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The United States' Unprecedented Commitment to Africa, 2000 to 2008 and Beyond

Phillip Carter III, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
Remarks to the World Affairs Council of Arizona
Washington, DC
November 20, 2008

Good evening and thank you.

Since 1918, the World Affairs Council has opened the door for local citizens to engage in diplomacy through education and awareness of international issues – and through hosting global leaders.

The U.S. Department of State is proud to partner with you – and looks forward to continuing this successful relationship.

I would like to note that the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs is celebrating our 50th anniversary this year. Created in 1958 by President Eisenhower, the bureau sought to change what had been a traditionally Eurocentric policy view of Africa.

We at the State Department are proud of the anniversary, and look forward to working with our sub-Saharan partners and organizations like your own, to advance Africa’s future as we transition into our next half century. 

U.S. Policy in Africa

Over the past eight years, the United States has made an unprecedented commitment to Africa – this current Administration has gone further than any previously in engaging and assisting the continent. We are working with our sub-Saharan partners to pioneer a new era of growth and development in Africa.

The partnerships and programs forged during the past eight years have supported significant African progress – and have laid a foundation for sustaining that support in subsequent administrations.

Tonight – I would like to highlight these partnerships and programs – but also sneak a peak – toward the future and potential of the continent in the 21st century.

Over the past eight years, the United States has changed its approach to Africa. As part of our broader mission to build and sustain a network of democratic states that respond to the needs of their people and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system - we have partnered with African leaders, governments, and civil society organizations to combat disease, build peace, expand prosperity, and improve governance.

We have defined success not just in the narrow terms of resolving specific crises, but in the broader sense of supporting Africans in building institutions and adopting policies that sustain long-term growth, freedom, and justice.

The U.S. commitment to Africa reflects a recognition that our success and security increasingly depend on conditions in distant lands, and that we are at greater risk if Africa is a place where extremist ideologies are fostered, states are failing, and violence and instability spread across borders.

To challenge these potential risks, the United States has committed to fostering growth and development in Africa. At the 2005 Gleneagles G-8 Summit, President Bush announced that the United States would double its assistance (bilateral and multilateral) to sub-Saharan Africa from a base of $4.4 billion in 2004 to $8.7 billion by 2010.

By increasing investments in health and education, stimulating growth, improving the investment climate, and making trade work for Africa – the U.S. is on track to meet that pledge. 

Programs and Initiatives

I would like to highlight some of the programs initiatives that have spurred African growth and development.

--Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)
The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) is a revolutionary foreign assistance program that seeks to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth by awarding sizeable grants -- not loans -- to countries that practice good governance, seek to take responsibility for their own development, and are committed to achieving results. Of the 18 compacts signed to date - eleven totaling over $4.8 billion have been signed with sub-Saharan African countries.

--The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a program that rewards reforming African countries with U.S. trade preferences – this initiative has helped to reduce barriers to trade, increase exports, create jobs, and expand business opportunities for African and U.S. entrepreneurs.

With 41 countries presently qualified, AGOA has helped increase two-way trade between the U.S. and eligible African economies to over $50 billion – more than six times the level in 2001, the first full year of AGOA.

--Agriculture and Food Security
The United States is also the world’s largest donor of food aid, providing over $5.5 billion to fight global hunger in 2008 and 2009. The Presidential Initiative to End Hunger in Africa (IEHA) is a multi-year initiative launched in 2002, providing a total of $1 billion for 2006-2010, and aims to increase agricultural growth and raise rural incomes.

The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the largest commitment ever by a single nation toward an international health initiative.

When President Bush launched PEPFAR, approximately 50,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa were receiving antiretroviral treatment. Today, PEPFAR supports lifesaving treatment for over 1.7 million people worldwide, care for 6.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS, and prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission during nearly 12.7 million pregnancies, allowing nearly 200,000 children to be born HIV free.

--The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI)
The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) was established in 2005. The U.S. has committed $1.2 billion in new malaria funding to reduce malaria-related deaths by 50 percent in 15 African countries. In 2007, the Malaria Initiative reached more than 25 million people with effective prevention and treatment interventions.

--Africa Education Initiative
In 2002, President Bush established the Africa Education Initiative (AEI), a multi-year $600 million initiative focused on increasing access to basic education in over 40 Sub-Saharan African countries through scholarships, textbooks, and teacher training programs. By 2010, AEI will have trained nearly one million teachers, provided 550,000 scholarships for girls, and distributed 15 million textbooks.

The United States has been the most important contributor to African force generation efforts through our Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program and large scale provision of peacekeeping equipment. Since 2005, the United States has directly trained nearly 60,000 African peacekeepers in 22 countries. Of these troops, over 82% have deployed to African Union and United Nations peacekeeping missions.

The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership is a multi-year effort, funded at about $150m per year, to leverage and coordinate military, law enforcement, development, and public diplomacy elements to enhance the capacity of the trans-Sahara region to deter and defeat terrorism, and counter extremist ideology. We are seeking to build on the success of this program with a parallel East Africa Regional Strategic Initiative, to counter the terrorist elements that destroyed our Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam ten years ago, and continue to threaten regional stability.

Over the past eight years, a renewed commitment to the African continent has been started or carried forward in large part on a fundamental, bipartisan agreement of what needs to be done – such as brokering peace agreements, training African peacekeepers, PEPFAR, or MCC. While much has been accomplished, the United States Government will continue to build on the foundation laid by this and previous administrations. We still have a way to go – but with greater security, disease prevention, and political and economic freedom, the African continent of the 21st century can strive to reach its potential.

Thank you very much.

Released on December 3, 2008

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