Conversations With America: U.S. Engagement With the African Union

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
March 12, 2012

Dr. Michael Battle, U.S. Ambassador to the African Union, held a conversation with Steve McDonald, Africa Program Director, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on U.S. Engagement with the African Union. The discussion was moderated by Cheryl Benton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, and is now available for on demand viewing above or here. Videos are also available on iTunes as podcasts.

Members of the public were invited to participate by submitting questions via DipNote and Twitter, and some of those questions were selected for response during the broadcast.

Through Conversations with America, leaders of national nongovernmental organizations have the opportunity to discuss foreign policy and global issues with senior State Department officials. These conversations aim to provide candid views of the ways in which leaders from the foreign affairs community are engaging the Department on pressing foreign policy issues.

View other Conversations with America here and by accessing the Conversations with America video podcasts on iTunes.

Comments

Comments

Ian N.
|
California, USA
March 14, 2012

Ian in California writes:

Why has the AU allowed Zimbabwe leaders to commit Genocide without consequences?

SPIRITUAL I.
|
Florida, USA
March 14, 2012

Sicory in Florida writes:

MY QUESTION IS WHAT IS CURRENT OR PROSPECTIVE POLICY TOWARDS INTERNATIONAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS AND ECONOMIC GOALS OF AFRICA AND AFRICA STATES IN LIGHT OF RETROSPECTIVE AND PROSPECTIVE ECONOMIC RISE IN COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITIES.

Tony F.
|
California, USA
March 14, 2012

Tony in California writes:

Why is the 'West' falling behind China in terms of new investments in Africa, especially in infrastructural developments?

David W.
|
Michigan, USA
March 14, 2012

David in Michigan writes:

Perhaps I must be dense, but I cannot find the time, date, and how to join this interview on U.S. Engagement with the African Union.

Thanks.

DW

Nicolas C.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
March 14, 2012

Nicolas in Washington, D.C. writes:

Possible Questions
*Institutional Issues. How operationally effective are the main institutions of the AU, in particular the AU Commission (AUC) secretariat and the Peace and Security Council? What are their key challenges? Will the AUC ultimately be replaced with a new AU Authority, and if so, why? What is the status of the establishment of the AU Court of Justice?
*Capacity Building Cooperation. In what ways could the United States more effectively assist AU institutional capacity-building efforts, particularly in partnership with G-8 and other donors? Please discuss the AU’s capacity to effectively absorb potentially higher levels of assistance from its donor partners. To what extent, if at all, is there a need for a more systematic or consolidated U.S. approach to assisting the AU? What types of assistance not related to security issues or democratization would be most beneficial?
*AMISOM and Peacekeeping. What is the current and planned level and functional focus of U.S. support for AMISOM, both in the field and at AU headquarters? How has U.S. assistance for AMISOM been complemented by aid from other donors? How is such assistance coordinated? What are the key lessons learned by the AU and its donor partners arising from its past peacekeeping missions in Burundi and Sudan?
*Military Capacity. What is the current status of and prospects for the African Standby Force (ASF)? How is it regionally configured and organizationally structured? What are the views of African leaders on the role that the U.S. Africa Command can better play in potentially assisting the AU to help build the capacities of the ASF? Please describe the U.S. engagement with the AU with respect to the U.S. Global Peace Operations Initiative.
* AU Initiative and U.S. Support. What is the funding level and programmatic focus of U.S. non-security-related assistance to the AU? What have been the chief successes and challenges to date of NEPAD, the AU economic framework? How, if at all, does or should the United States assist NEPAD? Same questions with regard to CAADP. What impacts has the AU African Peer Review Mechanism had on government effectiveness in Africa?
*U.S. Policy Goals. What are the chief goals for U.S.-AU cooperation in a) the security and conflict resolution sphere; b) regarding democratization; and c) regarding economic integration and growth and socio-economic development challenges (the diverse issues handled by the AU’s Specialized Technical Committees)? Are there other goals?
*AU-Regional Relations. How are relations between the AU and Africa's regional economic communities (RECs) and national governments, respectively, play in the implementation of regionally-focused AU or NEPAD initiatives? How does the AU Continental Early Warning System work with respect to linking the AU and the various regions of Africa? Is it formally integrated with or otherwise connected to these conceptually-related regional efforts? What have been the chief successes and challenges to date of NEPAD, the AU economic framework? Please discuss the role and powers of the AU Pan-African Parliament and the AU

