There is good reason for deep optimism about Africa’s future.
Early in his first term in office, President Barack Obama pledged the United States’ help in unlocking Africa’s potential. “I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world – as partners with America on behalf of the future that we want for all our children,” he said during an early visit of Ghana.
Nearly four years later, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson sees tremendous progress, largely due to this partnership between the United States and the nations of Africa. There is good reason for deep optimism about Africa’s future, he said:
“This optimism is grounded in expanding democracy, improved security, rapid economic growth, and greater opportunities for Africa’s people. It is clear that the 21st century will not only be shaped in Beijing and Washington, but also in Pretoria and Abuja, Nairobi and Addis [Ababa].
Two major accomplishments highlight the Obama Administration’s overall policy toward Africa, said Assistant Secretary Carson. First, the African-led, U.S. supported peacekeeping effort in Somalia, which resulted in the weakening of the al-Shabaab terrorist group and the election of Somalia’s first representative government in two decades; and the implementation of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended Africa’s longest-running civil war and created Africa’s newest nation, South Sudan.
The U.S. Strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa focuses on building partnerships with governments, civil societies, and populations across the continent to strengthen democratic institutions; spur economic growth, trade, and investment; advance peace and security; and promote opportunity and development, said Assistant Secretary Carson.
Along the way, the United States contributed to successful elections in Nigeria and Guinea; and the restoration of democracy in Cote d’Ivoire and Niger; economic expansion across the continent, so that today, African economies are among the fastest growing on the planet; and improvements in overall health through the Feed the Future and PEPFAR programs, Assistant Secretary Carson noted.
Serious challenges remain, of course, said Assistant Secretary Carson. But “there is no doubt in my mind that Africa is rising. Africa is moving forward. American businesses, elected officials, NGOs and, . . .American diplomats who realize this now will have a significant advantage over those who have yet to realize that the 21st century will belong to Africa.”