Thursday, August 19, 2010
Another Innovation of the Green Teams Initiative courtesy of YES Kenya, In our quest to bring business models for young people to engage in enterprise Development at their communities, I am glad to present to you another innovative business model involving a Water Heating Container using the Sun in addition to the Solar Lanterns already under distribution across Kenya.
We want to establish a distribution and sales Green Teams in the whole of Western Province. The Solvatten Container is Manufactured in Sweden and is an award winning model for treating and Heating Water using the sun with international recognition.
We are opening doors for the youth in Western Province to sell the product, make very good money from the sales, and keep earning revenues on a yearly basis as long as the container is in use for the next five years. This will be made possible due to the Carbon Financing from the Carbon Credits that will be saved since communities will stop boiling water using open fires generated from firewood that emits carbon into the environment.
This is a business model that will make the youth happy.
If you are a Youth Entrepreneur in Western Province and would like to make money that makes sense to your environment, please get in touch with us to begin the business.
Please find here with and attached some information in regards to the new innovation.
and The Solvatten PDF Presentation
The Solvatten Innovation
Solvatten is a patented portable container that uses nothing but solar energy to purify contaminated water from the micro-organisms which cause water-borne diseases. It is a simple, reliable and affordable way to provide clean water at household level. A Solvatten unit holds 10 litres of water. The outside of the unit is made of black, heat-absorbing plastic and the unit opens out to reveal transparent surfaces which let in the sun's energy. A special indicator shows when the water is fit to drink.
One Solvatten can meet the safe water needs of a household of five people.
As well as producing water for drinking, Solvatten can be used to warm water for washing, cooking and
- Solvatten provides safe and warm water.
- It is easy to use, saves time, money and energy.
- Solvatten improves health.
- Solvatten saves the environment in places where firewood is used for boiling before drinking water.
(Approximately 50 trees/ Solvatten units).
- Solvatten contributes to the realization of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
- Solvatten provides safe and hot water to a very competitive prize. 10-30 liters/day.
Voices From Kenya
"It's the easiest way of treating water. It's a remedy for us and the community". Martin Baraza
"No firewood is used on boiling drinking water. Solvatten make me save time and makes one
be able to attend to other household duties". Phyllis Sifuna
"Every family wishes to have one". Jane Nyongesa, field staff
"My baby had severe diarrhoea and was very ill. But after using Solvatten water she got better." Junice Apinde
"I am now using the borehole on the compound and I don't have to walk far anymore to fetch water." Felice Masinde
Solvatten has conducted a number of pilot studies with UN Habitat, Enpho and Vi agroforestry.
Read the report from Bungoma.
Solvatten is an inspiring example of a non-fossil, non-nuclear climate innovation with the potential to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
WWF Climate Solver 2009
We look forward to opening this very important business innovation to young people in Kenya.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
ENTREPRENEURSHIP Vs AID, WHAT DOES AFRICA NEED?
PRESENTED TO THE WORLD YOUTH ALLIANCE AFRICAN EMERGING LEADERS CONFERENCE 2010 AT KENYA HIGH SCHOOL ON 12TH AUGUST 2010
By Emmanuel Dennis
My respect to you - Young African Leaders. I am extremely honored to talk with you this morning on the topics that I am very passionate about in the wake of the Bulging Youth Population in Africa. Africa our motherland is a continent rich in mineral resources.urces, a virgin land that has not been explored with beautiful people and a very rich history. Africa attracted Western interests because of its virgin nature of resources through colonization. They came and raped our continent, and stole much of our needed natural resources for their own interest and good.
Of Donors and Aid: We have all sorts of donors with all manner of ulterior motives both big and small with both Developmental and Social agenda. We have organizations like Action Aid in Kenya which was established here over 40 Solid Years ago "Fighting Poverty Together" "Making Poverty History" HISTORY IS STILL JUDGING US THROUGH POVERTY. There is a small village called Budalangi in Western Kenya close to the border to Uganda with its Floods Mitigation Program for close to 30 years now. Next year we will still have floods displacing the people of Budalangi. YET MORE THAN A MILLION DOLLARS HAS BEEN SPENT.
