The Secretary of State continued, “It’s harder to go from Lagos to Nairobi than it is to go from Lagos to London. If African countries traded among themselves the way that Asian nations do, their GDP growth would increase dramatically.”
Mrs. Clinton urged countries to lower tariffs, change their laws and customs, and educate business leaders in international commerce. She said that the United States knows how to open markets and offered to help any country that would follow her advice. “I would love it if a country would come to us and say tell us know to increase our GDP by five percent.”
She continued, “There are structural problems with how countries in Africa relate to one another. We’ve got to get over what happened 50 or 100 years ago,” she said, “So that we can make money for everyone.”
Mrs. Clinton’s remarks concluded a three hour briefing on Monday, June 14th, at the State Department for diplomats, academics, Congressional leaders and NGOs interested in Africa. Eight senior State Department officials explained how they are implementing President Obama’s stated goal of building a relationship with African countries “based not on patronage but partnership.”
The two programs of which the Administration is most proud are the new $3.5 billion dollar food security initiative, Feed the Future, which will assist 12 African focus countries, and their $63 billion dollar commitment over the next five years to meet public health challenges throughout Africa.
The officials also touted Vice President Biden’s current trip to the continent – in part to watch the FIFA World Cup games. They also are looking forward to a series of upcoming meetings in August, which will celebrate the anniversary of AGOA, the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Representatives from 38 African countries, including entrepreneurs, will visit Washington, DC as well as Kansas City, Kansas, in hopes of increasing trade.