[dehai-news] (US State Dept) Acting Assistant Secretary Carter Speaks on Africa's Military Development

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From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (eritrea.lave@comhem.se)
Date: Wed Feb 25 2009 - 11:37:43 EST

U.S. Policy in Africa in the 21st Century

Phil Carter
Acting Assistant Secretary for African Affairs
The Africa Center for Strategic Studies
Washington, DC
February 9, 2009
Good morning. It is an honor to be here with you today -- I will discuss
the outlines of U.S. policy in Africa, and six priorities that I see as
important in the relationship between the United States and Africa. This
seminar, organized by the African Center for Strategic Studies, is
consistent with the US Government's ongoing efforts to support the
professionalization of Africa's security sector, and we are proud to be
part of that effort here at the Department of State. I want to leave
time for your questions and comments so that we can engage in a clear
dialogue about relations between the United States and Africa. I am here
as much to learn from you, and to hear thoughts that may be different
from those I hear everyday in Washington.
Let me say up front that I believe firmly that the one foreign policy
success of the previous administration is Africa, although even there we
have met with challenges and frustration.
For too long Africa has been an afterthought in U.S. foreign policy
interests. In World War II, Africa was a strategic stepping stone to the
places that mattered in Europe. In the Cold War, Africa was a pawn in
East-West struggles. Even as we Americans set in place well-intentioned
economic development policies, it was too often with the idea of trying
to do good for Africa, rather than to do good with Africa.
This has changed. Instead, the U.S. has implemented a strategy to
operate more effectively in a world where non-state actors and illegal
trans-border activity can pose major threats to even the most powerful
of countries.
The goal is to develop a network of well-governed states capable through
responsible sovereignty of protecting themselves and contributing to
regional security. By so doing, they also protect the international
system. Our new Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, last week
reaffirmed the extremely high priority of security. She said that, ".we
all know that there are real threats to the United States and our
friends and allies around the world. And the State Department has an
important role to play.to be a good leader and a good partner." In a
word, this means partnership. This vision supports African leaders as
strategic partners and seeks to build up Africa's institutional
capacity. In other words, doing things with Africans, not for Africans.
We believe these sentiments coincide with Africa's own growing emphasis
on the values of freedom, the rule of law, and collective security, as
embedded in the African Union's New Partnership for African Development.
The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) Peer Review
mechanism reinforces African leaders' own efforts to promote democracy
and good governance among their peers.
The U.S. understands that there are new, rising strategic powers around
the world, including Sub-Saharan Africa. Nations such as South Africa
and Nigeria have used their diplomatic, economic, and military power to
shape the continent for the better. Mali, Mozambique, Liberia, Ghana,
Botswana, Benin and many other African countries are leading the way as
examples of the power of democratic rule of law.
We are pursuing the shared goal of ending conflict in Africa by
supporting African conflict mediation and strengthening African
capacities to mitigate conflict and carry out peace support operations.
To do so, we work directly with lead African mediators, bilaterally with
African Governments, and multilaterally with the African Union, the
United Nations, and African sub-regional organizations. To put it more
simply, we want to support African leadership and African solutions to
African problems.
There is considerable evidence that this approach works. We've had
success working with African partners in ending seven major conflicts in
the past seven years: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone,
Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, North-South Sudan, Ethiopia-Eritrea, and Angola.
Although the current peace is fragile in several of these countries --
and challenges persist in Darfur, Eastern Congo and Somalia -- Africa
has demonstrated that it is committed to resolving conflict and
promoting stability.
Let me now focus on four U.S. priorities in our relations with African
Our first priority is providing security assistance programs that are
critical to securing the objective of a peaceful African continent. We
are working with our African partners to build capacity at three levels:
(1) at the level of the African Union, (2) at the sub-regional level,
and (3) at the level of individual states. At the level of the AU, we
are supporting the Strategic Planning and Management Unit at AU
headquarters in Addis Ababa with advisors and equipment. At the
sub-regional level, we have provided assistance to peacekeeping training
centers in Senegal, Ghana, South Africa, Mali, and Kenya. The United
States provides a peace and security advisor at ECOWAS headquarters, and
continues to support the ECOWAS logistics facility in Freetown, Sierra
