the sixth working group meeting of the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission convened to advance shared objectives since its initiation in April 2010. The working group is expected to discuss areas of cooperation for addressing the professionalization of security responses to extremism, political responses to security threats, and the role of development in improving security.

On April 6, 2010 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nigerian Secretary to the Government of the Federation Yayale Ahmed inaugurated the U.S.-Nigeria Bi-National Commission, a strategic dialogue designed to expand mutual cooperation across a broad range of shared interests.

The agreement was signed in the Treaty Room of the U.S. Department of State and witnessed by U.S. and Nigerian government officials. It represents the highest point in bilateral relations between the two countries in decades. The four main components of the agreement are: Good Governance, Transparency and Integrity; Energy and Investment; Food Security and Agriculture and Niger Delta and Regional Security Cooperation.

# # #

Thursday, January 19, 2012

African Teachers Participate In This Year’s International Leaders In Education Program (ILEP)

Office of the Spokesperson
January 18, 2012
Washington, DC – U.S. Department of State Welcomes Teachers on International Leaders in Education Program for Study in Alabama, Ohio, South Carolina and Virginia

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs welcomes 63 secondary school teachers from 15 countries to the United States for the International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP) that began on January 9, 2012. Experienced teachers from Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda are studying in groups for the next four months in specialized programs at Clemson University, South Carolina; James Madison University, Virginia; Kent State University, Ohio; and the University of Alabama at Huntsville.

Launched in 2007 by the Department of State with 65 countries, ILEP has provided over 300 secondary school teachers of English, math, science, and social studies from around the world with professional development at U.S. graduate schools of education. The teachers also participate in U.S. cultural programs, community service, and volunteer projects along with approximately 90 hours of field experience in local secondary schools. The program is administered by the cooperating agency the International Research and Exchange Board.

The participating teachers help U.S. host school communities expand their understanding of the world by developing and delivering joint lessons with U.S. partner teachers, making presentations about their home countries to students, teachers, and members of the host communities, and creating new friendships. At the same time, the international teachers gain first-hand knowledge of the United States to share with students and fellow teachers in their home countries around the world.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, private-sector, professional and sports exchange programs. These international exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes and emerging leaders in many fields in the United States and in more than 160 countries. Alumni of ECA exchanges comprise over one million people around the world, including more than 50 Nobel Laureates and more than 350 current or former heads of state and government.


Latest African Ambassadors to the U.S. Present Credentials at the White House

Wednesday January 18, 2012
The White House, Washington, DC

President Obama today received credentials from fourteen Ambassadors including four from Africa during a Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office. The presentation of credentials is a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington. DC.

The African Ambassadors are:

- Ambassador Eliachim Molapi Sebatane, Kingdom of Lesotho
- Ambassador Maman Sambo Sidikou, Republic of Niger
- Ambassador Mohamed Rachad Bouhlal, Kingdom of Morocco
- Ambassador Al Maamoun Baba Lamine Keita, Republic of Mali

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

U.S. Presidential Delegation Attends Inauguration of Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has concluded an official visit to Liberia during which she attended the inauguration of President Johnson Sirleaf’s second term and inaugurated a new U.S. Embassy Chancery in Monrovia the capital city. On January 13, 2012, President Barack Obama announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Monrovia, Liberia to attend the inauguration of Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, on January 16, 2012. The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, led the delegation.

Members of the delegation included:

- The Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia
- The Honorable Christopher A. Coons, Senator (D-DE), U.S. Senate
- The Honorable Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State
- The Honorable Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State
- The Honorable Donald Steinberg, Deputy Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development
- The Honorable Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Deputy Director, Peace Corps
- General Carter F. Ham, Commander, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), U.S. Army
- Mr. Grant T. Harris, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, National Security Council

The 2011 Liberian general election was held on 11 October 2011, with a presidential runoff election held on 8 November 2011. The presidency, as well as all seats in the House of Representatives and half of the seats in the Senate, were up for election. The election was overseen by the National Elections Commission (NEC).
The results of the legislative elections and first-round presidential election were released on 25 October 2011. In the legislative elections, the Unity Party maintained its plurality in both the House and the Senate, but as in the previous election, no party secured a majority in either chamber. Incumbent retention was low; only two of the fourteen incumbent senators seeking to retain their seats won reelection, while only twenty-five of the fifty-nine House incumbents running were reelected.

