addressed through effective, sustained sub-regional engagement in Africa. We have already made significant 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 nonnuclear 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 affords us an opportunity to build productive security, political and economic relations with the most populous country in Africa. With nearly one in six Africans living in Nigeria, the impact of serious cooperative efforts to tackle mushrooming crime, drug trafficking and corruption problems could be enormously beneficial to the United States and a large proportion of Africans.
The Sierra Leone peace accord signed in July 1999 illustrates that cooperative efforts can resolve long-standing African conflicts. Nigeria played a leadership role in this effort, working in concert with the Economic Community of West African States and supported by the international community. The July 1999 Organization for African Unity (OAU) initiative, under Algeria’s energetic leadership, for peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia is another such example of cooperative peace efforts which we have actively supported. We believe the Lusaka cease-fire agreement of July 1999 can bring an end to the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and its Joint Military Commission supports the evolution of a regional collective security arrangement in Central Africa. Additionally, we are working with the Angolan government through a Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) on key areas of mutual interest such as regional security, humanitarian and social issues, and economic reform.
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 imposing sanctions on the Khartoum regime, continuing to press for the regime’s isolation through the UN Security Council, and enhancing the ability of Sudan’s neighbors to resist Khartoum-backed insurgencies in their countries through our Frontline States initiative. 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 unhampered 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 work with Africans to enhance their capacity to conduct effective peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. We are coordinating with the French, British, other donor countries and African governments in developing a regional exercise program to promote common doctrines and command and control capability, and interoperability for peacekeeping missions. We are consulting closely on 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.
The United States has established the African 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, economically growing 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.
Further integrating Africa into the global economy will also directly serve U.S. interests by continuing to expand an already important new market for U.S. exports. The more than 700 million people of sub-Saharan Africa represent one of the world’s largest basically untapped markets. Although the United States enjoys only a seven-percent market share in Africa, already 100,000 American jobs depend on our exports there. Increasing both the U.S. market share and the size of the African market will bring tangible benefits to U.S. workers and increase prosperity and economic opportunity in Africa. Our aim, therefore, is to assist African nations to implement economic reforms, improve public governance and combat corruption, create favorable climates for trade and investment, and achieve sustainable development.
To support the economic transformation underway in Africa, the President in June 1997 launched the Partnership for Economic Growth and Opportunity in Africa Initiative. The Administration has implemented many of the Initiative’s objectives and continues to work closely with Congress to implement remaining key elements of this initiative through passage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. By significantly broadening market access, spurring growth and helping the poorest nations eliminate or reduce their bilateral debt, the Initiative and the legislation will better enable us to help African nations undertake difficult economic reforms and build better lives for their people through sustainable development. We are working with African governments on shared interests in the world trading system, such as developing electronic commerce, improving WTO capacity-building functions, and eliminating agricultural export subsidies. We also are pursuing initiatives to encourage U.S. trade with and investment in Africa, including targeted technical assistance, enhanced debt forgiveness, and increased bilateral trade ties. We have led the international community in efforts to address Africa’s crippling debt, through the Cologne Initiative which substantially deepens relief available under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. We will continue to work with African countries to manage and reduce the debt burden in order to unleash the continent’s economic potential.
To further our trade objectives in Africa, the Ron Brown Commercial Center was established in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1998. The Center provides support for American companies looking to enter or expand into the sub-Saharan African market, promotes U.S. exports through a