What Steps Can the U.S. Take To Support Sustainable Growth in Africa?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
July 31, 2009
Farmer at Work in South Africa

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will begin a seven-nation trip to Africa at the 8th U.S. – Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (known as the AGOA Forum) in Nairobi, Kenya. This trip will highlight the Obama administration’s commitment to making Africa a priority and will be the earliest in any U.S. administration that both the President and the Secretary of State have visited Africa.

The Secretary’s trip follows the themes laid out by President Obama during his visit to Ghana: supporting strong and sustainable democratic governments; promoting sustainable economic development; strengthening public health and education; assisting in the prevention, litigation, and resolution of conflicts around Africa. Secretary Clinton will also stress the importance of facilitating social and economic entrepreneurship and discuss ways to foster good, regional governance, partnering with regional leaders to ban together to prevent conflict and violence, including gender-based violence, democratic erosions and transnational threats.

What steps can the U.S. take to support sustainable growth in Africa?

Comments

Comments

S
July 31, 2009

S. writes:

Replace corrupt country leaders with UN-Governance

elizabeth
|
Illinois, USA
July 31, 2009

Elizabeth in Illinois writes:

Teach the people of africa the skills needed the sustain itself. From food production to government. Food is the most important. Once the population can sustain itself food wise, it can focus on growing. People that do not have the means to survive cannot grow.

RoseProphecy
July 31, 2009

Rose P. writes:

We can help them help themselves and teach them the Knowledge of self and societal excellence while providing them the basics so that they can catch up with the world! Thaqnk you for asking and the most important thing is to give them faith and how it relates to their health and well being and their spiritual success as a part of the Global Family!

Jan
|
Canada
July 31, 2009

Jan in Canada writes:

Promoting the transfer of sustainable development research, strategic partnerships and gender empowerment with African countries. Empowering women entrepreneurs in small sustainable businesses is a very important part of sustainable development.

Best wishes,

Jan

matthew g.
|
California, USA
July 31, 2009

Matthew G. in California writes:

There can be no "sustainable" development when countries are forced to submit themselves wholly and fully to the "free market." The speculative driven marketplace creates wild price swings for Africa's many goods and commodities. How can you plan future investments, when you don't know what the price of grains, cocoa beans or oil will be?

China is showing the world how to develop sustainably - with a mixture of planning and capalism. When Asia went bust in the late 90s, China and Malaysia fared the best because they were able to insulate themselves from the wild market convulsions. When the US went bust last year, only China and State interventions in the West are able to keep the global economy growing.

Africa will only develop when its people are able to develop to their full potential. This means they need to be well fed, housed, (health) cared for and educated. The market has proved unable to do any of this for the majority of Africans. Instead of rewarding countries that invest in their largest source of capital (human beings) the US discriminates against those countries, giving aid only to those who follow our free market prescriptions. This is extremely wrong-headed.

Zharkov
|
United States
July 31, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Africa and the Middle East need a National Homicide Hotline, so when government leaders feel an urge to kill, they can dial a telephone number to talk to a social worker to help them work through their homicidal thoughts over the telephone until they feel better.

Instead of an "African Command", our Pentagon needs an "Anti-Homicide Command" staffed by resident psychiatrists trained to talk U.S. presidents down from their irrational urge to invade Iran, Central Europe, Africa, and South America. This will avoid a future financial collapse and reduce overuse of the National Homicide Hotline which we should establish for common criminals.

Also, perhaps U.S. presidents should wear a leash around the neck, so that we can keep them from wandering off while we are at war?

Andrew
|
California, USA
August 1, 2009

Andrew in California writes:

Soil carbon sequestration will increase local food yields, decrease import dependency, provide jobs, raise and replenish depleted water tables, provide cleaner water, and provide carbon revenue.

It starts from the ground up. Soil erosion and degradation is endemic to every continent. Tropical soils are often most sensitive to erosion and degradation. Soil carbon sequestration can occur on both rangeland (untilled) and arable soils (conversion to no till and permanent crops through pasture cropping, etc.) 50% of soil organic matter is carbon!

Each ton of soil carbon removes 3.67 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. Biochar is a good place to start: biochar can replace synthetic fertilizer 1:1 (Lehman 2007).