In the first round of the presidential election, incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the Unity Party led the presidential field with 43.9% of the vote, followed by Congress for Democratic Change candidate Winston Tubman with 32.7%. As no candidate received an absolute majority, Sirleaf and Tubman stood in a run-off election held on 8 November 2011. Tubman alleged that the first round had been rigged in Sirleaf’s favor and called on his supporters to boycott the run-off, resulting in a turnout of 38% as compared to the 71.8% turnout in the first round. The NEC declared Sirleaf the winner of the run-off on 15 November 2011 with 90.7% of the vote.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Dr. Nkrumah, Dr. King Jr. And The Global Struggle For Freedom

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah & Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. During Ghana’s Independence – 1957

January 16, 2012 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
By AMIP News & Stanford University

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a United States federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of King’s birthday, January 15. King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed on January 20, 1986. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.

The first African-born Prime Minister of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah was a prominent Pan-African organizer whose radical vision and bold leadership helped lead Ghana to independence in 1957. Nkrumah served as an inspiration to Martin Luther King, who often looked to Nkrumah’s leadership as an example of nonviolent activism. The evolution of Nkrumah’s power in Ghana, however, complicated relations between the two men. Just days after King’s assassination, Nkrumah allegedly expressed disagreement with King’s views on nonviolence.

Nkrumah was born on 21 September 1909, in the British colony of Nkroful, on the Gold Coast. Although raised in a small fishing village, Nkrumah was educated in the United States. He received both his Bachelor of Arts (1939) and Bachelor of Theology (1942) from Lincoln University and continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Masters of Philosophy and a Masters of Education (1942, 1943). While in college, Nkrumah became increasingly active in the Pan-African movement, the African Students Association of America, and the West African Students’ Union. In 1945 Nkrumah played a central role in organizing the Fifth Pan-Africanist Congress.

In 1947 Nkrumah’s activism attracted the attention of Ghanaian politician J. B. Danquah, who hired Nkrumah to serve as general secretary of the United Gold Coast Convention, an organization pursuing independence for the British colony. However, ideological differences between the two men led Nkrumah to found his own party, the Convention People’s Party (CPP), in 1949. Nkrumah and the CPP sought self-government through the nonviolent strategy of ‘‘positive action.’’ Much like King’s nonviolent strategies, positive action employed the tactics of protest and strike against colonial administration. In 1951 Nkrumah and the CPP received a decisive majority of votes in Ghana’s first general elections, and on 22 March 1952, Nkrumah became the first prime minister of the Gold Coast. It would be five more years before full independence was realized, and the Gold Coast became the self-governed nation of Ghana.

Martin and Coretta King attended Ghana’s independence ceremony on 6 March 1957, at the invitation of Nkrumah. King was impressed by Nkrumah’s leadership and keenly aware of the parallels between Ghanaian independence and the American civil rights movement. While in Ghana, the Kings shared a private meal with Nkrumah, discussing nonviolence and Nkrumah’s impressions of the United States. After returning to the United States, King explained the lessons of Nkrumah and the Ghanaian struggle in a series of speeches and sermons. In a 24 April speech, King related a message from Nkrumah and his finance minister: ‘”‘Our sympathies are with America and its allies. But we will make it clear through the United Nations and other diplomatic channels that beautiful words and extensive hand outs cannot be substitutes for the simple responsibility of treating our colored brothers in America as first-class human beings.’ So if we are to be a first-class nation, we cannot have second-class citizens’’.

King lauded Nkrumah’s leadership through nonviolent positive action. Both men were inspired by the life and teachings of Gandhi. In a sermon entitled, ‘‘The Birth of a New Nation,’’ King said of Ghana’s newfound independence, ‘‘It reminds us of the fact that a nation or a people can break a loose from oppression without violence’’.

As early as 1962 Prime Minister Nkrumah faced the challenges of nation building in the legacy of colonialism. Mounting economic troubles led to increased discontentment with Nkrumah, and Ashanti nationalism further threatened his presidency. King struggled to understand the growing criticism of Nkrumah’s leadership, stating: ‘‘I’m sure President Nkrumah has made some mistakes. On the other hand I think we would have to see the problems that he has confronted. It is not an easy thing to lift a nation from a tribal tradition into a democracy first without having problems’’ (King, 19 July 1962). In 1966 Nkrumah was removed from power in a coup led by the Ghanaian military and police forces.

