USGLC: Not just aid — Africa needs US trade, investment

A map of Africa. U.S. trade and development are needed to spur growth in the continent, according to participants at the annual conference of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Photo by: Emma Line / CC BY-NC-ND

EDITOR’S NOTE: U.S. aid is not enough to spur development in Africa as well as create jobs and guarantee security for the United States. On the eve of President Barack Obama’s trip to the continent, participants at the USGLC Annual Conference stressed that trade and investment are equally important to the U.S.-Africa relationship.

On the eve of U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Africa, leaders from government, military, business and NGOs agreed increased American private sector investment in Africa along with smarter use of federal dollars is essential to protecting U.S. security and creating new jobs at home while lessening suffering on the continent. The leaders’ comments came today at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s Annual Conference entitled ”Innovations in Smart Power.”

Obama’s trip reinforces the shared economic, humanitarian, and security interests between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa,” said USGLC executive director Liz Schrayer. “And it’s a two-way equation. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to seven of the ten fastest growing markets in the world, and economic growth in the region is far outpacing the United States and Europe.”

In his first address as the U.S. Trade Representative, Michael Froman said: “As the President has made clear, trade and investment are critical components of our development policy. To achieve sustainable development, we need trade, not just aid; investment, not just assistance.”

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim addressed the important role the private sector plays working with the government to end extreme poverty, while Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew described global development as not just about doing good, but essential for our national and economic security.

The national security importance of U.S. civilian foreign policy tools was reinforced by a distinguished panel of former and current combatant commanders  U.S. Central Command Deputy Commander Vice Admiral Robert Harward, former Africom Commander General Kip Ward, and former SouthCom Commander General John Craddock.

The conference also displayed cutting-edge technology innovations, which are already making a difference in Africa, such as clean smoke-free cookstoves, backpacks that allow the transfer of clean water, and nutritional supplements for children.

Business leaders from some of America’s top companies discussed the importance of innovative partnerships with NGOs and international development agencies to do well and good.

“DSM is the world leader in nutrition, and with the power and influence that comes with such a privilege, there also comes the responsibility to work tirelessly to improve the lives of billions of people who suffer from hidden hunger. Doing well and doing good are not mutually exclusive, and Partners in Food Solutions represents a whole new way of delivering a new kind of aid.” said DSM North America president Hugh Welsh.

“Merck has made responding to global development challenges a corporate priority, and we work with donors, NGOs, and aid organizations around the world every day in unique public-private partnerships to improve health through effective collaboration,” said Geralyn Ritter, senior vice president for global public policy and corporate responsibility at the pharmaceutical giant.

Edited for style and re-published with permission by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Visit the original article.

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