In recent years, the United States has engaged in a concerted effort to transform our relationship with Africa. We have supported efforts by many African nations to move toward multi-party democracy, hold free and fair elections, promote human rights, allow freedom of the press and association, enhance civil and judicial institutions, and reform their economies. A new, post-Cold War political order is emerging in Africa, with emphasis on democratic and pragmatic approaches to solving political, economic, and environmental problems, and developing human and natural resources. United States-Africa ties are deepening, and U.S.-Africa trade is expanding.
Sustaining these recent successes will require that we identify those issues that most directly affect our interests. We will promote regional stability through engagement with sub-regional organizations and key African states using carefully harmonized U.S. programs and initiatives. We recognize and are sensitive to the challenges many African states face as they move toward multi-party democracy and civil-military relations, and we will work to focus our limited resources on assisting their transition. Our immediate objective is to increase the number of capable states in Africa, that is, nations that are able to define the challenges they face, manage their resources to effectively address those challenges, and build stability and peace within their borders and their sub-regions.
Serious transnational security threats emanate from pockets of Africa, including state-sponsored terrorism, drug trafficking and other international crime, environmental degradation, and infectious diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. Since these threats transcend state borders, they are best addressed through effective, sustained sub-regional engagement in Africa. We have already made some progress in countering some of these threats — such as by investing in efforts to combat environmental degradation and infectious disease, and leading international efforts to remove mines planted in previous conflict areas and halt the proliferation of land mines. We continue efforts to reduce the flow of illegal drugs through Africa and to curtail international organized criminal activity based in Africa. We will improve international intelligence sharing, and train and assist African law enforcement, intelligence, and border control agencies to detect and prevent planned terrorist attacks against U.S. targets in Africa.
We seek to keep Africa free of weapons of mass destruction by supporting South Africa’s nuclear disarmament and accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state, supporting the African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, and encouraging African nations to join the BWC and CWC.
Nigeria’s rapid change from an autocratic, military regime to a civilian, democratically elected government has afforded us the opportunity to build a promising security, political and economic relationship with the most populous country in Africa. With nearly one in six Africans living in Nigeria, the impact of serious cooperative efforts to tackle significant drug trafficking, corruption, and other crime could be enormously beneficial to the United States and a large proportion of Africans. In Sierra Leone, we are working with West Africa — particularly Nigeria — the United Kingdom, and the UN to prevent the spread of conflict, promote accountability, and deal with the role of diamonds in financing the rebels. We are also seeking to establish the control of a democratically elected government over the national territory. Additionally, we are addressing the role of diamonds and the proliferation of small arms in fueling conflicts in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola, where fighting threatens to destabilize a broad swath of central and southern Africa, we are working closely with the region and the UN to support the Lusaka peace process. Similarly, we have provided significant political support to the Arusha Peace Process to bring a resolution to the ongoing conflict in Burundi. We have also been working closely with the UN and Organization for African Unity (OAU) to attempt to establish a lasting peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Sudan continues to pose a threat to regional stability and the national security interests of the United States. We have moved to counter Sudan’s support for international terrorism and regional destabilization by maintaining the sanctions imposed against the Khartoum regime until it takes concrete, verifiable steps to end support for terrorism on Sudanese soil; we continue to press for the regime’s isolation through the UN Security Council. We support regional efforts for a just and fair peace and national reconciliation in Sudan based on the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development’s Declaration of Principles.
Persistent conflict and continuing political instability in some African countries remain obstacles to Africa’s development and to our national security, political and economic interests there, including assured access to oil reserves and other important natural resources. To foster regional stability and peace in Africa, the United States in 1996 launched the African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI) to train African militaries to conduct effective peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. It will focus on developing a sustainable regional capacity to address the multiple challenges to peace and security on the continent. We are consulting closely on expanded ACRI activity with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the OAU and its Crisis Management Center, and African sub-regional organizations already pursuing similar capability enhancements. A different effort, Operation Focus Relief, is training and equipping seven West African battalions for peace enforcement missions in Sierra Leone. And finally, another initiative, the Enhanced International Peacekeeping Capabilities (EIPC) program, provides funding to upgrade peacekeeping and training centers, and “train the trainer’ in countries around the world in order to make them more interoperable with U.S. and other peacekeeping forces, thereby sharing the burden.
The United States has established the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) to promote the exchange of ideas and information tailored specifically for African security concerns. The goal is for ACSS to be a source of academic, yet practical, instruction in promoting civil-military relations and the skills necessary to make effective national security decisions in democratic governments. The curriculum will engage African military and civilian defense leaders in a substantive dialogue about defense policy planning, civil-military relations, and defense resource management in democracies. Our long-term goal is to support the development of regional security arrangements and institutions to prevent and manage armed conflicts and curtail transnational threats to our collective security.
A stable, democratic, prosperous Africa will be a better economic partner, a better partner for security and peace, and a better partner in the fights against drug trafficking, crime, terrorism, infectious diseases, and environmental degradation. Lasting prosperity for Africa will be possible only when Africa is fully integrated into the global economy.