The Africa Program and the Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity's 2012 "Year in Review"Feb 08, 2013
A summary of the Africa Program and Leadership Project events, meetings, and publications of 2012 and the upcoming highlights of 2013.
For decades, much of the news about Africa was dire. From disease and famine to horrific violence, the continent has endured its share of problems. But while challenges remain, positive trends are developing across the continent. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson spoke about trends and developments and about U.S. involvement with the nations of Africa.
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Beyond AGOA: An Update Case for a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Between Africa and the United StatesNov 20, 2012
In this paper, McDonald, Lande & Matanda argue that, premised on conditions here in the U.S., in Africa and elsewhere, the ‘perfect storm’could be brewing for an effective renewal or enhancement of AGOA before the program expires in 2015. With ingredients such as the Obama Administration’s ‘whole-of-government’ approach, Africa’s rapid ascent as a trade and investment destination and the risk of an inappropriate response to China and other third countries’ Africa engagement, the paper’s recommendations pivot towards ensuring that the U.S. and Africa form a more equitable commercial partnership.
This summer, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission adopted new regulations requiring oil, gas, and mineral companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to report payments to foreign governments. The aim of the effort is to reduce the kind of corruption and insecurity seen in places like Angola, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – sometimes called the “resource curse.” But, argues Wilson Center scholar Jeff Colgan, it may also help reduce international conflict between more developed countries as well.
The Kennan Institute has selected Olga Litvin as the 2012-13 Robert H. Baraz Memorial Research Intern. The 2012-13 program year marks the 22nd year of the Kennan Institute’s Robert H. Baraz Memorial Research Internship Program. This program was established in 1991 in honor of the late Robert H. Baraz, longtime Director of the Office of Research and Analysis for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the U.S. Department of State. Each year, the Kennan Institute recognizes the Research Assistant who has provided the most outstanding level of service for the year.
One of the main obstacles to growth in Africa is the lack of intra-African trade and commerce. Africa Program Director Steven McDonald describes recent international efforts to encourage regional integration which he believes will accelerate economic growth, promote peace and stability, and support sustainable development goals.
In Rwanda, economic progress has come at the cost of democracy, with disenfranchisement especially high among youth, Wilson Center fellow Marc Sommers argues in a New York Times op-ed. President Paul Kagame’s virtual dictatorship may also be guilty of intimidating opposition politicians and journalists, Sommers says.
Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace played a major role in ending the nation’s 14-year civil war in 2003 and helped bring to power Liberia’s first female head of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Olubanke King-Akerele, who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs under Johnson Sirleaf discusses her new book, her country and the special role that women play there.
The site of hundreds of armed conflicts in the past quarter century, the Horn of Africa has suffered from a single-minded policy focus that emphasizes short-term tactical objectives at the expense of an overarching strategic vision, Wilson Center expert Paul Williams argues. Author of the new report, "Horn of Africa: Webs of Conflict and Pathways to Peace," Williams believes the time is now for policymakers to reconsider long-term strategies of peace-building and conflict-resolution—measures, which, he says, can go further to root out the causes of violence.