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About African Affairs

To view the full list of major programs and initiatives covered by African Affairs, visit our Regional Topics page.

A medical lab technician takes samples of blood at the voluntary councelling and testing centre (AP Photo).President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief: As the President noted in his 2007 State of the Union address, "We hear the call to take on the challenges of hunger and poverty and disease -- and that is precisely what America is doing. We must continue to fight HIV/AIDS, especially on the continent of Africa." When President Bush announced the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2003, only 50,000 people were estimated to be receiving antiretroviral treatment in all of sub-Saharan Africa. Since then, the Emergency Plan has worked in partnership with host nations to support antiretroviral treatment for approximately 822,000 men, women, and children through bilateral programs in the focus countries through September 2006. As of last September, PEPFAR also supported care for nearly 4.5 million, including care for more than 2 million orphans and vulnerable children.

The Emergency Plan supports the most comprehensive, evidence-based prevention program in the world, supporting an array of efforts, including: sexual transmission, mother-to-child transmission, and transmission through unsafe blood and medical injections. PEPFAR additionally supports greater HIV awareness through counseling and testing. Through September 30, 2006, PEPFAR supported prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission services for women during more than 6 million pregnancies and prevented an estimated 101,500 infant infections. These are dramatic, life saving results - made possible through the power of partnerships between host nations and the United States.

Malaria Initiative: As with HIV/AIDS, the President is committed to combating Malaria. Last December, he and the First Lady hosted the first ever White House Summit on Malaria. The President’s Malaria Initiative, PMI, which went into effect in June 2005, aims to reduce Malaria-related deaths by 50% in each of the 15 target countries, a group that includes: Tanzania, Uganda, Angola, and Senegal, among others.

This five-year, 1.2 billion dollar initiative meant to enhance Malaria control interventions in the 15 hardest hit countries in Africa should have an immense impact, since 80 to 90 percent of all Malaria deaths occur in Africa, most of them children. Six million people have received lifesaving prevention or treatment services since the inception of PMI, and an additional 11 million people are expected to receive services in 2007.  More

Growth Through AGOA: The cornerstone of the United States’ trade policy for sub-Saharan Africa is the African Growth and Opportunity Act, commonly called AGOA. This policy is intended to encourage more trade and investment between the United States and Africa by offering one-way trade preferences to countries that meet certain criteria related to: democracy, good governance, and economic openness.

In 2006, U.S. total trade with sub-Saharan Africa increased 17 percent, with both exports and imports increasing at similar rates. A 20 percent increase in crude oil imports accounts for most of the overall growth, but there was also growth among other imports, including: platinum, diamonds, iron, and steel.

Of the top five African destinations for U.S. products, exports to South Africa rose by 14 percent; exports to Nigeria rose by 38 percent; exports to Angola rose by 67 percent; exports to Equatorial Guinea increased by 96 percent; and only in Kenya did the level of U.S. exports decrease -- by 17 percent.

The five nations that exported the most under AGOA in 2006 were the same as the top five from 2005: Nigeria, Angola, South Africa, Chad, and Gabon. And as we look ahead to the sixth annual AGOA forum, which will be held in Accra, Ghana, this July, we are optimistic about the ongoing growth in sub-Saharan Africa’s economic strength.

Healthy Families and WJEI: For those women and children subject to rape or domestic violence, there is a program known as the Women's Justice and Empowerment Initiative, or WJEI. Inspired by a South African program, American policy makers hope that WJEI will provide some comfort to female victims of rape and abuse, by offering social services, care and legal assistance.

This $55 million program currently supplements existing efforts in: Benin, Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia. WJEI funds will help raise awareness about gender-based violence, protect and assist victims of rape and domestic violence, and bring justice to perpetrators of violence. The U.S. will assist participating nations in their efforts to strengthen existing protections by training police, prosecutors, and judges; provide shelters and psychosocial services for abused women and children; and develop laws that criminalize violence against women.

Good Governance: Africa does not suffer a democracy deficit. More than two-thirds of sub-Saharan African countries have had democratic elections since 2000. Power has changed hands in a number of nations, from Senegal to Tanzania, and from Ghana to Zambia. So, elections have been a success. Over the next two to three years, the goal is to move beyond elections as the measure of freedom, and toward supporting African efforts to fortify government accountability. Good governance is an essential prerequisite for any other social changes.
New Way to Aid: The Bush Administration has pioneered a new innovative approach to aid, through the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). The MCA program seeks out countries that have already implemented economic reforms and good governance programs. It partners with these countries to help transform their economies and fight poverty. Half of the countries eligible for funding under the President's innovative multi-billion dollar initiative are in Africa, including: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, and Tanzania.


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