The average ag soil has lost 30-40 tons of carbon per hectare. Africa can't afford to lose any more topsoil: current degradation rates are among the highest in the world.

The crisis is an opportunity.

Currently there are several problems:
soils degradation
climate crisis and global warming
lack of income and opportunity for landowners
aid dependency culture
food scarcity; water and food conflicts

soil carbon addresses every one of these
soil = peaceful resolutions
scarcity = flashpoints and fertile ground for extremism
(there is evidence for this in Mid East recruitment accounts)

FAO, UNEP, IFAP and others are backing soil carbon in Copenhagen. Timely leadership from the State Dept. I have a colleague who has been working with your folks on this, re: biochar.

Great opportunities now abound.

Thanks for looking into this

Andrew

palgye
|
South Korea
August 1, 2009

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Hi.....

China.....

it`s a differnt issue to compare china.

in my think Africa need some like a "the Cultural Revolution"- not include killing.

The methphor was not appropriate and was not but, to Africa now the race and the tribe between the endless civil war occurs(the resources), now most first, will become one system for a union and all will hang and is thought that the "ideological unity" which overcomes is necessary.

"ideological unity"?
communism? capitalism? socialism? NO,

Hits to each area and is thought that the theory which has become anger is necessary. Is with one theory and will be able to apply that, only sees.............................

One kind point of sameness is..

The poor and rich to be big labor power abundance should is not a job and the rule in compliance with a decimal is continued and the craving is the river about democratization and the father, sees

The reconstruction of the industry which is unconditional to initially from like this situation Is educated from the foreign nation of decimal and a food revolution the reform movements which are voluntary the young map group leads - for example house improvement or the waterway improvement enterprise, gets up, (Food revolution-Appears the thing to become the instance whose "Madagascar" is good) accomplishing motive after mortar making difficulty,

Probably as the thing which will have an effect sees.

In national operating method of now is caused by in irregularity and corruption and that the possibility which again will go back with apocenter considerably grows comes to seem. The industrial equipment which after that falls to a time will provide the production equipment which hits to the regional characteristics with the financing form of low interest long-term and does to make the foundation of industrialization solidify to will not hit and peels?

The first time with improvement of the food which starts at small capital and house environment inspiration of accomplishing feeling

The second time sees that the induction with the secondary industry which is suitable is necessary in the people where the existence ground is prepared.

(If possibility is and in them does to make unite with ideology, or the ideology which is unified does to make the penetration with the enormous market haste which becomes one but, With the resources of Africa appears the external factor who besieges this not to be allowing easily)

Too to be long appears the thing to be becoming the writing which is description.

P.S. The energy revolution field strengthens binding together the inside

Compares

The health care reform field demand persude "THE INSIDES" and does to one in the problem which reforms with difficult ,thinks.

and, how to? i don`t know....

If say strongly,

Until now, one team was necessary in one problem but,

Now is visible with one problem but the thing meets the iceberg which is enormous has a numerous obstacle is same.

Various open circuit will make the team to will be how?

For example," public information, congressional passage team, After passing the situation arrangement team which in volume reverse by (hierarchy) which comes to divide will move, when the whole nation medical treatment data electric computer team etc.ã (attitude first case later remembers,ã. As the point of view where the gain and loss where the former times medical treatment reformative team should have become larger why size like that will become sees. Citizens?)

UNITY..

This field when a little there is experience and says that is impossible. That theoretically is impossible, comes to think, the company and the bureaucracy which even actually are related in the citizen and rights, political man etc.

Is like that but thinks that must do. When cannot. We are defeated, (keeping to imagining)

from a idiot (not compare)

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
August 1, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

1. Government stability via military support, food aid until self sufficency is developed, education and health care.

2. Self sufficiency of basic elements: People need food, housing, clothing, utilities, transportation and communication. Efforts should be utilized to this end. Education is useless if it cannot be applied.

