Clinton’s 6-nation Africa tour: A preview

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Photo by: William Ng / U.S. State Department

She’s already the most well-traveled U.S. diplomat in history, but Hillary Clinton shows no signs of slowing down. The U.S. secretary of state is on another trip to Africa — a victory lap, perhaps, but also a chance to reaffirm U.S. support for the region following the release of a new partnership strategy in June.

Clinton devoted much time to the new strategy in a speech Wednesday (Aug. 1) at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, the first stop of an 11-day trip that will take her to six countries. Here’s a preview of the development issues Clinton may encounter on this tour:

Senegal

Senegal enjoys support from both the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Millennium Challenge Corp., including through high-priority programs like Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative. USAID’s engagement focuses on economic growth and private sector development as well as improvement of the country’s education and health services and stability programs in the southern parts of the country. MCC’s $535 million compact with the country covers infrastructure improvements designed to boost the country’s agricultural productivity. Earlier this year, Senegal witnessed a peaceful transition of power. President Macky Sall now leads a densely populated nation that borders Mali and other countries affected by drought.

South Sudan

Clinton will meet with President Salva Kiir Mayardit to reaffirm U.S. support for Africa’s newest country as it builds democratic institutions, infrastructure and capacity. The top U.S. diplomat is also expected to push for peace along the border with Sudan, and discuss oil exploration, security and citizenship, among many other highly complex and pressing issues affecting the country’s development.

The United States has been building bilateral and aid relations with the country since it declared independence in July 2011. It has provided $34 million in humanitarian aid to help meet immediate needs as well as lined up support for its agriculture sector through Feed the Future. The United States has also partnered with South Sudan, the World Bank and other donors on a pooled fund supporting health services programs in the country.

Uganda

Clinton’s visit to Uganda will focus on human rights, democracy issues, and U.S. support for the country’s efforts to fight AIDS. The secretary of state will also reinforce the U.S. partnership with Uganda to promote regional security.

Uganda’s fight against HIV is a key priority for the United States, which in 2011 provided $285 million to the country through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Uganda is also a Feed the Future and GHI focus country, with strategies targeting agriculture development, nutrition, and maternal and reproduction health services.

Kenya

Clinton will meet with officials both from Kenya and from the Somali transitional government, which is based there. In meetings with the Kenyan government, Clinton will push for transparent, nonviolent and credible elections in 2013.

The United States spent $308.4 million in aid to Kenya last year. In addition, it provided up to $218 million worth of humanitarian assistance in response to the drought that hit East Africa last year. Kenya enjoys support from GHI, with a focus on strengthening health systems, and from Feed the Future, which is investing in the country’s maize and drought-tolerant staple crop production, dairy industry and horticulture sector.

Malawi

USAID has a substantial presence in Malawi, supporting the country in the areas of health, education, governance, humanitarian assistance and economic growth. In 2011, the agency and the Department of Statepledged $172.6 million to the landlocked southeast African country.

MCC, meanwhile, has a $350.7 million compact to revive Malawi’s power sector. This compact was put on hold in July 2011 and suspended in March 2012 due to governance concerns, but reinstated in June 2012 following the inauguration of a new government led by President Joyce Banda. Clinton’s agenda includes a meeting with the charismatic president.

South Africa

Clinton’s last stop is South Africa, where she will be joined by a U.S. business delegation at the U.S.-South Africa Strategic Dialogue. Her visit is also expected to focus on South Africa’s efforts to fight HIV, including a review of a five-year joint plan signed in 2010 by Clinton and South Africa Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Aside from health, USAID programs here focus on economic growth and trade, education, energy, the environment, democracy, human rights and governance.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.