Our main donors the World Bank and the IMF the so called Brettonwoods Institutions who have been running Development Based Aid since Independence. If we did a comparative analysis of the Funds spent on projects in Africa for both Brettonwoods, International, Multilateral, Multinational and National Donors, the money would be a paltry Trillions of Dollars. BUT WHAT Can WE SHOW FOR IT?
The Question of Entrepreneurship Vs Aid is a chicken and Egg issue. What Africa needs is Foundational Aid that has time Limits. Foundational Aid is like a Startup Capital. You get startup Capital given a Good Business Plan. For an entrepreneur can only access loans from banks if they have a good Business Plan and supported by security and other collateral requirements. The Plan must clearly show Financial Returns with capacity to repay the Loan and grow to scale.
Startup Capital may go to acquiring Equipment to support the hardware and software for the business to thrive. More so the Entrepreneur will need Incubation Period supported by Business Development Services to make the business withstand the taste of time.
In INDIA, CHINA, THE USA, EUROPE, the citizens are given Mortgage loans with moratorium periods of over 30 years. Interest rates for a Mortgage or any other kind of Loan from majority of the banks in those countries is as low as 1%.
We have the Youth Enterprise Development Fund in Kenya, a kitty that provides Loans to the youth to start up their business. This is a very good model to develop the culture of Entrepreneurship among youth in Kenya. PROBLEM is that the YEDF is a good example of a Bad Strategy gone bad which failed in its planning. The number of defaulters is extremely high which a shame to the banks. WHY? The Interest rate ranges from 8% to 14%.
A hustler in a slum running a small micro business can't afford a 14% interest rate in a poor country like Kenya? Many banks have interest rates of up to 25% depending on the amount of money required and on whether your loan is fixed or flexible. Remember the between 8% and 25% interest rate loan in Kenya has to be repaid off in 15 years. THAT IS A RECIPE FOR POVERTY because it will give precedence to defaulting and thus impede development then corruption crops in.
LET ME SHOW YOU ONE OF THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT AFRICA IS NOT EXPLORING TO ITS FULLEST.
AGOA and How Mauritius is ahead of the Game over and above all other African Countries. Its only in Africa that you can get Curios, Artifacts, Apparels, Cotton. Think of Coffee, Tea and the rest of the agriculture based produce that we have from Africa. All grow from natural environments and most rain fed and hand processed.
We have the EPZ in Nairobi. Kenya produces the best Rain fed Cotton in the world with capacity of over 400 Bails per year. Through the AGOA arrangement the best exporters of Cotton the United States from Africa are Mauritius, and Egypt. AGOA is one of the biggest opportunities that Africa can harness for development. And to do that we don't need aid, we just need a good entrepreneurship and Financial Model to back it up and we can have higher Dividends more that Tourism and other Production opportunities that we currently exploit for growth.
I have a belief that Entrepreneurship and Innovations are the prerequisite for Economic, Social and Political Development of any society. You cant get it wrong if you invest on Entrepreneurship. The story of a Young Man from Kitui Selling Curios in the US and the Wallmat Connection. He wanted to supply curios and bracelets to Wallmat. He sought audience with the management of Wallmat. Wallmat has 1000 Stores across the US. With 1 Million Customers in terms of traffic/Week . He was given a challenge to produce 1 Billion Bracelets Branded and finished to specification. Even the whole of Kenya can close down to just venture in that kind of business but our cottage industry can't afford to handle such supply chain. The Young man never walked back to Wallmat again. Our Supply, Capacity, Constant Flow of Products and Quality must be high.
MY VERDICT: Aid directed through Development Incorporated approaches is what is making AFRICA poor. HOWEVER: For Entrepreneurship to thrive, you need Start up Aid that is time bound based on a Financially Sound sustainable Business Model.
You the Emerging Leaders of Africa, you need to unite on good Governance and Development of Our Continent. If you don't, the future generations will haunt you for your inaction. We shall not sit and watch as our continent is misruled by Octogenarians leaders who lack in Vision. This is our time to prove to the world that we can. Through our innovative nature, we can come up with sophisticated approaches to development and entrepreneurship. We need to keep discovering so that we can create opportunities for us and our next generation. The Key question is, what legacy will you as an individual leave in your society?
