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Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson leads the Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, the division in the Department focused on the development and management of U.S. policy concerning the continent.
There are five pillars that serve as the foundation of U.S. policy toward Africa:
1) Support for democracy and the strengthening of democratic institutions on the continent, including free, fair, and transparent elections.
2) Supporting African economic growth and development.
3) Conflict prevention, mitigation, and resolution.
4) Supporting Presidential initiatives such as the Global Health Initiative, Feed the Future, and the Global Climate Change Initiative.
5) Working with African nations on transnational issues such as drug smuggling, money laundering, illicit arms, and trafficking in persons.
The Bureau of African Affairs has contributed to demonstrable progress in each of these areas in recent years. The U.S. has contributed to democratic transitions in Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Niger; successful elections in Nigeria; and a referendum that led to the independence of South Sudan. The Bureau promotes African economic development through the annual Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forums. It is actively striving to end sexual and gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and eliminate the atrocities perpetrated by the Lord's Resistance Army throughout Central Africa. Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global food security initiative, is focused on 12 African countries. A goal of the Global Health Initiative is investing $63 billion over six years to help partner countries improve the health of women, newborns, and children.
Finally, the Bureau and other State Department entities are working with African counterparts all across the continent to provide food to drought-stricken populations in the Horn of Africa, to assist refugee populations, to curtail drug and arms smuggling, and to mitigate the effects of global climate change.