Clinton Tours Africa, Emphasizes Potential for Partnerships

June 17, 2011 By Jake Moy

This past Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concluded a five-day tour across Africa that took her through Zambia, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Clinton’s remarks largely centered on trade policy, public health, and food security, yet the importance of a secure Africa for U.S. foreign and economic policy also underscored her remarks.

As the first U.S. Secretary of State to appear before the African Union, Clinton focused her address around three central themes—“Democracy, economic growth, and peace and security,”—and reiterated the U.S. pledge to support these goals. “Economic growth here spurs economic growth elsewhere,” she said. “Breakthroughs in health research here can save and improve lives in other lands. And peace established here makes the world more secure. So the United States seeks new and dynamic partnerships with African peoples, nations, and institutions.”

While free trade promotion and market expansion remained the primary focus of her talks, recent developments in public health, food security, and the inclusion of women were also major talking points throughout the trip. Clinton visited a number of USAID projects, funded by the International Affairs Budget, including a women’s cooperative outside of Dar es Salaam. There, the Secretary announced the U.S. intent to invest $70 million in agricultural development and food security in Tanzania over the next two years. America’s Feed the Future food security initiative, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) were also praised by the Secretary, as she emphasized the importance of country-led development efforts while in Zambia: “In every case, we want what we do to be country-led and country-driven. We want to deliver real results that people can see are making a difference in their lives. We want to empower people themselves.

The Secretary’s remarks largely reflect the importance of promoting growth, stability and diplomacy in an increasingly interconnected world. The ability to locate new markets, trading partners, and minimize security threats remains of paramount importance to U.S. prosperity in the global economy. “The United States is a generous nation, a fact that makes Americans justifiably proud,” noted Clinton during her closing remarks at the African Growth and Opportunity Forum. “But we have to be reminded that the purpose of aid is not to make us feel good about ourselves. It is to help people in developing countries improve their own lives, to have that paycheck. And by improving prosperity, one improves stability, and that does have a benefit for the United States to have a world that is safer and more prosperous.