Monday, March 16, 2009

Testimony before the House Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations' Committee on Appropriations

On March 12, I testified before the House Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations' Committee on Appropriations on the topic of "Horn of Africa: Priorities and Recommendations" (read a transcript here). Writing on the website of the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs, Jim Fisher-Thompson quoted from my testimoney:
At a March 12 hearing before a House of Representatives subcommittee, former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn said, “It is essential to continue to work with the countries in the region and the traditional donor countries, including the members of the European Union, Norway, Canada, Australia, and Japan.” At the same time he agreed with [Acting Assistant Secretary for Africa Phillip] Carter that Africans need to chart their own destinies. “The United States cannot and should not be expected to solve the problems of the Horn on its own,” he told lawmakers.
Fisher-Thompson further quoted:
Shinn, now an adjunct professor of political science at George Washington University, mentioned a number of countries that now are interested in the Horn region, including “Egypt and some of the Arab Gulf states, which have a direct interest in developments in the Horn.” In Sudan, China has become “the principal non-African influence, and has a growing presence in Ethiopia and Eritrea,” he said. “China will not always agree with Western donors on the best approach to the region, but it has cooperated in Sudan and Somalia and should increasingly be brought into discussions concerning the Horn.” Shinn said Russia should be part of the consultative process “if for no other reason than to try to minimize the potential negative impact of its arms sales and because it has expressed a growing interest in investing in countries like Ethiopia.” The former diplomat said India is “a major player” in the Horn, especially in Ethiopia, which is its principal African recipient of economic assistance. Recently, Turkey has also made an effort to increase its relations in the Horn, especially with Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti, Shinn said. South America also has interests in the region, Shinn told the House panel. “Although Brazil’s main African focus is West Africa and the [Portuguese-speaking] countries, it is expanding ties with Sudan and Ethiopia.” Shinn stressed that all the countries mentioned should be part of efforts to solve problems in the region. In addition, the United Nations and agencies like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, African Union, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, African Development Bank, Arab Development Bank and Arab League (Sudan, Somalia and Djibouti are members) also “have the ability to influence developments in the Horn.”
The article also appears on UPDATE: (3/19): For the French version of the State Department's article, click here. UPDATE (4/8): East Africa Forum has posted the testimony transcript.

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