Council on Foreign Relations: President Obama and Sub-Saharan Africa

By Richard Joseph

In his most recent article, Richard Joseph analyzes the Obama administration’s June 2012 policy paper on Africa and provides specific policy recommendations for the President’s second term. This article was written as a guest post for John Campbell’s ‘Africa in Transition’ blog on the Council of Foreign Relations’ website. It can be read below, or on the Council’s website here.

On June 14, 2012, President Obama affixed his signature to the “U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa.” It identified four focus areas: democratic institutions; growth, trade and investment; peace and security; and opportunity and development. The response from the policy community was a shrug. Mwangi Kimenyi of the Brookings Institution claimed that the policy document was neither “new” nor “strategic,” and did not establish a “foundation for creative engagement with an emerging Africa.”

The Obama administration must confront two challenges. First, it must convey more effectively the important contributions the U.S. has already made toward these priorities. Second, Mr. Obama has to put his personal stamp on specific initiatives he considers central to his legacy.

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Voice of America: The Obama Administration and sub-Saharan Africa

Having faced multiple global emergencies during its first term, has President Obama’s administration paid enough attention to sub-Saharan Africa? Is more action needed to counter-balance China’s growing economic influence, emphasize democratization and human rights, and support the continent’s own security efforts? Richard Joseph suggests that the Obama administration has, in fact, invested in the continent by introducing new initiatives and maintaining support for programs started by his predecessors. He contends their impact will only become clearer in the future.

Richard Joseph was one of three experts interviewed by Voice of America to discuss these important topics. The article can be read below, or on the Voice’s website.

“Analysts Press Obama Administration to Focus on sub-Saharan Africa”

By William Eagle

Many Africa watchers complain that in this environment, the administration has not paid enough attention to sub-Saharan Africa. J Peter Pham, the director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center at the non-partisan Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, said “There’s a bit of disappointment the president himself has not been so engaged, that in sub-Sahara Africa he arrived in Ghana one time in his first year in office for little more than 19 hours to deliver one speech; there has not been consistent follow up engagement at that very highest of levels. “The administration took almost three years to appoint an assistant administrator of US Agency of International Development for Africa. An African strategy was only released this past June. The White House has not been engaged as it has been in previous administrations.” Continue reading