FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Thursday, August 23, 2012

President Obama's Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa

Yikes, I meant to post this at the beginning of the summer when it was released.

Obama's Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa

         This strategy was no doubt written influenced by former special assistant to the President and Senior Director for Africa on the National Security staff Michelle Gavin.  She paid her dues there and is currently the Ambassador to Botswana--famously described to me as England with elephants.  Her educational background is impressive, although I always wonder what African nations think when they get an ambassador who was a Rhodes Scholar.  As you may or may not know Cecil J. Rhodes was a notorious racist--perhaps educating future leaders (like Amb. Gavin) can begin to repair some of the damage done by Rhodes, although I acknowledge that there is no way to ever do this totally but building relationships is a good place to start.

Summary below from a colleague:
On 14 Jun 12, the Obama Administration released a U.S. Strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa (see attached). The strategy details four pillars
  1. Strengthen democratic institutions
  2. Spur economic growth, trade, and investment
  3. Advance peace and security
  4. Promote opportunity and development
These priorities are quite similar to the ones President Obama listed in his July 2009 speech to the Ghanaian parliament and that were articulated in more in-depth by other members of his Administration such as Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Johnnie Carson:
  1. Strengthen democratic institutions and protect the democratic gains made in recent years in many African countries
  2. Promote and advance sustained economic development and growth
  3. Strengthen public health*
  4. Work with African states and the international community to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflicts and disputes*
  5. Deepen cooperation with African states to address both old and new transnational challenges*
* Priority #3: “Strengthen public health” is now included under ”Promote opportunity and development,” and Priorities #4 and #5 are now included under “Advance peace and security.”

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