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Importance Of Democracy In Africa

A man casts his vote during Mali's presidential election in Timbuktu, Mali, July 28, 2013.

The U.S. is strongly committed to advancing democracy, good governance and inclusive leadership in Africa.

The United States is strongly committed to advancing democracy, good governance and inclusive leadership in Africa.

Importance Of Democracy In Africa
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On his recent trip to Africa, President Barack Obama highlighted many aspects of the U.S. partnership with Africa and announced three new initiatives: Power Africa, to mobilize investment to deliver electric power to more Africans; Trade Africa, to expand economic ties and trade among Africa, the United States and other markets; and the Young African Leaders Initiative, to identify and train young leaders to serve their countries.

The U.S. is also supporting programs such as the Partnership for Growth, which has brought together African leaders and the international community to identify and address key constraints to development.

But the United States is not simply a provider of trade, aid, and advice. “We believe in good governance,” said U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec in a recent speech, “and across the continent, we have provided support to improve it. We have helped to build strong electoral commissions, strengthen internal accounting and auditing systems, and create anti-corruption watchdog agencies. We have worked with civil society, supported freedom of expression and the media, and encouraged citizen participation in government decision-making.”

The United States has learned many lessons over the course of our history that have helped improve governance. The first is that government should be no larger than absolutely necessary.

Second, local governments are often better able to administer programs as they can be more responsive to local priorities and preferences, and better able to adapt programs to unique local circumstances.

Third, governments must establish the rule of law as well as ensure opportunities remain open to all citizens. And finally, in making these decisions, citizens must be empowered to consider, through their elected leaders, how government revenues should best be raised and allocated.

Implementing good governance is never easy, but it is critical to the success of Africa as good governance and economic growth are inextricably linked. Together they are the keys to a nation’s stability, the well-being of its people, and to prosperity.

The United States is proud to partner with Africa in the effort to build democracy and strong governance. “Together,” said Ambassador Godec, “I know we will create a better future for both Africans and Americans.”