Thursday, June 14, 2012

US Strategy in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Obama Administration released on 14 June 2012 a major white paper titled U.S. Strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa. Click here to access the document.

The strategy is a solidification of existing policy rather than a statement of new policy. There are no new major initiatives and the paper comes out in a budget climate where it is not reasonable to expect new U.S. government financial flows to Africa. Nevertheless, it does offer a good statement of current U.S. policy towards Sub-Saharan Africa.

The paper does propose a "Doing Business with Africa Campaign" to mobilize the U.S. private sector. If pursued seriously, this could have significant impact. But even this modest project has unfortunate timing. One of the key actors in any such program is the U.S. Department of Commerce and there is no indication that new resources are being made available to support the program within Commerce or by the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The Secretary of Commerce recently experienced a medical issue and may not be available to lend his stature to the initiative.

For a similar reaction to the white paper, click here to read a blog posting by Sarah Margon at the Center for American Progress and previously on the staff of former Senate Africa Subcommittee Chairman Russell Feingold.

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