In response to King’s assassination in 1968, Nkrumah wrote: ‘‘Even though I don’t agree with King on some of his non-violence views, I mourn for him. The final solution of all this will come when Africa is politically united. Yesterday it was Malcolm X. Today Luther King. Tomorrow, fire all over the United States’’ (Nkrumah). Nkrumah died from illness in April 1972 while in exile in Conakry, Guinea.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Oprah Winfrey Girls Leadership Academy in South Africa Celebrates 1st Graduation

Photo Credit, Benny Gool/ Harpo

Saturday 14 January 2012, Henley-on-Klip, South Africa — Television icon and business leader Oprah Winfrey celebrated the first graduating class of The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa today. One hundred percent of the graduates have been accepted to college or university, including top schools in the United States and South Africa. More than a dozen have received full scholarships.

Winfrey arrived in South Africa earlier this week for the graduation ceremony at the school in Henley-on-Klip, south of Johannesburg, to create what she described as a “final lasting moment” for the 72 girls who achieved a 100% pass rate in last year’s Senior National Certificate examinations and produced 188 matriculation distinctions between them.

“The pride that I feel today is overpowering,” Winfrey told her guests, who included the students, their parents and relatives. “I have been on a mission my whole life to be able to give back what I have been given. Today I am fulfilling that mission. This class will prove that when you invest in the leadership of girls, you invest in a nation.”

Winfrey also used the opportunity to thank Nelson Mandela, who served as an inspiration in establishing the academy. “I want to thank Nelson Mandela for his leadership and support to help make this school a reality. Although he is not present with us today, I know he shares with us the same sense of pride and accomplishment,” said Winfrey.

Winfrey concluded by noting how she has been enhanced as a person through her time spent with the girls. “They have grown. We have grown as a school. Today we offer the world new scholars, girls who now can face any challenge as they move on to the next chapter in their academic and life journey. The future leaders of South Africa. The future leaders of the world.”

Present at the ceremony was Nelson Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, who gave the keynote address and serves on the board of directors of the academy. A pioneer and leader on women’s issues in her own right, Machel, who has a post graduate scholarship for African women named in her honour to train women in areas of health and education, emphasized the importance of women’s leadership in ensuring Africa’s prosperity.

Also among the guests at the ceremony was South Africa’s Minister of Basic Education, Ms. Angie Motsekga.

Two of the girls were honored with special awards. Bongeka Zuma, from Nkwezela in Kwa Zulu Natal, achieved six distinctions. She is considering to study political sciences at Spelman University in United States of America and received the Dux award for academic excellence. The award is determined by the scores of the four compulsory subjects (English, First Additional Language, Mathematics and Life Orientation), and then adding the scores of the three remaining subjects.

Between grades 9 and 11, Zuma received academic honours and has been a top achiever in mathematics and IsiZulu. She notes one of her proudest achievements as growing from being a shy girl in Grade 8 to being elected deputy chair in Grade 12.

The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Award, voted for by peers and teachers, was given to Marwiya James. James scored distinctions in Afrikaans, Accounting, Life Orientation, Business Studies and Visual Arts. She now plans to return to her native province of the Western Cape, where she hails from Mitchell’s Plain, to study at the University of Cape Town to become a chartered accountant.

James, who describes her entrepreneur and community worker father as a role model, has been a recipient of service and leadership awards and was President of the Learner Representative Council during her time at the academy.

Source: The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls

Log on to for more information on the school.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Secretary Clinton to Travel to Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Cape Verde

U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
Jnauary 13, 2012

Secretary Clinton will travel to Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Cape Verde on January 16 – 17, 2012 to demonstrate U.S. commitment to post-conflict return to peace, good governance and economic development as well as to emphasize U.S. focus on democratization.

