U.S.-Africa Partnership: The Last Four Years and Beyond

Posted by Johnnie Carson / January 29, 2013

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson observes elections in Dakar, Senegal, February 26, 2012. [U.S. Embassy photo/ Public Domain]

After more than 40 years of experience in Africa -- and the ebbs and flows of hope and conflict -- I've become ever more optimistic about Africa's future. As those of you who know me are aware, I like to base my conclusions on analysis and factual observations. Here, too, my optimism is grounded in real developments: expanded democracy, rapid economic growth, and greater security and opportunities for Africa's people. It's now realistic to think that the 21st century will not only be shaped in Beijing and Washington, but also in Pretoria, Abuja, Nairobi, and Addis Ababa.

In my January 16 remarks at the Wilson Center, I elaborated about this optimism and the Obama Administration's policies in Africa. Somalia and South Sudan are two places where no one previously believed… more »

In Malawi, the Future Belongs to the Organized

Posted by David Lane / January 25, 2013

Women farmers welcome U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome David Lane to Tidi Village, Malawi, on January 14, 2013. [State Department photo by Sharon Ketchum/ Public Domain]

After an early morning departure from Tanzania, we arrived in the Malawian capital of Lilongwe in a steady rain. The rain is not always favorable for travel, but it was very welcome in Malawi after a drought during the 2012 rainy season impacted the maize crop and food security, particularly in the south.

As I continued my first media tour as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations food and agriculture agencies in Rome I was excited to have two reporters from Malawi join the group of seven talented reporters traveling with me, five African and two European, to witness programs on the ground and help tell the Malawian story of increasing food security in Africa.

Despite the difficult situation in the south, it is an exciting time to visit Malawi because… more »

Smallholder Farmers Go Commercial in Tanzania

Posted by David Lane / January 24, 2013

Ambassador David Lane meets with farmers in Hoyohoyo Village, south of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, January 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

With the seven journalists accompanying me on our media tour, we said goodbye to Augustino, Fortunata, and the other farmers we had met around Arusha, and flew south to the humid, coastal climate of Dar es Salaam. We were eager to hear how the projects we had seen, along with many others across the country, are adding up to something bigger.

We spent a morning visiting a cassava multiplication project that the Government of Tanzania has undertaken in collaboration with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Cassava, a starchy root similar to the sweet potato, is a staple food in many parts of Tanzania.

On the way to Hoyohoyo Village, south of Dar… more »

Reporting on the U.S. Fight Against World Hunger

Posted by David Lane / January 23, 2013

Villagers in Mtanga, Malawi, where U.N.-backed development projects are helping farmers grow maize and start fish farming, April 16, 2007. [AP File Photo]

Our journey started with an early morning flight into the Tanzanian city of Arusha, where we were greeted by the impressive sight of Mount Kilimanjaro, whose snow covered peak dominates the landscape.

I was on my first media tour as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome. Accompanying me was a group of talented reporters from five African countries -- Malawi, Uganda, Ghana, Niger, and Tanzania -- plus two Europeans from France and Italy.

The U.S. Mission I lead -- to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the International… more »

Ghanaians Observe President Obama’s Inaugural Address

Posted by C. Pat Alsup / January 22, 2013

Young leaders watch a television broadcast of U.S. President Barack Obama's second inaugural address at the U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana, January 21, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

During the last year, as I joined Ambassador Gene Cretz to pay courtesy calls on Ghanaian government officials and politicians, one thing which struck me was the constant reference to President Obama's visit and his speech in Accra in 2009. For most people, President Obama's call to build strong institutions in Africa was most intriguing.

Most people I have met in Ghana indicate that the destinies of the United States and Ghana have increasingly become intertwined. Earlier in the month, as I witnessed President Mahama's inauguration,… more »

How To Build a ‘Happy Memory’—Volunteerism at Work in Zimbabwe

Posted by Sharon Hudson-Dean / January 19, 2013

Ambassador Bruce Wharton shares a laugh with Zimkids Director Tinashe Basa in Zimbabwe, December 11, 2012.  [U.S. Embassy photo/ Public Domain]

Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and interests come to Zimbabwe. They come to see the rhinos, elephants, and Victoria Falls; they come as part of church mission groups to build health clinics and schools; and they come to share their expertise and learn from Zimbabweans at all levels. Many American visitors end up doing a lot more than what they planned, motivated by the strong American sense of taking action when faced with a needy situation, as well as a personal desire to change situations for the better. At the U.S. Embassy in Harare, we often hear about these proactive, engaged Americans and are proud that they accomplish so much on their own. When possible, we support them with advice, publicity, and small grants.

"I wanted to make a happy memory," explains Dennis Gaboury, the founder… more »

Two Women, Two Countries, Two People: A Growing Partnership

Posted by Tara D. Sonenshine / January 15, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton shakes hands with Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., January 15, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

There is no more effective form of engagement than face-to-face communication. That's a fundamental principle of our public diplomacy. And thanks to a strong friendship and understanding between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf , we have just signed an important agreement between the United States and Liberia.

One year ago, this month, Secretary Clinton traveled to Monrovia to attend the inauguration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf . At the time she said, "Democracy hasn't just sprouted in Liberia, it has taken root."

The relationship struck between Secretary Clinton and President Sirleaf -- strengthened by their own personal narratives of empowerment and their mutual commitment to changing the lives of women and girls, peace-building,… more »

A New Dawn in Ghana

Posted by Gene A. Cretz / January 10, 2013

A new year means new challenges and new opportunities. In my corner of West Africa, both were on display this week. On Monday, January 7, as I drove through the red, yellow, and green clad streets of Accra towards Independence Square, I reflected on how privileged I was to witness history in the making as Ghana's fourth president of the Fourth Republic was on his way to the Square to be sworn in, after successfully concluding a hard-fought political campaign. Unfortunately, my previous diplomatic postings did not afford me an opportunity to see a peaceful assumption of power after a democratic election.

Witnessing the on-time arrival of dignitaries and convening of the new Parliament alongside a stage full of political leaders from across Africa and notably, Ghana's former presidents John Kufuor, Jerry Rawlings and former Secretary General Kofi Annan was an unforgettable… more »

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