National Security Strategy: From assistance to partnership with Africa

President Obama during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in August (© AP Images)

The National Security Strategy, released by the White House in February, sets the goals and priorities that guide American foreign policy toward achieving peace and prosperity around the world.

It is a report from the executive branch to Congress that explains strategy on issues important to U.S. national security.

As discussed in the 2015 National Security Strategy, American-African relations continue to shift from assistance to cooperation.

“For decades, American engagement with Africa was defined by aid to help Africans reduce insecurity, famine, and disease,” says the report. “In contrast, the partnerships we are forging today, and will expand in the coming years, aim to build upon the aspirations of Africans.”

The report includes these points of African engagement:

  • Work with partners to reduce deaths from Ebola, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Health Security Agenda.
  • Increase trade and business ties through initiatives like Trade Africa, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Doing Business in Africa campaign.
  • Develop future leaders, “young entrepreneurs, innovators, civic leaders, and public servants” with programs like the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).
  • Strengthen the peacekeeping capacity of organizations like the African Union and support “the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership, which will help African countries rapidly deploy to emerging crises.”