While in Liberia, Secretary Clinton will attend President Sirleaf’s inauguration and preside over the ribbon cutting of the New U.S. Embassy Compound in Monrovia. In Cote d’Ivoire, she will meet with President Ouattara to showcase our support for national reconciliation and strengthening democratic institutions following successful legislative elections in December 2011. In the first visit of a Secretary of State to Togo, Secretary Clinton will meet President Faure to demonstrate U.S. support for Togo’s democratic progress and economic reforms and to congratulate Togo on its recent election to the United Nations Security Council, where it holds a non-permanent seat for 2012 and 2013. In Cape Verde, Secretary Clinton will meet Prime Minister Neves to discuss cooperation on regional issues like counter-narcotics, good governance, sound economic policies, and Cape Verde’s second Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact.


U.S. Presidential Delegation to attend Inauguration of Liberia’s President Johnson Sirleaf

Office of the Press Secretary
January 13, 2012

President Barack Obama announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Monrovia, Liberia to attend the inauguration of Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, on January 16, 2012. The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, will lead the delegation.

Members of the delegation are:

- The Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia
- The Honorable Christopher A. Coons, Senator (D-DE), U.S. Senate
- The Honorable Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State
- The Honorable Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State
- The Honorable Donald Steinberg, Deputy Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development
- The Honorable Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Deputy Director, Peace Corps
- General Carter F. Ham, Commander, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), U.S. Army
- Mr. Grant T. Harris, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, National Security Council

The 2011 Liberian general election was held on 11 October 2011, with a presidential runoff election held on 8 November 2011. The presidency, as well as all seats in the House of Representatives and half of the seats in the Senate, were up for election. The election was overseen by the National Elections Commission (NEC).

The results of the legislative elections and first-round presidential election were released on 25 October 2011. In the legislative elections, the Unity Party maintained its plurality in both the House and the Senate, but as in the previous election, no party secured a majority in either chamber. Incumbent retention was low; only two of the fourteen incumbent senators seeking to retain their seats won reelection, while only twenty-five of the fifty-nine House incumbents running were reelected.

In the first round of the presidential election, incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the Unity Party led the presidential field with 43.9% of the vote, followed by Congress for Democratic Change candidate Winston Tubman with 32.7%. As no candidate received an absolute majority, Sirleaf and Tubman stood in a run-off election held on 8 November 2011. Tubman alleged that the first round had been rigged in Sirleaf’s favor and called on his supporters to boycott the run-off, resulting in a turnout of 38% as compared to the 71.8% turnout in the first round. The NEC declared Sirleaf the winner of the run-off on 15 November 2011 with 90.7% of the vote.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Remarks By Secretary Clinton and Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci

2011 End of Year Marine Ball – Abuja, Nigeria

Source: U.S. Embassy Abuja, Nigeria

On Saturday, November 12, in a ceremony steeped in over two centuries of tradition, the Marine Security Guard Detachment of the US Consulate General in Lagos celebrated the 236th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps with American, Nigerian and ex-patriot friends and colleagues. Since its establishment on November 10, 1775, United States Marines have honored the “Birthday” of the Marine Corps on or around November 10th every year, in times of war and of peace, in periods of prosperity and of challenge, wherever they are serving at that moment, in every corner of the globe.

In the stately ballroom of the Lagos Civic Center, the Lagos Marine Security Guard Detachment gave guests in attendance a glimpse into the storied world of the US Marine Corps. From the marching in of the “Colors” (the American flag) to the lighting of the Candle for Fallen Comrades, a sense of pride in the Corps radiated from every American in the room for what Ambassador Terence McCulley in his remarks referred to as “the martial traditions of our Marines.” Consul General Joseph Stafford displayed similar pride during his remarks, fondly remembering, with equal measures of humor and humility, several Marine Balls he had attended over the course of his career.

During one of the more unique Marine Ball customs, the cake cutting ceremony, Detachment Commander, Gunnery Sergeant Michael Rheault, cut a cake with his ceremonial sword, passing the first piece of cake to the Ambassador. The second piece of cake was then handed to the oldest Marine present, James D. Coats, Colonel, United States Marine Corps Retired, who took a bite of the cake before handing it to the youngest Marine present, Corporal Alexander Nichols, symbolizing the handing down of tradition from the older generation of Marines to the younger.

An evening of dinner and dancing followed, and for a few enjoyable hours, the assembled guests were able to devote themselves exclusively to celebrating our Marines. Happy Birthday, USMC!