The Global Peace Youth Corps Kenya and the Green Teams are moving a mile higher. Look up to the www.youngleadersummit.org for the upcoming event that we are planning.
Let me take seven minutes to run you through the Green Teams of Africa Vision under the Green Teams Initiative… (Quick Time Player Presentation)
Friday, August 6, 2010
The Responsibility of the Citizenry as a New Kenya is Born
Kenyans decided in the Referendum of 4th August 2010 to enact a New Constitution. Forty Days after the referendum, the organs of Review will stand dissolved and the attention is going to be on Parliament as over 80 pieces of legislation are enacted in order to give life to the New Constitution of Kenya. The country will start to grapple with the implementation and application of the New Laws into their daily lives. One important aspect of Law Making should be people centered and the people need to be involved in the process in order for the new laws to be applicable in their daily lives.
As Kenyans patiently wait to see how the new laws will transform their livelihoods, an estimated 30% of registered voters also cast their vote with the view of having contentious issues in the proposed law. As the implementation takes precedence, it will be important to see how the government will embrace the views of the people who feel that the new law is not a representative on issues touching on contention.
The new law represents a fundamental transformation for the country to better governance system and better institutions for service delivery. It is important that all Kenyans come together and accept the outcome of the referendum and start to build Kenya as one nation. The role that young people play in making sure due process is followed especially on the implementation framework of the new Constitution is critical.
If Kenyans are involved in the implementation process and with clear knowledge of the provisions, we will begin to have a responsive citizenry who will begin to hold their government accountable on service delivery. The new constitution should indeed be a call to action by all citizens to start actively participating on legislative issues as a civic duty if the nation is to attain its desired second rebirth. Citizens who do not understand what their laws are bound to break the law or are bound to be manipulated by the systems of governance.
A national dialogue for citizens is imminent to start taking responsibility and be on the front line to hold their local governments from the point of knowledge. The proposal also seeks to engage the citizens in an informed civic duty of advocacy on various aspects of the legal instruments that are critical in the process of domesticating the new constitution.
To rephrase the word of one Kepta Ombati –"YES!! Two days ago for the first time in history, in exercise of our Sovereign Will n Power, we the People ratified a New Constitution 4 the Republic of Kenya... shut the door on the Old Evil Empire and set forth a New Nation n a New State... n open New Possibilities for All in Kenya... "
I look forward to thousands of Youths to start declaring their interests to become Governors and Senators in the New Dispensation and start to spearhead the New Kenya to new levels.
May God Bless Kenya and her People.
REWORK THE WORLD
Join the Green Teams Initiative ...and be a part of the Simple Solutions that resolve the Global Complex Ecological Challenges
Emmanuel Dennis Ngongo
YES Kenya Leader
Initiator of the Green Teams Initiative
P.O. Box 8799, 00200
Secretary Clinton's Remarks At The President's Forum with Young African Leaders
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Loy Henderson Auditorium
August 3, 2010
Thank you all so much. I am thrilled to see you. I had to come back to work to recover from my daughter's wedding. (Laughter.) And one of the reasons I came back was because I wanted the chance to welcome each and every one of you here to the State Department, and to tell you how excited we are to be hosting this Young Leaders Forum.
Now, I know that later this afternoon, you will have the unique opportunity to go to the White House and to meet with President Obama. And I think from what you heard already today and the comments of my friend and extraordinary Assistant Secretary for Africa, Johnnie Carson, this Administration, from the top, is very committed to, concerned about Africa, and especially about Africa's future, because we know that it is people like all of you and others who are not in this room today who will determine what Africa's future will be.
I see Africa as a continent brimming with potential, a place that has so much just waiting to be grasped. Sixty percent of the population of Africa is under the age of 25. And that means that there's a lot of work to be done to make sure that those young people are educated, are healthy, are motivated, are given the tools of opportunity. But it also means that Africa has not just the potential, but the promise of becoming a leader in innovation, in design, in creativity of all that you, your families, communities, and countries can become.
