Effort redoubles our commitment to strengthen democracies and boost economic growth, trade and investment.
The United States this summer launched a reinvigorated policy for our country’s relations with the nations of sub-Saharan Africa. Echoing themes outlined by President Barack Obama in a 2009 speech to the Ghanaian Parliament, the effort redoubles our commitment to strengthen democracies and boost economic growth, trade and investment on the African continent.
Healthy democracies require peace and stability. As seen in the crisis now tearing apart the West African nation of Mali, the continent’s democratic institutions are fragile, and even relatively stable countries can quickly unravel into conflict. If our nation is to help our partners in Africa achieve a more democratic, prosperous, stable and secure future, we must also help them address these conflicts.
Political clashes as seen in Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea, insurgencies like those in Somalia and Mali, and ethnic conflicts such as those in Eastern DRC and the Darfur region of Sudan destabilize states and borders, stifle economic growth and rob citizens not just of opportunity, but also of life’s basic needs.
To help address these conditions, the United States has supported -- and is committed to continue supporting -- international and regional peacekeeping operations. These efforts both help Africans help themselves and offer broader international assistance to promote peace and security on the continent.
Working with the African Union and United Nations, U.S. peacekeeping assistance programs such as the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program focus on strengthening the ability of African militaries to plan, train for, deploy and sustain peacekeeping operations. The U.S. also supports UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, including $355 million since 2007 in Somalia alone, utilizing peacekeepers from nations across the continent.
Our country will continue to work closely with our partners in Africa and the international community to build the capacity of the A.U., sub-regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States, and individual nations to conduct peacekeeping operations professionally and effectively. We believe these organizations play a critical role in contributing to sustainable, long-term stability in a vital part of the world such as Africa.