USAID Africa Health Status Update

Child mortality in Africa has dropped by nearly a third over the last 20 years. The number of people newly infected with HIV infections is decreasing, in large part due to improvements in knowledge and preventative practices. In the last decade, 10 African countries, including Rwanda, South Africa, and Zambia, have more than halved the number of cases and deaths from malaria.
But even as life-saving technologies are introduced and disseminated throughout Africa, Africans continue to succumb to diseases and experience malnutrition at unacceptably high rates. More than 22 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS, most of them women. Tuberculosis, malaria, and other infectious diseases continue to spread through families and communities despite the existence of low-cost treatment and prevention measures. Poor nutrition and inadequate access to clean water increase the risk of disease and death, especially for children who are most vulnerable. Women die in childbirth at an alarming rate and have trouble accessing family planning, and pre- and post-natal services.

With support from the U.S. Government’s Global Health Initiative, African countries are making their health systems more effective and efficient. U.S. assistance places a strong emphasis on integrating service delivery systems and improving the education and training of health providers. USAID programs improve the physical infrastructure of facilities, help to build health information systems, and train the national managers and leaders who are so critical in assuring the long-term viability of the health sector.
As a result of the U.S. commitment to health in Africa, more children are living to see their first birthday, fewer people are dying from curable diseases like malaria and tuberculosis, and more communities have access to safe drinking water.

• Malaria is a major cause of child deaths in Africa, and of the seven President’s Malaria Initiative focus countries in Africa (Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zambia) where data is available, death rates among children under five years have dropped between 23 and 36 percent. Since 2006 in these countries, the number of people protected by indoor spraying to kill mosquitoes increased from less than 3 million to more than 27 million. During the same period, the percentage of families owning at least one insecticide-treated bed net increased from less than 10 percent to greater than 50 percent.

• Child immunization rates in Africa have been sustained at over 70 percent since 2008. USAID has been a leader in promoting the “Reach Every District” approach to strengthen local planning while also helping to develop innovative financing systems to make vaccines more affordable.

• Great strides have been made in recent years to improve access to voluntary family planning, slowing unsustainable population growth and improving the health of both children and mothers in Africa. The most impressive increases in contraceptive prevalence have occurred in Ethiopia (13 to 29 percent in three years), Kenya (31 to 39 percent in five years), Madagascar (18 to 29 percent in five years), and Rwanda (10 to 27 percent in three years).

• Through the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), USAID and its partners have made significant progress in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. Two million Africans are now receiving life-saving treatment and another 10 million people living with HIV are receiving care through PEPFAR.

• Tropical diseases like river blindness and sleeping sickness-debilitating conditions that previously affected millions-have nearly disappeared in many African countries and have been drastically reduced in others.

Source: USAID

Ethiopia’s 6th Nations, Nationalities & Peoples’ Day Marked At Embassy In Washington, DC

By: Tsehaye Debalkew, Washington DC, December 10, 2011

The 6th Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Day of Ethiopia/Constitution Day/ was colorfully marked at the auditorium of the Chancery of the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. to-day.

The celebration was attended by hundreds of Diaspora Ethiopians, Community Representatives and families. Ambassador Girma Birru, Ambassador Extra-ordinary and Plenipotentiary of the FDRE to the US reminisced the significance of the occasion which marked the endorsement of the constitution that guaranteed and protected the rights of the various nations, and nationalities by declaring their equality and fair and just representation in the political milieu, as enshrined in the noble document.

Ambassador Girma further elucidated the importance of the Nations, Nationalities/ Constitution Day/ as a land mark event, which enabled the creation of an auspicious climate for the realization of the sovereignty and ultimate power of the people who were accorded due recognition for the first time in the countrys polity which spawned for millennia on end.

The Ethiopian Ambassador to the US in his remark enumerated the salient features that define the true character of the Ethiopian Constitution by amply referring to the democratic process undertaken in writing the document and the ways and means of its final ratification as telling elements of its democratic nature.

The Ambassador also cited the enabling conducive environment that has created the continued unity among the different nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia who for the first time in their history have enjoyed the right for a fair play, equal representation and are accorded constitutionally based legal recognition.

Ethiopia which has registered an impressive economic growth sustainably was only able to do so as a result of the enabling condition that has sprouted emanating from the constitution.

In this relation he referenced quite amply the 4% economic growth during the era of the monarchy and a mere average growth of slightly over 1% in the entire reign of the military junta.