Now, people in this room have already started businesses. You have started NGOs, you have made films, you have helped to make peace, you have worked with at-risk youth, you have cared for people living with HIV/AIDS, you have fought to end mistreatment of some of Africa's most vulnerable citizens. You have looked for solutions close to home. And you have seen unprecedented progress in your own lifetimes. Poverty and child mortality have declined across much of the continent. Primary school enrollment is up. Ghana, Botswana, South Africa, and others have all recently held elections that were models of freeness and fairness.
Across Africa, more citizens believe they now have the power and the duty to shape their own lives, to help their communities, to hold their governments accountable. So for all of the challenges, which we hear much about, I want to focus on these gains, because it is through this positive progress that we can motivate and incentivize even more to take place. And ultimately, it is up to you. The President and I very much believe in Africa's promise and we can do what's possible from afar to assist and to be front-row cheerleaders, if you will. But ultimately, it is up to you, and to citizens like you to make sure that we sustain and deepen the progress.
Every child, boy and girl, deserves to go as far as his or her God-given talents and potential and hard work will take that child. That means education is a right, not a luxury. It means that the best education must be made available to as many young people as possible. It means that every pregnant woman receives prenatal care and assistance for labor and delivery so the child that is brought into the world has a good start. It means that everyone has a safe environment – a house, a roof over one's head, a fair wage for the work that is done, and that everyone is free to follow his or her conscience in religion and politics to express an opinion without fear of being marginalized, silenced, or worse. We believe that you have the talents, the determination and the ability to bring these dreams to fruition.
When President Obama spoke to the parliament of Ghana a year ago he said, Africa's future is up to Africans. And he pledged then to work with Africa's leaders and citizens as friends and partners in a spirit of mutual respect and accountability. We stand ready to be your partners.
What does partnership mean? Well, it means that we have to change the way we pursue development. We have to work harder to expand trade and we have to encourage more trade among African countries yourselves. It means we have to improve private sector competitiveness. Many of you have had the privilege of traveling. You've been to Europe. You've now been to the United States. You've seen the diaspora from your countries and you often see how successful they are. We want that success to be right where you live and to break down the barriers that still exist. (Applause.)
We want to help you modernize how you deliver and create clean energy, how you get more value for agriculture which is still the life blood and the source of income for most people in sub-Saharan Africa. We want to help you strengthen democratic institutions. Elections are great, but that's only one part of democracy – free press, independent judiciary, respect for human rights and the rights of minorities, giving everybody a stake in their own society. We want to support women and girls to be full participants in their communities and countries. (Applause.) We want to redouble our global efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis, malaria. We want to respond to food scarcity and soaring food prices and growing populations with a multi-billion dollar initiative to help eradicate hunger and achieve food security. We want to join with you to fight against climate change, which will be devastating to Africa.
Meanwhile, we want to be sure that your voices are heard on the global stage. Johnnie was referring to my trips to Africa as First Lady. And I recognized then how much work there still was to be done to educate people in my own country about Africa. I held a roundtable for members of the White House Press Corps, and this was probably in – I don't know, 1997 or '98 – and one of the first questions that one of the reporters asked me – he said, what's the capital of Africa? (Laughter.) I thought, oh, do I have a lot of work to do. (Laughter.) And we've made a lot of progress there, too – (laughter) but we have a long way to go. Because you know so well that when people think too often of Africa, they think of all the tragedies, the conflicts. We want people to see a more comprehensive picture.
This forum, along with the African Women's Entrepreneurship Program, and the AGOA Forum taking place here in Washington and in Kansas City, Kansas, this week will help link African and American leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, investors, and especially young people. And we are inviting you to take advantage of that. We designed this forum not to be a one-time event; we want to create the connections that you will continue to exploit, to think about how you can tap into whatever help and skills, references and ideas that you can get from us.