3. Help them develope border country relations and interdependency in a peaceful democratic manner.

Jiesheng
|
United Kingdom
August 2, 2009

Jiesheng in the United Kingdom writes:

Make USAID and the US MCC as one big department level agency fcous on development and NOT strategic concerns

Target the 0.7%/GNI of aid

Get a neew trade round in place -- cut back on your farm subsidies

Onari
|
Arizona, USA
August 2, 2009

Onari in Arizona writes:

As Secretary Clinton prepares go to Africa, she must be forcefull in pushing for African leaders to get ride of corruption and encourage hard work and innovation. In Nigeria inparticular Clinton should demand to visit the Niger Delta area, not the major cities, but the areas where the oil is been drilled, so as to appreciate the squalor in which the people of the Niger Delta live in the midst so much wealth. Never have any top U.S. official visited the area to see things by themselves.

The people will be very much happy if Secretary of state do visit the area. Even the so called rebels will be glad she visit the area to see the level of deprivation, injustice and oppression that have persisited over fifty years of Oil explorarion in the Niger Delta.

The USA must not give up on Africa, but continue to push for accountability and responsibility. They must not abandon Africa, because if they do rogue nations will take over and it mught be difficult to return in the future. The USA must reject money been laundered out of Africa by African leaders and prosecute those involved as a deteriant to others.

Jiesheng
|
United Kingdom
August 3, 2009

Jiesheng in the United Kingdom writes:

All U.S. policy makers should read this:

http://www.globalpolicy.org/social-and-economic-policy/financing-for-dev...

Ron
|
New York, USA
August 3, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

A DECLARATION OF TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE BY ALL AFRICAN LEADERS TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIY OF DONORS AND INVESTORS AND THE AFRICAN PEOPLE.

Sadiq D.
|
Nigeria
August 4, 2009

Sadiq in Nigeria writes:

I am of the opinion that the time for paying lip service to developing Africa is over. The climes in Africa is changing; the explosion in computer & communication access has opened up the continent to a lot of changes both positive & negative. the people are now restless agitating for positive & progressive growth in their communities but the continent is not ready to absorb these new developments because the leaders are not good, the infrastructures are not ready & poverty & illiteracy has made the people frustrated. The answer for the U.S.A. is participatory application of diplomacy, democracy & development. The people at the grassroots need to feel practically the trickling down of development, governance,access to & for markets, functional & productive health & educational facilities. Madame secretary has to wake up & engage U.S. personnel in Africa

ilia
|
Puerto Rico
August 4, 2009

Ilia in Puerto Rico writes:

Africa has a long history of ongoing conflicts, coups, rebellions and civil unrest. There is always one somewhere. Countries that are politically inept cannot progress. An effectual government that promotes human rights without repressive dictatorship is the sustainable growth that will move forward some African countries out of its stagnation. Those never ending conficts among problematic countries cannot ensure security.

There should be progressive leaders who care to end the continent's isolation and despotism. There is much to be done about famine, drought, health, infrastructure and communications. A regeneration could blossom if human rights are enforced, democracy, Western capitalism with African values and national unity could make economy prosper. A good governance accountability without corruption.

Africa is a fascinating continent with a cultural mix of peoples and natural attractions. Its future could be bright.

Unfortunately, peace agreements are intermittent and broken. Continuing regional turmoils withdraws peaceful stability and progress.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 4, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Ok, here's a short laundry list, not necessarily in order of priority, but simultaneously essential in implementation to get there from here.

Security:

All the world's a stage, and there are good and bad actors on it.

If this was theater, we'd use a hook to drag some off the stage, never mind the ensuing laughter.

If the international community cannot find the collective guts to go and arrest a nation's leader indited by the Hauge for crimes against humanity in curcumstances that have been defined as "Genocide" under international law, then don't bother reading the rest of this laundry list, because it won't happen.

"Without security, nothing can be built."
-Hamid Karzai

What holds true for Afghanisn holds true for Africa.

----

Towards a green economy:

I take a real litteral approach to this in that were all the loggers to be turned into tree farmers, paid to plant trees, we just might be able to restore the natural carbon sink on this planet that has been lost through deforestation.

So, good forest management is essential in all nations, not just Africa and other rain forest areas.

As go the trees, so goes mankind.

Add this to the focus on sustainable agriculture.

---

Migrations of peoples:

Whether caused through conflict or famine, some better way to handle care for the displaced must be found.

That entails creating the conditions for their return home.

Which in some cases means using "the hook" in real-time terms of getting rid of the bad actors causing instability.

For the international community, the choice boils down to whether instability as the status quo will continue for the long, or the short term, being affected by "an outside force" to put it in Newtonian terms, and adapted to the laws of political inertia.