An important step was taken in early 2007 when the decision was made to
create a Department of Defense Unified Combatant Command for Africa -
the U.S. Africa Command, or "AFRICOM." This decision to create AFRICOM
marks the beginning of a new era where African security issues can be
addressed from an Africa-centric perspective. AFRICOM is a new type of
command that will focus on building African regional security and crisis
response. Its objective is a more secure Africa, but it is not expected
to have any assigned forces to the African continent. Rather, AFRICOM is
a headquarters staff that coordinates the kind of support that will
enable African Governments and existing regional organizations to have
greater capacity to respond in time of need.
Through programs like the International Military Education and Training
(IMET) Program and the Africa Contingency Operations Training and
Assistance (ACOTA) Program, we are working to build the capacity of the
African militaries to respond to African problems. Over 100,000 African
peacekeepers have been trained by ACOTA or by ACOTA-trained trainers,
and eight African nations are now in the top 20 of all contributors to
UN peacekeeping operations. African states are contributing peacekeepers
to missions not only in Africa but also to UN operations in Lebanon and
Haiti. We will continue to work with the AU, sub-regional organizations,
and member states as they work to stand up the Africa Standby Force.
This includes civilian aspects of the African Peace and Security
Architecture, such as the Continental Early Warning System and Panel of
the Wise.
In Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and southern Sudan, we are
helping to rebuild professional military forces for these post-conflict
states, and are looking to engage in similar Security Sector Reform
(SSR) activities in Somalia as soon as the situation will permit.
In addition to long-term capacity building, we are working to provide
logistics support and equipment for African peacekeeping units deploying
to Darfur and Somalia. The United States has supported the deployment of
additional infantry battalions to the UN-AU Hybrid Mission in Darfur,
with more than $100 million in peacekeeping operations funding for
equipment and training. The United States has made the largest
contribution of any international donor to the African Union Mission in
Somalia (AMISOM), and will continue to provide equipment and logistics
support to troop- contributing countries in the future.
We will continue to work with our African partners to build the
necessary sustained capacity to disrupt and ultimately eliminate the
ability of terrorists to operate in the region and secure safe havens,
recruits, popular support, finance, and freedom of movement across
borders. The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) and the
East Africa Regional Security Initiative (EARSI) are two initiatives
that seek to identify resources throughout the United States government
to support specific areas of cooperation identified by our partners in
the region.
Maritime security is gaining in importance. For example, Nigeria has now
surpassed Somalia as the most dangerous maritime region in Africa, with
only Indonesia registering more incidents in 2007. The US Government
will continue to work with African maritime security forces to secure
their maritime domains from threats such as piracy, illegal fishing, and
trafficking in persons and illicit goods. Through AFRICOM's deployment
of the African Partnership Station, we are building the capacity or West
and Central African states to protect their territorial waters, respond
to oil spills and other disasters, and patrol vital oil and gas
Our second priority on the continent is promoting democratic systems and
practices -- we are engaged in supporting the rise of freedom and
democracy on the continent. It is not enough to just end wars, but we
must move beyond post-conflict transformation to consolidate
democracies. Moreover, we must work with African societies on the
critical issues of governance, transparency, and accountability as a
means of helping establish pluralistic communities where open political
dialogue is the channel for reform and progress. During the past two
decades, progressive democratic reform has adapted to local values,
customs, and practices throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Outgrowths of
democratic, well-governed states that adhere to the rule of law, support
the will of their people, and contribute responsibly to the
international system are developing. One U.S. think tank that has
studied Africa, Freedom House, has determined that three quarters of
African countries are now "free or partly free," as opposed to less than
half the states in 1990.
Despite significant progress, the recent military coups in Mauritania
and Guinea and the flawed elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe have hindered
these advances. The international community is urging Mauritania to
restore its democratically-elected government and is pressing Guinea to
hold democratic elections this year. The Kenyan and Zimbabwean
elections, marked by voting irregularities, contestable results, and
post-election violence, demonstrate that the path to democracy is often
difficult. As a result, we must and will continue to assist and
encourage our African partners in building democratic institutions,