We want you to take advantage of this when you go home, when you return, and maybe begin to think anew about how you can be more effective. And your generation of young Africans has already pioneered information technologies. You are connecting and empowering people in ways that we couldn't have dreamed of even five, let alone ten years ago. For example, Ushahidi crisis management platform has become a digital tool for social change all over the world.
Ushahidi was developed by young Kenyans to map reports of violence after the election of 2007. And a lot of the young Kenyans we invited were unable to come because they're staying to vote and to work on behalf of the constitution that will be voted on very soon. This new network has been used by citizen election monitors to help prevent fraud and violence in Burundi, India, Sudan, Guinea, Namibia. It's revolutionizing and empowering what citizens can do without permission, just on their own. We have seen the way that sophisticated mobile communications tools have also been used in Kenya to educate and empower voters in the lead-up to the referendum on its new constitution tomorrow.
Good ideas leapfrog languages and borders. Technology created and deployed first in Africa was used by U.S. Marines in Haiti to help rescue earthquake victims, and by a Louisiana environmental group tracking efforts to clean up the Gulf oil spill We are working hard to convey that our relationship with Africa is not a one-way street. We expect to benefit. We expect to learn. We expect to look to you for models and ideas of what we can do better ourselves.
So to ensure that new technologies are used more for good – and not for ill – we have promised to work with partners in industry, academia, and NGOs to try to harness the power of connection technologies to help you spur economic, political, and social progress.
The United States has now joined with three local partners to sponsor a contest called "Apps-4-Africa" – A-p-p-s dash 4, the number, dash Africa. Software developers in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania have proposed applications for everything from educational games for mobile phones, to interactive maps that can track shortages of blood or medicines, to a mass texting app that could broadcast emergency information to rural villages. The winning apps will be announced in September. And we hope to catalyze these collaborations between technical experts and leaders of civil society to develop practical solutions that will improve people's lives.
This concept of leapfrogging holds such great promise for Africa. You already have. You didn't have to put up telephone poles, you went right to cell phones in many parts of Africa. Your electric grid doesn't have to be massive. It can be local and regional and provide sources of energy from wind and solar as well as fossil fuels. We stand ready to help in any way we can.
I often say that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. Africa has no shortage of ideas, innovations, or entrepreneurial drive. We want this conference to be a start, where we work with you to help you create the conditions in which your ideas can be translated into real-life solutions for Africa and beyond.
I know you've been going to workshops and you've been talking to one another, and we will maintain a kind of nerve center after this forum to stay in touch with you, to provide assistance if you request it, to connect you up with other people. It's part of how we're trying to redefine diplomacy, development, and statecraft in the 21st century. We recently held an entrepreneurship summit in Washington where we invited young business people from predominantly Muslim-majority countries that are lagging way behind in unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of their people. And I think people came in part because they got a free trip to Washington, but also they were curious, wondering kind of what we were up to. But what we were up to was trying to empower them as we now are trying to empower you.
We're looking for leaders who know that empowering citizens is something that is in everyone's best interests. The world in which we live in today – top-down hierarchical power – is not sustainable. Oh, it can stay in place for years, but eventually, it is not sustainable. There are just too many ways people are going to get too much information. And technology is going to blow the doors down on governments.
One of my hopes is that we can move toward e-government in Africa, so that you can get more quickly whatever documents you need to start that business, or to register that car, and you don't have to go through a lot of hands to do it. We're looking for those kinds of ideas and we want to help you bring them to fruition and then take them to scale.
I'm very excited about what's possible with your generation in Africa. But you know as well as I that you're here in part because you've already succeeded. And many of you would have the option to go nearly anywhere in the world to pursue your dreams. But you're here because you care about the future of your families, your communities, your countries. And I urge you to stay with it. Change is not easy. And for many who try it, it can become very frustrating and even discouraging. But it is so worthy an effort, commensurate with your talents and your dedication.
You are educated beyond the average education of most of the people that you know or that you can watch as you drive down the road. You're here because you had the opportunities and you took them. What we want to help you do is to set forth your vision and then realize it. Because it will not be just for you – although I hope every one of you becomes successful in whatever enterprise you choose to pursue – but it will help to open doors and not go over obstacles, so that people will look at you, especially people younger than you, and believe that they too have a chance for a different future.
