Mission in the Media
Africa: healthier, wealthier and wiser
Continent partners with the US to grow food, health and peace
By Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
30 September 2012
LAST month, I went on a nine-country trip that took me from West Africa, to East Africa and the Horn, to Southern Africa. At every stop, I saw how America is working with our African partners — governments, the private sector, and civil society — to deliver concrete benefits for people. This work doesn’t always draw headlines, and too few Africans and Americans are aware of what we’re doing together.
So it’s worth taking a closer look at what we can accomplish when we build sustainable relationships that empower rather than exploit — that are based on partnership, not patronage.
I saw this in action in Malawi, where I saw teachers and US Peace Corps volunteers working together to help young women realise their potential. This partnership model is what we’re trying to foster in our work around the continent, from South Sudan to South Africa.
Our partners in Africa have asked us to focus on four areas, and in each we’re making tangible progress.
The first area of focus is on sparking development and opportunity. Perhaps the signature US development initiative is the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar), which since 2004 has given millions of people across Africa the chance to live up to their potential.
Through Pepfar, the US supports treatment that keeps over four million people with HIV in Africa alive.
Of course, our work together extends far beyond health, from education to food security to humanitarian relief. The US has funded nearly half a million scholarships for African girls and boys since 2004, helping Africans develop the skills they need to compete in today’s global economy.
Through the President’s Feed the Future initiative, we’re partnering with 12 African countries to significantly reduce poverty and malnutrition — and we can see the results.
I had the pleasure of meeting some of the farmers in Malawi who, with US support, have contributed to a 500% increase in milk production over the last decade. In Kenya, nearly 300 000 households have seen increases in incomes and food security.
And when disaster strikes, the US helps save lives, providing more humanitarian assistance to Africa than any other country does. We provided food, shelter and healthcare to nearly five million people in the Horn of Africa last year at the height of the drought.
The second area on which the US and its African partners is concentrating is economic growth, trade and investment. Seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa, and that economic growth can support the aspirations of people across the continent, as well as global prosperity. That’s why the US has helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs through the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
And it’s why last year our Overseas Private Investment Corporation supported private sector investments totaling over $1.7-billion in Africa, including projects that will provide clean energy and improved access to high quality medical care.
The third area is a commitment to shared security and regional problem-solving. We’ve trained more than 200,000 African peacekeepers since 2002 to help address security challenges from the DRC to Darfur, and we’ve dedicated more than half a billion dollars to supporting the African Union Mission in Somalia as it expands from 12,000 to nearly 18,000 soldiers.
Due in part to our support and that of other international partners, stability is in sight in Somalia for the first time in more than 20 years.
The fourth area is the promotion of good governance, democracy, and human rights.
Africa’s record on democracy is far better today than it was 20 years ago, but there’s still a long way to go. The US continues to support the development of democratic institutions and the empowerment of marginalised groups across Africa. One way we do this is through our Millennium Challenge Corporation compacts, which have invested nearly $6-billion in 14 African nations that have shown their commitment to strong democratic institutions, accountability and transparency. vWhenever people in either Africa or the US ask about the value we get for our assistance to Africa, these are the kinds of results I point to. What all these numbers add up to are millions of Africans living longer, becoming richer and getting the chance to make the most of their potential.
And the US is committed for the long haul to building on and extending the successes we’ve achieved together.