Thank you

Melvin H.
|
United States
March 14, 2012

Melvin in the U.S. writes:

Great programming from the Wilson Center. We at "The New Beginning Initiative" are honored that Dr. Battle "inaugurated" NBI in January, 2010 in Addis. In our shared dais, his perspective carried both official and personal perspectives of great moment. In my own remarks as Chairman of NBI, I extolled the value of peace-making, peace-keeping and peace-building as pathways to a more appropriate social and economic development framework for individual and regional communities on the continent. Question: What are the best of practice and application of peace building methodologies that might involve the "Sixth Region" of the African Union in measurable outcomes for Africa's "appropriate" development initiatives? This question need not be asked during the session, but I am interested in this line of inquiry and practice, and would benefit from further discussion and involvement with both State and the Wilson Center in exploration of such matters. My best to you both, Michael and Steve. I look forward to the presentation. Mel

Ezekiel E.
|
Idaho, USA
March 14, 2012

Ezekiel in Idaho writes:

Looking at the visa waiver program, no African country is included. Visa to the United States from African countries are made almost impossible to obtain. Yet the official position of the US State Department is that the United States is interested in helping Africa. Why is Africa treated differently?

Michael
|
Uganda
March 14, 2012

Michael in Uganda writes:

Will the US give both logistical and technical support to the newly formed AU Joint Task Force to fight the LRA. They certainly will need especially air support given the kind of terrain they will be operating in.

Brock H.
|
New Jersey, USA
March 14, 2012

Brock in New Jersey writes:

What can the State Department do to promote in the U.S. wider awareness of the AU's Charter for democratic elections? I think the document is a vital AU and African effort that is slowly gaining ground there but is relatively unknown here among people interested in Africa but not working in diplomatic circles. Greater US support for it here would encourage its support there.

Maureen
|
Massachusetts, USA
March 14, 2012

Maureen in Massachusetts writes:

Cheryl Benton and Conversations with America: African Union
questions below.

Either participant:
As an American citizen, I believe that one way for us to improve food security in Africa would be to more publicly explore the analysis that a food secure Africa, Middle East will subsequently have positive impact on our future national security. Do you believe that “food security” and across the board humanitarian issues will be linked more and more with “national security” in terms of budgetary concerns?

Steve McDonald:
Given your expertise in conflict resolution in Africa do you have additional advice and/or “what is your take” on resolution and the best path to stability with regard to the Syrian conflict?

Michael A. Battle:
What is your relationship with the WFP and the empowerment of women in your important work?

Either participant:
Are you involved with any green initiatives such as the harnessing of solar power for infrastructure in Africa?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 14, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

My question on the African Union is;

What are their plans and strategy to end the various security issues and conflicts on the African continent, and how are we partnering with them to effectively bring them to an end?

Sudan, Somalia, various non-state actors running amok in several other countries, and all the misery caused by terrorism...seems like an ongoing open wound that never gets treated properly...so what are folks prepared to do about it to bring effective therapy that heals societies?

Thanks for taking our questions.

EJ

Eric-Michel S.
|
United States
March 15, 2012

Eric-Michel in the U.S. writes:

The African Union Representational Mission in the United States is overseeing the constitution of An Apex Organization destined to foster the trade and investment relationship between the United States and African Countries,notably under the terms of AGOA.
What to expect from the US administration in term of support of such an initiative?
How committed is the current admnistration to facilitate enhancements to the current form of the AGOA legislation? Will there ever be an African free trade agreement?
Thanks.

Karl A.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
March 15, 2012

Karl A. in Washington, D.C. writes:

What, if any, effect has US support for Operation Odyssey Dawn had on US/AU relations?

.

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