Fact Sheet: Obama Administration Efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa
“I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world – as partners with America on behalf of the future we want for all our children. That partnership must be grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect.”
President Barack Obama
July 11, 2009,
The new U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, which is derived from a Presidential Policy Directive, builds on numerous accomplishments of U.S.-Africa policy to strengthen democratic institutions, promote regional peace and security, engage with young African leaders, and promote development, trade, and investment. Some of these accomplishments are set forth in greater detail below:
- Engaged Young African Leaders Who Will Shape the Continent’s Future. We have deepened our engagement with Africa’s next generation of leaders through the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative, the Obama Administration’s long-term program to engage those leaders who are actively promoting positive change in their communities. This engagement began with the President’s Forum with Young African Leaders in 2010. The First Lady’s Young African Women Leaders Forum was held in South Africa in June 2011, and, in June 2012, the State Department sponsored a Young African Leaders Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership that connects young African leaders with mentorship opportunities in the United States. The President’s Young African Leaders Initiative, which seeks to provide tools to support leadership development, promote entrepreneurship, and connect young leaders with one another and the United States, has so far included more than 2,000 programs for young leaders across sub-Saharan Africa.
- Strengthened Democratic Institutions. The United States has worked to strengthen democratic institutions in sub-Saharan Africa through high-level diplomatic engagement, institution building, and programs that develop the capacity of judiciaries, legislatures, media and civil society. We have held governments accountable to their commitments to democratic principles and to their obligations under universal human rights norms, and we have spoken out when democratic processes have been subverted. Examples of these efforts include:
- Supported Democracy in Cote d’Ivoire. The United States worked aggressively to resolve the crisis in Cote D’Ivoire and to support democracy. Immediately after election results were certified in December 2010, President Obama personally communicated to former President Laurent Gbagbo a choice between stepping down or facing greater isolation. When Gbagbo refused to leave office, the United States swiftly imposed sanctions on Gbagbo and his associates, and helped lead efforts with our European allies through the United Nations, and with African organizations like ECOWAS to pressure Gbagbo and support a democratic resolution that enabled the elected leader of Cote d’Ivoire – Alassane Ouattara – to take power. President Ouattara was inaugurated in May 2011, and was subsequently hosted by President Obama at the White House along two other emerging African democracies – Niger and Guinea - and another democracy that has made great progress, Benin. The United States continues to work closely with the Government of Cote d’Ivoire and all Ivoirians as the country prioritizes reconciliation, economic recovery, and reform of the security sector.
- Advanced Reform in Kenya. The United States helped lead an international effort to support Kenya’s ambitious reform agenda developed in the wake of the 2007-8 post-election violence. The President’s outreach to the Kenyan government and the Kenyan people, as well as the Vice President’s 2010 trip to Kenya, contributed to a credible national referendum in August 2010 and the historic adoption of a new constitution. The United States continues to support efforts to deepen reform and to promote justice and reconciliation.
- Launched the Open Government Partnership (OGP). We launched the OGP in 2011, with strong participation from African governments and civil society organizations, to advance government transparency and accountability worldwide. South Africa is a founding member, and Ghana, Liberia, Tanzania, and Kenya have also joined.
- Advanced Peace and Security. In Fiscal Year 2011, the United States provided $262 million in assistance to improve the overall professionalization of African militaries and to enhance their ability to better respond to challenges such as peacekeeping, maritime security, and counterterrorism. Additionally, the United States provided, and continues to provide, significant support to peacekeeping operations across the continent, including the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Through the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, we continue to advance efforts to strengthen women’s participation in peacebuilding and protect women from sexual and gender-based violence in conflict. Examples of U.S. support to peace and security include:
- Promoted Peace in Sudan. The Obama Administration has built on U.S. leadership in international efforts to broker the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended decades of civil strife by galvanizing international support for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement’s (CPA) implementation. Under the President’s direction, the United States launched an intense multilateral effort to keep the parties on the path of peace that ultimately culminated in an on-time and peaceful referendum on southern secession and the birth of the world’s newest nation, the Republic of South Sudan. In December 2011 the United States hosted an international conference to garner support for the Republic of South Sudan’s development plans and to spur investment. The United States remains fully engaged in supporting Sudan and South Sudan in reaching final agreement on outstanding post-CPA issues in order to achieve the international vision of two countries living side by side in peace.
- Supported Regional Efforts to Help Communities Affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The United States continues to pursue a comprehensive strategy, in partnership with the African Union and United Nations, to help the governments and people of central Africa in their efforts to end the threat posed by the LRA and to address the impacts of the LRA’s atrocities. This includes working to protect local populations, promoting defections from the LRA’s ranks, and the deployment of a small number of U.S. forces to advise the national militaries in the region that are pursuing the LRA’s top commanders. The United States is also funding programs to help affected communities employ strategies to address their security needs and to connect with one another using communications technologies.
- Strengthened AMISOM’s Efforts to Restore Stability in Somalia. The United States has been a strong backer of AMISOM, providing training for its forces and supporting its expansion from 12,000 to 17,731 troops in recognition of its ongoing success against al-Shabaab. As AMISOM continues to expand the reach of the Transitional Federal Government, the United States is committed to assisting the force meet the evolving operational, security, and humanitarian challenges as it seeks to bring real peace and stability to Somalia.