conducting free and fair elections, and governing justly. This means
providing support to civil society and media, strengthen political
parties and elections monitoring mechanism, providing support to
legislatures, building the capacity of key ministries, and encouraging
political transparency.
Our third foreign policy priority is promoting sustainable and
broad-based, market-led economic growth. While sub-Saharan Africa has
experienced impressive growth rates in recent years, Africa can still be
characterized as a rich continent in an impoverished state. The United
States must help our African partners raise income levels, promote
sustainable growth that benefits all in a society, opens markets for
African exports, reduces barriers to investment, and identifies
opportunities and comparative advantages.
Responding to this challenge, the United States implemented the
Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), 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, ten totaling over $3.8 billion have been signed with sub-Saharan
African countries. Two other African countries, Senegal and Malawi are
in the process of developing compacts.
The United States Government has also enacted the African Growth and
Opportunity Act (AGOA), a program that allows responsive and responsible
partners in Africa to benefit from preferential access to American
markets. With 40 countries presently qualified for this program, AGOA
has become a cornerstone of our trade and investment policy in Africa.
The United States has been in the forefront of efforts to forgive the
debts owed by poor countries - but only if those countries' governments
first demonstrate their commitment to poverty reduction and good
economic management. MCC and AGOA are important programs strengthening
African economic health and underscore the cardinal interest of the
United States in the continent's economic affairs.
I should note that even in this tough time of economic recession
overtaking the world, the United States does not anticipate any
reduction in the support that we have provided to African nations. We
want to continue to be a leader in supporting development on the African
Related to this effort is our focus promoting enhanced food security and
agricultural development. This means reducing poverty and hunger,
raising agricultural output and reducing dependence on imported food,
raising rural incomes, improving the livelihoods of women, children and
families, and improving land management.
Between FY2008 and FY2009, the United States will have committed over $1
billion in food assistance worldwide, with much of this assistance
focused on Africa. U.S. efforts in West Africa include programs designed
to increase the productivity of staple crops, stimulate supply response,
and expand the trade of staple foods. In East Africa, the United States
has supported a targeted response to meet urgent food security needs and
strengthen staple food markets.
Our fourth U.S. foreign policy priority in Africa is promoting health
and social development. As the leading cause of death on the continent,
disease is one of the greatest challenges to Africa's future. Rising to
meet this challenge, the United States, through public health
initiatives targeting the prevention, care and treatment of disease, is
partnering with sub-Saharan nations to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and
The United States has responded to the severe and urgent HIV/AIDS crisis
with the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. PEPFAR is the
largest commitment ever by a single nation toward an international
health initiative. Through PEPFAR, the U.S. Government has already
provided $18.8 billion in HIV/AIDS funding, with a reauthorization of up
to $48 billion for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria over the next
five years.
Thus far, PEPFAR has provided treatment for 2.1 million people, care for
more than 10 million people living with HIV/AIDS, including more than 4
million orphans and vulnerable children, and prevention of
mother-to-child HIV transmission during nearly 16 million pregnancies,
thus allowing nearly 240,000 children to be born HIV-free.
Responding to the malaria crisis, the United States launched the
President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) in 2005. The U.S. 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. Under this program we have virtually eradicated malaria
from the island of Zanzibar and are making great strides in other places
on the continent through aggressive indoor spraying, the distribution of
treated bed nets, and the distribution of medication.

Through the prevention and treatment of disease, programs such as PEPFAR
and PMI are touching the lives of millions. In collaboration with our
regional partners, we will continue to develop sustainable healthcare
infrastructure so African nations can address these challenges through
their own national institutions.
I would like to now open the floor for a discussion and to answer your
questions. As I have just outlined, the goal of the United States is to
work with African nations to find solutions to the challenges and
problems facing African nations. Working together, I believe that we
will see more progress and less frustration, more peace and less
conflict, and ultimately, more stability in the world.

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