Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Engages Nairobi Press

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 9, 2009
Secretary Clinton Participates in Press Interview in Kenya

Interactive Travel Map | Text the Secretary | Behind the Scenes PhotosWhile in Kenya, Secretary Clinton participated in interviews with local media.

While in Nairobi, Kenya, Secretary Clinton participated in interviews with local reporters, including Seanice Kacungira of Capital FM, Bill Odidi of Metro FM and Fatuma Sanbur of IQRA FM. Their conversations covered a range of topics.

In her interview with Bill Odidi of Metro FM, Secretary Clinton underscored the Obama administration’s commitment to Africa. The Secretary said, "I think both the President’s visit to Ghana and the very important speech he gave there, my visit to Africa, starting here in Kenya, are meant to send a signal that we want to elevate Africa and African concerns, not just in American foreign policy, but in global policy. If you look at any problem we’re facing today, and if you look at any opportunity that exists today, Africa is ripe with both peril and promise. And we want to work with the people of Africa to help solve problems and to give more support to those who are moving their countries in a new direction."

IQRA FM's Fatuma Sanbur asked Secretary Clinton specifically about Somalia. She responded, "[W]e have absolutely no intention of doing any kind of military action on our own. And in fact, we have been pleased that the African Union and African countries have come to the aid of the Transitional Federal Government to try to stabilize Somalia and to drive out the violent extremists who, as you say, often target innocent people.

I mean, what kind of war is it when you kill women and children, and you destroy for the sake of destruction, to intimidate people and just break the spirits of people? And the Somali people have suffered for a very long time. The United States wants to help Somalis themselves take back their country, take it away from foreign fighters and foreign ideas that are un-Somalia. This is not about Somalia anymore. It’s about trying to gain control over a piece of territory so that you can create a terrorist haven... This is something that I feel very strongly about. But we’re going to support those who are trying to support a better future."

In her interview with Seanice Kacungira of Capital FM, Secretary Clinton emphasized the need to provide opportunities for women. The Secretary said, "[T]he role that women have to play in any society is so critical, and it’s particularly critical in Africa, where too many women are impoverished, they’re marginalized, they’re unable to really obtain the tools of education and healthcare for themselves and their children, and then it perpetuates dependency, it perpetuates the cycle of poverty. And that’s especially important because women are the tools and the real drivers of change in their own families. I mean, there’s that old saying: You educate a man, you educate a man; you educate a woman, you educate a family.

And the World Bank and other economists have said over and over again that if you want to jumpstart development, then give the tools to your women who are underutilized. A lot of men are already able to exercise their income-generating capacity, and women are held down and held back. So I think we have to provide opportunities for women. We have to respect the rights and roles and responsibilities that women should have. And then the best outcome is for individual women to be prepared and equipped to make decisions that are right for them. If they want to be a broadcaster on the radio, then that should be a decision. If they want to devote themselves to their families and their children, that should be the decision. But if they want to balance family and work, which is what most women who have the opportunity to do so actually do in today’s world, then that should be what we aim for – to give women the choices that will enable them to lead the lives that will be productive."


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