- Invested in Africa’s Sustainable Development. The United States is investing in development partnerships across Africa to accelerate sustainable economic growth, promote food security, improve the capacity of countries and communities to respond to diseases and rebuild health systems, and to combat climate change. These investments in smart development align with country-owned plans, include civil society and the private sector, and strategically deploy our assistance funding for maximal impact. Examples of U.S. investments in sustainable development include:
- Launched the Feed the Future Initiative. Feed the Future supports country-driven approaches to address the root causes of hunger and poverty. Through this Presidential initiative, the United States is investing in 12 African focus countries to drive inclusive agriculture-led growth encompassing improved agricultural productivity, expanded markets and trade, and increased economic resilience of vulnerable rural communities. U.S. efforts work to unleash the proven potential of small-scale agricultural producers to deliver results on a large scale and are undertaken in support of Africa’s Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program. In 2012, the U.S. led the G-8 to launch the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a partnership between the G-8, African governments, the African Union, international partners, private investors, and civil society to substantially accelerate agricultural growth across the continent and help more than 50 million people emerge from poverty over the next ten years.
- Launched the Global Health Initiative (GHI). The GHI is strengthening the U.S. government’s existing international health programs and building upon those programs to create integrated, coordinated, sustainable health systems with our partner countries. The majority of U.S. investments to fight HIV/AIDS and malaria, and to improve maternal and child health, are focused in Africa. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is leading prevention efforts and treating over 3.8 million people in Africa, has dramatically decreased HIV infections and improved life expectancy across the continent, and will support over 6 million people with lifesaving treatment by the end of 2013. U.S. malaria and child survival efforts (including investments in the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations) are contributing to the historic reductions of child mortality seen in Senegal, Rwanda, Kenya and in other African states.
- Launched the Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI). Through the GCCI, we are helping African countries to better prepare for extreme weather and climate events, reduce deforestation in the Congo Basin and elsewhere in Africa, and develop clean and affordable energy systems.
- Launched the Partnership for Growth (PFG). The PFG puts into practice the principles of the President’s Policy Directive on Global Development, elevating sustainable, broad-based economic growth, transforming our partnership with countries demonstrating leadership and commitment to their own development progress, and investing in the next generation of emerging markets. Two of the four countries selected for PFG – Ghana and Tanzania – are in Africa.
- Promoted Economic Growth through the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Since taking office, the Obama Administration has signed multi-year grant agreements with five sub-Saharan Africa countries, totaling over $1.3 billion in investments that seek to reduce poverty through economic growth.
- Responded to Humanitarian Crises and Disasters. In fiscal year 2011, the United States Government provided over $2 billion in humanitarian funding to address food insecurity, food crises, and other natural and man-made disasters in Africa. To assist in breaking the cycles of famine and the shocks from drought, especially following the 2011 crisis in the Horn of Africa, the Unites States Government, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, and the international development community are partnering together to strengthen country drought preparedness, enhance resilience, and promote long-term solutions.
- Promoted Trade and Investment. The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), for the first time in its history, approved projects totaling more than $1 billion in 2011 to support the exports of U.S. companies to sub-Saharan Africa. Two of the nine countries in the world selected by Ex-Im Bank as priority strategic markets for U.S. exports – South Africa and Nigeria – are in sub-Saharan Africa. In fiscal year 2011, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) supported over $1 billion in private-sector investments in Sub-Saharan Africa, representing over one-third of its total commitments for the year. This is in addition to OPIC approving $367 million for four private equity funds that could mobilize an additional $1 billion for investments made in the health, agricultural, and small and medium enterprise sectors.” Examples of efforts to promote trade and investment with sub-Saharan Africa include:
- African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). President Obama designated 40 sub-Saharan African countries to be eligible for AGOA benefits in 2012.
- Strengthened Trade and Investment Engagement throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. The United States currently has Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFAs), agreements which provide strategic frameworks and principles for dialogue on trade and investment issues, with 11 countries or regional economic communities in sub-Saharan Africa, including Angola, Ghana, Liberia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the EAC, and the West African Economic and Monetary Union. Additionally, the Obama Administration is using bilateral investment treaties (BITs) as one of many tools to assist reform-minded African countries.
- Trade and Investment Partnership with the East African Community (EAC). During the June 2011 AGOA Forum in Lusaka, Zambia, the United States proposed a new partnership with the EAC to include the exploration of a regional investment treaty, creation of trade enhancing agreements in areas such as trade facilitation, and the development of stronger commercial engagement.
- Introduced New U.S. Initiatives to Boost Trade and Investment Opportunities for Least Developed Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. In December 2011, the United States announced steps aimed at enabling Least Developed Country (LDC) members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), including a number from sub-Saharan Africa, to benefit more fully from global trade. The United States will use a Development Credit Authority guarantee and public-private partnerships to drive private debt to investment funds and organizations that will make debt and equity investments in small- and medium-sized enterprises operating in agricultural value chains in West Africa. In June 2011, the United States announced the new African Competitiveness and Trade Expansion (ACTE) Initiative to provide up to $120 million over four years to improve Africa’s capacity to produce and export competitive, value-added products, including those that can enter duty-free under AGOA, and to address supply-side constraints that impede African trade. Finally, since the launch of the Aid for Trade initiative, the United States has provided over $9 million in assistance to support LDC accessions to the WTO.