On the realm of political rights, Ambassador Girma noted that gone are the days when disgruntled elements and groups had to resort to unlawful acts or violence in quest of remedy for their demands, by reiterating that the present Ethiopian Constitution is embedded with avenues of legal and peaceful address and resolution of any thorny issues.
In his closing statement Ambassador Girma made a clarion call on the Diaspora Ethiopians to positively engage themselves in the overall Growth and Transformation leap that Ethiopians of all walks of life have anchored themselves on, by lending their cherished knowledge, expertise, networking and revenue capacities in a manner that boosts the national drive forward and also calibrating themselves to be active beneficiaries from the enterprise.

He also underlined that they should make good of the propitious environment they currently find themselves in, by making all effort at positively building the image of the nation.

Ambassador Mulie Tarekegn , Deputy Head of Mission at the Ethiopian Embassy and Chief of Diaspora Affairs on his part made a power-point presentation pertaining to the Draft Diaspora Policy. The main points in the new Draft policy were highlighted during the briefing session.

According to the briefings offered by Ambassador Mulie, the New Diaspora Policy is imbued with propitious conditions that enhance Diaspora participation in a meaningful manner by providing solid opportunities in investment, trade, education, health services and other areas of interest.

In the course of the briefing, the Deputy Head of Mission said that the Policy is enriched with instruments that facilitate pertinent and conducive environment that encourages members of the Diaspora communities to directly partake in all levels of decision making through mechanisms that enhance their participation.

Councils to be established by the Diaspora will enable them to put their imprint on decisions that impact their participation and interest, he added. Special focus of the Policy he stated, were the steps taken to bring the knowledge, experience, skill and financial resources of the Diaspora to the country in an organized fashion that could entail dual benefits to the nation and at the same time empower the Diaspora communities.

In the course of the briefing session members of the Diaspora communities raised pertinent questions that enriched the discourse and were given appropriate responses from the podium. At last before the congregation sang the Ethiopian national Anthem in unison, community members of the Ethiopian Diaspora on their part made a solemn gesture to contribute their share to the nation-wide momentum that has ushered in to nip poverty in the bud.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Millennium Challenge Corporation Approves $66.2 Million Compact With Cape Verde

Washington, D.C.

At its quarterly meeting today, the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) approved a $66.2 million compact with Cape Verde. The Board of Directors selected Benin and El Salvador as eligible to develop proposals for new compacts and Nepal and Honduras as eligible to develop Threshold Programs. “Cape Verde has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to building a self-sustaining, high-growth economy through policy and institutional reforms, private sector engagement and infrastructure development,” said MCC Chief Executive Officer Daniel W. Yohannes. “MCC is proud to partner again with this stable democracy—a model for all of Africa—to improve the quality of life for Cape Verdeans in positive and sustainable ways.”

The Government of Cape Verde recognizes that to alleviate poverty it must continue its positive track record of improved policy performance and government reform. This compact provides a unique opportunity to reduce poverty and address critical constraints to economic growth in Cape Verde through projects focused on reforming the water, sanitation and land management sectors.
Benin and El Salvador were considered eligible to develop proposals for new compacts. These second compacts are contingent on successful completion of first compacts, continued good policy performance, development of proposals that have significant potential to promote economic growth and reduce poverty, and availability of funding.

“Traveling over the last year, I saw firsthand the positive impact that MCC’s compacts are having in both Benin and El Salvador,” said Yohannes. “These countries not only demonstrate the sound policy performance that is required of an MCC partner country, but looking at what they have accomplished in implementation makes me enthusiastic about developing a second compact with them.”
The Board also selected Nepal and Honduras as eligible for new Threshold Programs, and agreed that Zambia, Georgia and Ghana are eligible to continue the process of developing compacts in Fiscal Year 2012. The meeting was held at the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s headquarters on December 16, 2011

About Cape Verde
The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa. The islands, covering a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi), are of volcanic origin and while three of them (Sal, Boa Vista and Maio) are fairly flat, sandy and dry, the remaining ones are generally rockier and have more vegetation. However, because of the infrequent occurrence of rainfall the overall landscape is not particularly green, despite what the country’s name suggests (verde is Portuguese for “green”). The name of the country stems instead from the nearby Cap Vert, on the Senegalese coast, which in its turn was originally named “Cabo Verde” when it was sighted by Portuguese explorers in 1444, a few years before the islands were discovered.

