Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Secretary of State Clinton Begins Tour of Seven African Countries, Civil Society Responds"

Contact: Michael Stulman,; 202-546-7961

"Secretary of State Clinton Begins Tour of Seven African Countries, Civil Society Responds"

"This letter, endorsed by 18 organizations and 15 independent analyst, urge a new U.S. engagement with Africa. The letter takes much of the rhetoric of President's Obama's Ghana speech and couples it with specific policy prescriptions targeting the U.S. State Department upon the beginning of Secretary Clinton's trip to Africa (August 5-14)..."


August 2009

The Honorable Hillary R. Clinton
Secretary of State
2201 C Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton,

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, write to express our appreciation for your upcoming visit to Africa. As social justice advocates, we are anxious that the broad vision outlined by President Obama in Ghana be translated into concrete and specific policies, and programs.

As first step in facilitating this, we highlight several of the President's Accra pronouncements and register our policy expectations.

To foster democracy across Africa, we must invest in comprehensive, multilateral solutions, creating a stronger foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship. As President Obama noted, these solutions must be African-led. Success means that we are "partners in building the capacity for transformational change," not "a source of perpetual aid that helps people scrape by."

In the spirit of mutual respect, the U.S. should: A) contribute its fair share to multilateral agencies; B) recommit to the universally agreed-upon Millennium Development Goals, C) integrate U.S. funded development programs into regional and bilateral cooperation frameworks, and D) ensure that U.S. policy toward Africa is transparent and accessible to civil society and policy analysts around the globe.

"WE MUST SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT THAT PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY FOR MORE PEOPLE." President Obama recognized that progress requires a multilateral approach, and that America can, and should, do more. We urge the administration to reform structures for economic recovery to reflect interdependence and cooperation rather than blind reliance on market forces.

Specifically, the U.S. should accelerate bilateral and international actions to cancel unsustainable debt of African countries. We should also support democratization and transparency of decision-making in international financial institutions, open dialogue on economic policies without ideological preconceptions, and accountability to and input from national and legislative bodies as well as civil society. We should cooperate with UN-specialized agencies and African policy analysts, instead of privileging narrow macroeconomic prescriptions from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

We urge you to act on the promise to "invest in public health systems that promote wellness and focus on the health of mothers and children." Our long-term security requires ensuring common security, including protection from less conventional threats that endanger us all: epidemics, natural disasters, economic disasters, climate change, and even the unknown consequences of technological changes. To do so, U.S. foreign assistance agencies must engage with other countries and international agencies in confronting global problems from HIV/AIDS and malaria to food security and maternal mortality.

"WE MUST ALSO STOP THE DESTRUCTION THAT COMES NOT FROM ILLNESS, BUT FROM HUMAN BEINGS."As President Obama realizes, "Africa is not the crude caricature of a continent at perpetual war." In order to end conflict, we must end the constant flow of arms from the United States. We must also support and strengthen African Union peace-building and peace-keeping capacities. State Department activities should maximize participation of African and U.S. civil society, policy analysts, legislators, and other government sectors as opposed to African militaries.

We must reduce U.S. military spending and investment and defuse security threats through cooperative security measures, arms reduction and multilateral peace initiatives. The U.S. should stop the militarization of policy toward Africa and focus on strengthening the peacemaking and peacekeeping capacity of the African Union, African regional groups and the United Nations.

Specific policy recommendations for the countries/issues on your itinerary include:

Africa Growth and Opportunity Act
# Work with USTR to end unfair trade practices that lead to the dumping of agricultural and other products on African markets.

# Support African governments in expanding tools like price controls and subsidies to protect and regulate their markets where necessary.

# Curb AGOA's protection of intellectual property rights. With the devastating impact of the HIV/Aids pandemic, governments must exercise their right to secure generic drugs and other essential medicines without fear of intellectual property rights imposed in trade agreements like AGOA.

