Friday, June 2, 2017

Former Obama Senior Director Makes a Case for Africa In US National Security

Photo Courtesy Harris Africa Partners, LLC.

By Frederick Nnoma-Addison

Grant T. Harris, Special Assistant to President Obama / Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council (2011-2015), and current CEO of Harris Africa Partners, LLC. has authored a timely report on Why Africa Matters to US National Security. It was launched on May 25th, 2017 (African Union Day), at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, to commemorate the 54th anniversary of Africa Day. The comprehensive 32-page report is a product of a partnership between the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center and the OCP Policy Center, with sponsorship from the OCP Foundation.

In this latest report, Mr. Harris calls for a “re-assessment of Africa’s strategic importance to US national security,” one that is overdue, in his opinion. The full report, which is an important addition to the collection of documents shaping US-Africa policy and engagement, is available here.

During his tenure in the Obama Administration, Harris initiated and coordinated U.S. policies toward the 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including political, economic, and security matters. He conceived the idea and led the implementation of the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit during which President Obama hosted 51 African Leaders in Washington, D.C. in August 2014. Harris also initiated and coordinated the Doing Business in Africa Campaign to encourage greater U.S. trade and investment, was the primary architect of the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa signed by President Obama in 2012, and oversaw U.S. efforts to create and implement the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. As the current CEO of California-based Harris Africa Partners, LLC , he advises companies and organizations on strategy, policy, and mitigating risk with respect to doing business in Africa. Harris is also a contributor to United States & Africa Relations: The Obama Presidency, published by AMIP News and The Africa Society, and launched in January 2017 in Washington, DC.

The Atlantic Council promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the Atlantic Community’s central role in meeting global challenges. The OCP Policy Center is a Moroccan policy-oriented think tank striving to promote knowledge sharing and to contribute to an enriched reflection on key economic and international relations issues.


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