The country has an estimated population (most of creole of ethnicity) of about 500,000, with its capital city Praia accounting for a quarter of its citizens. Nearly 38% of the population lives in rural areas according to the 2010 Cape Verdean census; about 20% lives below the poverty threshold, and the literacy rate is around 85%. Politically, the country is a very stable democracy, with notable economic growth and improvements of living conditions despite its lack of natural resources, and has garnered international recognition by other countries and international organizations, which often provide development aid. Since 2007, Cape Verde has been classified as a developing nation.

United States & Cape Verde
The relationship is cordial and has strong historical roots. In the early 18th century, U.S. whaling ships appear to have begun recruiting crews from Brava and Fogo to hunt whales that were abundant in the waters surrounding Cape Verde. Ties between the American colonies and Cape Verde are documented as early as the 1740s, when American ships routinely anchored in Cape Verdean ports to trade for salt or buy slaves. The tradition of emigration to the United States began at that time and continues today.

The first U.S. consulate in sub-Saharan Africa was established in Cape Verde in 1818. U.S. consular representation continued throughout the 19th century. The United States recognized Cape Verde on its independence day and supported its admission to the United Nations. Cape Verde assigned one of its first ambassadors to the United States, and a resident U.S. ambassador was posted to Cape Verde in 1983. Prime Minister Jose Neves visited Cape Verdean communities in New England during an official trip to the United States in 2002, and President Pires visited the United States in April 2005. (Prime Minister Neves also visited the U.S. in September 2007.)

The United States provided emergency humanitarian aid and economic assistance to Cape Verde in the period immediately following Cape Verde’s independence, as well as after natural disasters, including a hurricane that struck the island of Brava in 1982, and after a severe volcanic eruption on Fogo in 1995. Cape Verde also is eligible for trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and has signed an Open Skies agreement to facilitate air travel safety and expansion. On July 4, 2005, Cape Verde became the third country to sign a compact with the U.S. Government-funded Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC); the five-year assistance package is worth over $110 million in addressing rural economic expansion, infrastructure development, and development of the credit sector.

AMIP News Staff Writer


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

U.S. Issues Statement on the Passing of President Malam Bacai Sanhá of Guinea-Bissau

January 10, 2012
U.S. Department of State, Office of the Spokesperson
Statement by Victoria Nuland, Spokesperson

The U.S. Department of State offers its condolences to the family of President Sanhá, and especially to the people of Guinea-Bissau, on his passing.
The United States remains a longstanding friend of the people of Guinea-Bissau, and we will continue to support their aspirations for peace, stability, and prosperity.
We are pleased that the government of Guinea-Bissau and its military recently worked well together in addressing an internal threat to democratic governance. We look forward to collaborating with the international community and working with Acting-President Pereira to arrange timely elections.


Malam Bacai Sanhá (5 May 1947 – 9 January 2012) was a Guinea-Bissau politician who was President from 8 September 2009 to 9 January 2012. A member of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), Sanhá was President of the National People’s Assembly from 1994 to 1999 and then served as acting President of Guinea-Bissau from May 14, 1999 to February 17, 2000, following the ouster of President João Bernardo Vieira. Standing as the PAIGC candidate, he placed second in the 1999–2000 presidential election as well as the 2005 presidential election before winning the June–July 2009 presidential election.

Illness & Death
Sanhá was a diabetic. In early December 2009, Sanhá was due to visit Portugal but delayed the visit due to health problems. After fainting, he was taken to Dakar, Senegal and then Paris, France for medical treatment where he said that he was a diabetic and that he had suffered a drop in hemoglobin; although he insisted that his diabetes was “not as serious as people want to make out;” he added that he intended to be more attentive about his health. Sanhá spent ten days in Paris and subsequently stayed in the Canary Islands for a time before returning to Bissau on 30 December 2009. His chief of protocol stated that he had recovered and was in good condition. Since that time he spent regular intervals in hospitals in Dakar and Paris. Sanhá died on the morning of 9 January 2012 in Paris. His office issued a statement that read:

The presidency informs Guinea-Bissau and the international community, with pain and dismay, of the death of his excellency Malam Bacai Sanha this morning at the Val de Grace in Paris where he was undergoing treatment.The government issued a decree that it would observe seven days national mourning during which the flag will be flown at half-mast and all concerts and festivities would not occur. It also sought to repatriate Sanhá’s body for burial. Under the constitution an election is scheduled to be held within 90 days. In the interim the President of the National People’s Assembly Raimundo Pereira, from the same party, will be sworn in as the acting president.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The U.S. & South Africa on the Centenary of the African National Congress (ANC

Presidents Zuma & Obama
Nuclear Security Summit, Washington, DC
April 11, 2010
Photo by AP

By Frederick Nnoma-Addison

January 9, 2012

The African National Congress (ANC) marked its100th anniversary this past weekend, a milestone for the liberation movement that helped end apartheid in South Africa. As many as 46 heads of state attended the closing ceremony of the three-day long celebrations of Africa's oldest liberation movement. Ailing former president Nelson Mandela did not attend due to his ill health. He has not been seen in public since the 2010 closing ceremonies of the World Cup in South Africa. The events were held in Bloemfontein where the ANC was formed on January 8, 1912.

The movement, which later transitioned to a political party, is credited with sparking years of protests that took the liberation struggle to new heights and invigorated workers, students and other civilians to demand an end to racism. Apartheid was a system of racial segregation enforced by the National Party government of South Africa between 1948 and 1994, under which the rights of the majority 'non-white' inhabitants of South Africa were curtailed and white supremacy and Afrikaner minority rule was maintained. Apartheid was developed after World War II by the Afrikaner-dominated National Party and Broederbond organizations and was practiced also in South West Africa, under South African administration under a League of Nations mandate (revoked in 1966), until it gained independence as Namibia in 1990.

Apartheid sparked significant internal resistance and violence as well as a long trade embargo against South Africa. Since the 1950’s, a series of popular uprisings and protests were met with the banning of opposition and imprisoning of anti-apartheid leaders. As unrest spread and became more violent, state organizations responded with increasing repression and state-sponsored violence. Reforms to apartheid in the 1980’s failed to quell the mounting opposition, and in 1990, President Frederik Willem de Klerk began negotiations to end apartheid, culminating in multi-racial democratic elections in 1994, which were won by the African National Congress under Nelson Mandela.

U.S. relations with South Africa dates back to 1799, when she first established an official consulate in Cape Town. The two currently maintain embassies in Pretoria and Washington, DC, (U.S. & South Africa respectively) and there are Consulates General in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town (U.S.). Americans and South Africans also have many non-governmental ties to boast about. Black and white American missionaries, for example, have a long history of activity in South Africa while many ANC leaders also acknowledge support from and ties to the anti-apartheid movement in the U.S. Although not always consistent with her foreign policy, U.S. played an important role in abolishing apartheid. South African Ambassador to the United States, Harry Schwarz, played a significant role in convincing many Americans that the F.W. de Klerk government was committed to ending apartheid and to returning normal relations in the early 1990’s. During the tenure of President Bill Clinton, South African ambassador, Schwarz negotiated lifting the remaining U.S. sanctions off South Africa.

Since 1994, the United States has enjoyed an excellent bilateral relationship with South Africa although there were differences in position regarding Iraq, for example. Bilateral cooperation in counter-terrorism, fighting HIV/AIDS, and military relations has been particularly positive. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States also provides assistance to South Africa to help her meet her developmental goals. Peace Corps volunteers began working in South Africa in 1997.

By the mid-1990’s more than 500 American companies had more than US$5 billion in direct investments in South Africa reflecting a steady increase in bi-lateral trade between the two countries. In March 1995, Washington and Pretoria established a United States-South Africa Binational Commission to improve communication and cooperation in agriculture, business, environment and water resources, human resources and education, science and technology, and sustainable energy resources. The U.S. esteems South Africa’s role in helping resolve the political crisis in Zimbabwe. In April 2010, Presidents Obama and Zuma held a bilateral meeting in Washington, during the Nuclear Security Summit, Washington, DC which reaffirmed the bonds between the two countries.

In June 2010, First lady Michelle Obama visited Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town with her daughters, during an official trip to discuss education and other subjects, meet youth leaders of the ANC and Nelson Mandela.