Africa: A place of trusted friends and partners [video]

Woman in colorful dress walking in a wheat field (Shutterstock)

The United States remains steadfast in its commitment to Africa and will fortify that partnership by focusing on four key elements aimed at tackling various issues on the continent, a top State Department official said September 13.

“Africa is a place of trusted friends and partners,” Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon said as he laid out the four themes:

  • Advancing peace and security.
  • Countering terrorism.
  • Increasing economic growth and investment.
  • Promoting democracy and good governance.

Advancing peace

The U.S. has asked African countries to publicly oppose North Korea’s missile launches and nuclear tests, curb political and economic engagement with the communist country, and terminate North Korea’s illicit trade networks.

“Numerous African partners have taken concrete actions, but more needs to be done,” Shannon said.

The U.S. will maintain its partnership with the African Union and regional organizations that have helmed successful efforts to end violence and prevent mass atrocities. Boosting the burgeoning ranks of regional peacekeepers in Africa is a priority for this administration, Shannon said.

Combating terrorism

The Trump administration will look for partnerships with African allies to eliminate terrorist groups from the continent, Shannon said.

Those groups include, but are not limited to, ISIS–West Africa, Boko Haram and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

“We must work with our partners — including civil society, traditional authorities and religious leaders — to address the root causes of conflict, combat marginalization and create economic opportunity,” Shannon said. “There is no long-term solution to terrorism absent this comprehensive approach.”

Increasing economic growth

The U.S. will look to create jobs in Africa — for Africans and Americans — by shifting its economic relationship with the continent to trade and investment and making it less about aid, Shannon said.

The U.S. will continue scouting opportunities to beef up two-way trade and investment.

“Trade will be free, fair and reciprocal, and our investors will be more competitive,” Shannon said.

“This administration seeks to do business not just in Africa, but with Africa.”

— Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon

The administration will continue connecting with regional organizations to push good governance and the rule of law.

“We see the corrosive effects of corruption as fundamentally detrimental to the future success of African societies,” Shannon said.

Shannon delivered his remarks in Washington at the United States Institute of Peace to open its one-day symposium entitled “U.S.-African Partnerships: Advancing Common Interests.”

The nonprofit institute, formed in 1984 through an act of Congress, promotes peace in conflict areas.

This article was written by freelance writer Lenore T. Adkins.