It's no longer "Someone else's problem."

That step in realization is still in the maturing on the international stage.

---

Confidence:

It is one thing to offer hope, it altogether a different thing when one creates it.

Will the people of all tribes of Africa prove that they can?

And sustain it?

A choice between non violence and non existance...

I'm betting on survival instinct.

I'd say it's a worthy investment to promote that.

Essential to a sustainable lifestyle, for sure.

What comes from that in terms of growth is the 64 dollar question regarding Africa's potential, as well as the individual nations and people's within the continent.

Jonathan
|
California, USA
August 4, 2009

Jonathan in California writes:

Absolutely, Africa needs A LOT of support to improve education and entrepreneurship!

Responsible governance will blossom if education and entrepreneurship are cultivated and financed sufficiently.

Conga
|
South Africa
August 5, 2009

Conga in South Africa writes:

Good Day,
Simple answer from an African victim of wars :
1. U.S. & European Civil societies to looby so that their countries Must arrest all private individuals fuelling Wars in Africa using Internationally known companies, with the assistance of official institutions like CIA, UN, UNHCR, etc...., which list includes aides for Bill Clinton, Georges W Bush, Dick Cheney,Tony Blair, etc....

2. The same countries Must discourage trade linked to resources from War Countries, like Sudan, DRC, through which Money goes to Bank accounts to same countries, and arms are bought from the same countries to fuel wars and dictatorships.

3. Encourage Intenational bodies like International tribunals to truly be impartial, serving the interests of a few individuals in the world, mostly companies based in U.S., U.K., and Europe.

4. These measures will then allow Africans to be free, and take their own destiny. The BAD things come from Corruptions, Wars, and Dictatorships, in an Internationally promoted from official institutions supposed to protect and balance the World.

Conga.

Suleman
|
South Africa
August 5, 2009

Suleman in South Africa writes:

Over the years the U.S.A. has poured a lot of Dollas in Africa in good faith to help give Africa sustainable growth, but has it worked?

I feel before U.S.A. can start any new programme to assit any African government , an audit is required for those countries which have received a lot of assistance from USA in past to determine wether that aid has been used for the benefit of the people.

A country like Uganda under President Museveni has received a lot of assistance but the people of Uganda have not benefited as such instead, the President,his family , the immediate family friends,and army officers from his tribe are stinking rich! while the population is in abject poverty.Imagine the main hospital of MULAGO is near collapse

For U.S.A. to continue supporting govts like that of President Museveni which is undemocratic without institutions of oversight,is a waste of U.S.A.'s tax payer's money, U.S.A. rather not help at all
God Bless
Suleman

Trevor W.
|
South Africa
August 5, 2009

Trevor W. in South Africa writes:

I wish Hilary well on her tour and the U.S. well in assisting Africa.

I do believe that she should be careful of getting U.S. tax payers money committed to supporting GMO and chemical giants such as Monsanto in Africa. They are big enough and rich enough to continue with their open policy of bribing third world politicians and officials. The U.S. taxpayer should not be burdened with this. We welcome any schemes which will help people to help themselves and those which will improve the infrastructure. Please do not make the same mistake as Bill Gates and waste your time with GM seeds, especially where taxpayers money is concerned.

trevor W.
|
South Africa
August 6, 2009

Trevor in South Africa writes:

Please take heed of this valid advice.
Ben Burkett, president of the National Family Farm Coalition, a member of the international farmers movement La Via Campesina, cautioned, "As an African American farmer who has visited farmers in Africa many times, I am deeply concerned that much of the Obama Administration's pledge to spend $1 billion on agriculture research will be wasted on biotech research that benefits Monsanto more than it does small-scale farmers. While I applaud the renewed focus on helping Africa feed itself, our taxpayer money is doomed to be wasted if it continues to fund business as usual. Secretary Clinton and Secretary Vilsack need to learn from previous disastrous biotechnology experiments such as the Kenyan GM sweet potato project. Many Kenyan farmers resent the U.S., Monsanto and the Gates Foundation for continuing to shove unwanted biotechnology down their throats."

