Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Interview in The East African

Kevin J. Kelley quotes me at length in his piece "No dramatic change in US policy for EA expected - analysts" in The East African (Nairobi, Kenya). In the article, Kelley explains that many Washington insiders are arguing that President Obama will not have major changes in store for East Africa, and that his focus in Africa will likely be on Sudan, Somalia, Congo, and Zimbabwe. Here are the relevant quotes:
David Shinn, an Africa specialist who worked at the State Department for 37 years, offers a similar appraisal. “The top echelon of the US government is not going to be focusing on East Africa,” he says. Mr Shinn suggests that President Obama’s family ties to Kenya will make a difference in Washington’s and Nairobi’s perceptions of their relationship but will probably have little effect on actual US policy toward Kenya. Mr Obama is likely to continue speaking out against corruption in Africa, as he did during his tenure in the US Senate, Mr Shinn predicts. “And Kenya will not escape that.” He also expects the Obama administration to place “a little more emphasis” on democracy issues in Uganda than did the Bush administration. It is unlikely, however, that the United States will publicly urge President Yoweri Museveni not to seek a fourth term, Mr Shinn says. A more plausible option would involve increased US aid for democracy-building projects in Uganda, he speculates. Mr Shinn, a former US ambassador to Ethiopia, notes that acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Phillip Carter met last week with opposition leaders in Addis Ababa. That may not presage a major shift in the strong US alliance with the Ethiopian government, but “it does send a signal,” Mr Shinn says.
The entire article is available here.

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