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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Africa Region


Bureau of Resource Management
Report
May 10, 2010

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There has never been a more critical time to consolidate the progress and promise of Africa. Home to approximately 800 million people, Africa is increasingly linked to global markets, holds vast natural resources, and will soon provide 25% of U.S. oil imports. It is in the interest of the United States for Africa to be stable, well-governed, and economically self-sufficient with healthy and productive populations. In addition to significant expanded engagement in food security, climate change, and democracy and governance, USG assistance will continue to address the underlying causes of both conflict and violent extremism that threaten stability, democracy, and prosperity in a number of countries. Furthermore, increased support for trade and investment and private sector competitiveness will encourage the strong economic growth needed to sustain gains in health, education, and democracy.

Promoting Conflict Prevention and Good Governance. Although wars in Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Angola, Burundi, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, and the North-South conflict in Sudan have ended or dramatically abated, sub-Saharan Africa has recently experienced significant stagnation and challenges to its progress towards democracy and good governance. A range of African countries has been affected, and stagnation of progress towards democracy and governance has stemmed in part from military coups, ethnic conflict, and growing suppression of civil society. Continuing conflicts and lawlessness in the DRC and the Horn of Africa remain major stability and peacekeeping challenges. Most worrying are the democratic setbacks in countries that have historically been considered “good performers.” Regional bodies such as the African Union have a growing potential to provide leadership and share best practices, but the influence of poorly governed and autocratic states on these multilateral institutions complicates the evolution toward better governance in Africa. This effort relates to the Democracy, Good Governance, and Human Rights High Priority Performance Goal.

Providing Food and Emergency Aid. Poor governance, conflict, and corruption contribute to the need for billions of dollars per year in food and non-food emergency assistance from the United States and other bilateral and multilateral donors. Lacking any sustained political and economic improvements, and with Africa’s population expected to double by 2050 to 1.8 billion, the continent’s humanitarian needs will only escalate. This effort relates to the Food Security High Priority Performance Goal.

Investing in Healthcare. Robust support to fight prevalent diseases affecting millions of Africans will continue. Expanded support to maternal and child health, family planning, and reproductive health will undergird stronger health systems. U.S. Government programs have made significant contributions, including reducing mortality among children under 5 by 14% since 1990. And in the fight against AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, the United States has been one of Africa’s major partners. This effort relates to the Global Health High Priority Performance Goal.

Promoting Sustainable Economies and Education. Despite the aid provided, Africa remains the poorest and most economically vulnerable continent in the world, and the current economic crisis threatens to reverse recent economic gains. Now, more than ever, the United States must help its African partners raise per capita income levels, promote broad-based, sustainable growth, and improve the business environment. U.S. support to basic education will continue to be a key factor in educating Africa’s youth and providing the skills they need for a healthy and productive life.

 




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