Unveiling a new strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa on Thursday, the White House said it believed that Africa could be the world’s next major economic success story.
It said the US believed in Africa as a region of growing opportunity and promise - "for Africa, for America, and for our people and our economies."
But while many countries on the continent had made tremendous strides to broaden political participation and reduce corruption, there was more work to be done to ensure fair electoral processes, transparent institutions that protect universal rights, and the provision and protection of security and public goods, it said.
It also warned that the US message to those who would derail the democratic process was clear and unequivocal: "The United States will not stand idly by when actors threaten legitimately elected governments or manipulate the fairness and integrity of democratic processes, and we will stand in steady partnership with those who are committed to the principles of equality, justice and the rule of law.'
The US administration added that it would work with its African partners to build strong institutions, to remove constraints to trade and investment, and to expand opportunities for African countries to effectively access each other’s markets and global markets, to embrace sound economic governance and diversify their economies beyond a narrow reliance on natural resources and - most importantly - create opportunities for Africa’s people to prosper.
"As we support these efforts, we will encourage American companies to seize trade and investment opportunities in Africa, so that their skills, capital and technology will further support the region’s economic expansion, while helping to create jobs here in America," it said.
The White House said its new vision toward sub-Saharan Africa provided a proactive and forward looking vision grounded in partnership.
The new strategy sets forth four strategic objectives and commits the US to elevate its efforts on the first two of these four pillars:
strengthening democratic institutions and spurring economic growth, trade and investment.
The four strategic objectives are:
- Strengthen Democratic Institutions: The new strategy commits the United States to work to advance democracy by strengthening institutions at every level, supporting and building upon the aspirations throughout the continent for more open and accountable governance, promoting human rights and the rule of law, and challenging leaders whose actions threaten the credibility of democratic processes. As the President said in Ghana: "Africa does not need strong men, it needs strong institutions."
- Spur Economic Growth, Trade and Investment: Through greater focus, engagement and the deployment of additional resources, the new strategy commits the United States to work to promote economic growth, including through increased trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa. The United States will promote an enabling environment for trade and investment; improve economic governance; promote regional integration; expand African capacity to effectively access and benefit from global markets; and encourage U.S. companies to trade with and invest in Africa.
- Advance Peace and Security: The new strategy calls on the United States to deepen its security partnership with African countries and regional organizations to meet the basic security needs of its people. Only Africa’s governments and people can sustainably resolve the security challenges and internal divisions that have plagued the continent, but the United States can make a positive difference.
- Promote Opportunity and Development: Nowhere in the world are our development efforts more central to our engagement as they are in Africa. We will continue working to focus on sustainable development outcomes and the new operational model for U.S. development assistance outlined in the 2010 Presidential Policy on Global Development.