Ann
|
Minnesota, USA
August 6, 2009

Ann in Minnesota writes:

At the "county fair" in Nakuru Kenya in July there was a concentration on fertilizers and hybrid seeds. I don't see how this will help the poor people in the long run who plant seeds from their crops (hominy and chard) year to year. Will they be encouraged to go into debt for this "advance" in farming? What's the U.S. role in promoting chemicals and hybrids? Who's making the money? Who's losing money?

Tom C.
|
Tennessee, USA
August 6, 2009

Tom L. in Tennessee writes:

Faith-based groups have supported the citizens of Africa for over a hundred years yet they rely solely on the generosity of their congregations. To sustain growth in Africa, the basic issues of clean water,nutritious food, and health must be solved. Many billions have been spoent on HIV/AIDS research while the basic holistic solution to preventive medicine and health education combined with safe clean drinking water and food would go further in solving the health issues. Faith-based groups/NGOs could mobilize and employ corps of experienced US people to solve these issues at a tribal/village level and not at the governmental level. The key is village -level action plans. Think in task force terms with experienced people skilled in the trades/technical aspects tackling the water/agriculture/health/medical issues that can lead to endemic Africans learning new trades/technical knowledge that can be translated into sustainable employment and job growth through the creation of new African industries.

The African Workforce Development and Sustainable Economies Task Force could be based on the Peace Corps model but with salaries sufficient to attract the talent and skills necessary to accomplish the goals. Faith-based groups rely on volunteers on mission trips who fly in for 2 weeks build a hospital or dig a well then the volunteeers leave. The well pump breaks down and no one is around to teach them to repair it. The hospital building beautiful but no one has provided the supplies or petrol to run the generators. Paracute mission trips do not work. A multi-year intensive task force attitude can achieve positive long term results.

Susan
|
Florida, USA
August 6, 2009

Susan in Florida writes:

Don't just give a man a fish, but teach him to fish and he will become self reliant. I agree with those who have said that more money, more corporations, and more political interference, are not the answers. With patience, creativity, and LONG RANGE plans, Africa would fair better, and, eventually, be able to solve their own problems. How long has it taken the African nations to reach this point? Centuries?! Their problems will not be solved by short term solutions. We, (the U.S.), should learn from past mistakes, no matter how well intentioned, and take a different approach. Perhaps dealing with co-operative nations on grassroot levels would be a good beginning. That seems smart to me.

Jonathan
|
California, USA
August 6, 2009

Jonathan in California writes:

Support educational reforms in Africa!

David
|
Indiana, USA
August 6, 2009

David in Indiana writes:

It does seem that greater support for combating grought is needed in Africa. Help in investment in water storage facilities and greater use of irrigation that does not use rivers. I have seen a few examples of using huge plastic containers to collect rain water and then using that rain water during times of drought to increase agricultural production. Investment in this type of industry could be extremely helpful. Multiplying the number of large rain water collection containers might go a long way in building sustainable growth.

Trevor W.
|
South Africa
August 6, 2009

Trevor W. in South Africa writes:

I refer to my previous postings.

I know that the looney right who believe a nuclear war is winnable are putting pressure on the citizens of the USA to back the corrupt Chemical Agricultural Giants who are stealing land.

The U.S. government should not be using ordinary U.S. citizens taxes to back these international land grabbers.

"Food sovereignty" is a term coined by members of Via Campesina in 1996 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_sovereignty] to refer to a policy framework advocated by a number of farmers, peasants, pastoralists, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, women, rural youth and environmental organizations, namely the claimed "right" of peoples to define their own food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries systems, in contrast to having food largely subject to international market forces.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 7, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Trevor in SA, Don't believe everything you think.

"Food soveregnity" doesn't matter to those without enough to eat, and only a global system of market and distributon will allow local farmers to expand the agricultural base economies of nations.

And if they don't, all you have to do is compare total global food production estimates over the next 20 years to the total projected global populaton increase over this period to understand the world is faced with the grave possibility that by 2030, about half the world's population will be starving to death.

Quaint notions of soveregnity will go out the window in the ensuing food riots, toppling of governments and the ensuing anarchy and instability that will result.

To prevent this, farmers globally will have to increase yields on existing arrable land, as well as creating new arrable lands to produce food.

Bottom line is that the public, corperations, governments, will all have to work as partners, not in opposition with each other, to get enough food to market to feed the world.

.

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