# Include strong and enforceable worker rights and environmental protections with transparent complaint processes in any U.S. trade policy toward Africa.

# Actively encourage the Unity Government to resolve its political gridlock.

# Support Kenyan efforts to establish an independent tribunal for those engaged in post-election violence.

# Examine African concerns on the "Green Revolution" and its dependence on pricey pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically modified seeds.

# Acknowledge the root causes of poverty and the Somali need for self-determination, which are the only routes to lasting peace and stability.

# Support regional negotiations and multilateral peacemaking initiatives, along with continued international assistance to Somali refugees and displaced persons.

# Respect the UN arms embargo by curbing the supply of U.S. weapons to Somalia.

# Support Somali efforts to establish standards of transparency and accountability, including initiatives to curtail illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing fleets that have contributed to the rise of piracy.

South Africa
# Identify strategies for U.S. assistance to South Africa and other countries strained by the influx of refugees, particularly those from Zimbabwe.

# Encourage South Africa and other SADC nations to increase diplomatic initiatives to resolve the political gridlock within Zimbabwe's Inclusive Government.

# Reaffirm U.S. commitment to democratic elections and good governance through support of independent elections monitors and civil society initiatives, in advance of September presidential elections.

# Support the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative with all U.S. companies active in Angola's extractive industries.

Democratic Republic of the Congo
# Strengthen U.S. leadership for comprehensive political negotiations that includes regional actors - Rwanda and Uganda, as well as key actors in the Congo.

# Understanding that violence against women is a direct result of the resource war, promote an end to the conflict through aggressive diplomacy and sustained engagement.

# Call on U.S. corporations to abide by OECD guidelines in the Congo to increase transparency and decrease their role in fueling of the conflict.

# Reaffirm commitment to anti-corruption by supporting efforts to repatriate assets of former leaders in U.S. and international banks.

# Investigate the role of U.S. corporations in environmental and human rights abuses.

# Support efforts for peace and development of the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

# Explore independent investigations into extra-judicial killings by Nigerian security forces during crackdown on Muslim communities to ensure adherence to international human rights.

# Ensure that U.S.-based multinational corporations adhere to internationally recognized labor rights and environmental standards, particularly companies like Firestone in Liberia.

# Examine the role of U.S. security sector funding in diverting resources from health and education.

# Support efforts for deeper and sustained debt cancellation.

Cape Verde
# Examine the impact of the Millennium Challenge Account's $110 million on impoverished communities in Cape Verde.

Thank you for your attention to these issues and for establishing a new engagement with Africa. We look forward to an opportunity to discuss our ideas with you in greater depth.


Cc: Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa

Organizations Represented
Africa Action
Africa Faith and Justice Network
African Leadership Council
African Security Research Project
Comboni Missionaries JPIC Office
Foreign Policy in Focus
Friends of the Congo
International Forum on Globalization
Jubilee USA Network
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Missionary Oblates Justice and Peace Office- Washington D.C
Office of Peace and Justice, Marianist Province of the United States
Outreach International
Positive East Tennesseans
Real Time Africa
The Mission Office of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
TransAfrica Forum

Independent Analysts Represented
Alfia K. Johnson
Alfred L. Marder; President, US Peace Council
Beth Tuckey
David Morse, author "War of the Future"
Ezekiel Pajibo; Independent Researcher and Policy Analyst
Margaret Mary Kimmins, OSF
Mary E. O'Keefe, SNDdeN
Mike Uca-Dorn
Nii Akuetteh, Independent Analyst, former Director of Africa Action
Rev. Rocco Puopolo, Africa Faith and Justice Network
Rev. Paul L. Rehling
Richard A. Jones, Ph.D, Co-Coordinator, Radical Philosophy Association
Sr. Maura Browne, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Justice and Peace Network
Steve Fake, Author and commentator on U.S. policies towards Africa
Ya-Sin Shabazz; Program Manager, Biloxi branch NAACP

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


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