Godspeed as you go out from this forum back to your homes, I hope, energized and knowing that no matter how hard it is, you have friends and partners who are rooting for your success.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Title: White House Blog - President Obama to young African leaders
Author: Posted by Jesse Lee
Category: Africa General
Source: The White House Blog
Source Website: www.whitehouse.gov/blog
African Charter Article# 17: Every individual shall have the right to education, cultural life, and the promotion and protection of values.
Summary & Comment: President held a town hall with 115 young leaders from more than 40 African countries. Here's the transcript of the final Q&A; information about President Obama's engagement in Africa follows in a fact sheet. The link also includes a video. DN
The White House Blog - President Obama to young African leaders:
- "50 Years From Now, When You Look Back"
This afternoon the President held a town hall with 115 young leaders from more than 40 countries across Africa - it was the kind of White House event under this President that surprises you, catching you off guard with its honesty. For those interested in Africa and its development, or for that matter this President's engagement with not just heads of state, but with people all over the world, the video is well worth watching (for info on America's diplomatic progress see our fact sheet as well). Here's the transcript of the final Q&A:
Q Good afternoon, Mr. President, your excellencies. I am from Somalia. I came all the way here with one question, and that is, living in conflict in a country that has confused the whole world, and being part of the diaspora that went back to risk our lives in order to make Somalia a better place, especially with what we're going through right now - how much support do we expect from the U.S.? And not support just in terms of financially or aid, but support as an ear, as a friend, as somebody who hears and listens to those of us who are putting our lives and our families at risk to defend humanity .
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think you will have enormous support from the people of the United States when it comes to trying to create a structure and framework in Somalia that works for the Somali people.
Now, the history of Somalia over the last 20 years has been equally heartbreaking, if not more so. You have not had a effective, functioning government that can provide basic services. It's been rife with conflict. And now the entire region is threatened because of radical extremists who have taken root in Somalia, taking advantage of what they perceive to be a failing state, to use that as a base to launch attacks, most recently in Uganda.
And obviously the United States expresses its deepest condolences to the lives that were lost in Kampala - at the very moment of the World Cup. And it offered two contrasting visions. You have this wonderful, joyous celebration in South Africa at the same time as you have a terrorist explosion in Kampala.
So we desperately want Somalia to succeed. And this is another example of where our interests intersect. If you have extremist organizations taking root in Somalia, ultimately that can threaten the United States as well as Uganda, as well as Kenya, as well as the entire region.
So right now you've got a transitional government that is making some efforts. I don't think anybody expects Somalia anytime in the next few years to suddenly be transformed into a model democracy. Whatever governance structures take place in Somalia have to be aware of the tribal and traditional structures and clan structures that exist within Somalia. But certainly what we can do is create a situation where people - young people are not carrying around rifles, shooting each other on the streets. And we want to be a partner with Somalia in that effort, and we will continue to do so.
And some of it is financial, some of it is developmental, some of it is being able to help basic infrastructure. In some cases, we may try to find a portion of the country that is relatively stable and start work there to create a model that the rest of the country can then look at and say, this is a different path than the one that we're taking right now.
But in the end, I think that this metaphor of the success of the World Cup and the bombing shows that each of you are going to be confronted with two paths. There's going to be a path that takes us into a direction of more conflict, more bloodshed, less economic development, continued poverty even as the rest of the world races ahead - or there's a vision in which people come together for the betterment and development of their own country.
And for all the great promise that's been fulfilled over the last 50 years, I want you to understand - because I think it's important for us to be honest with ourselves - Africa has also missed huge opportunities for too long. And I'll just give you one example.
When my father traveled to the United States and got his degree in the early '60s, the GDP of Kenya was actually on partner, maybe actually higher than the GDP of South Korea. Think about that. All right? So when I was born, Kenya per capita might have been wealthier than South Korea. Now it's not even close. Well, that's 50 years that was lost in terms of opportunities. When it comes to natural resources, when it comes to the talent and potential of the people, there's no reason why Kenya shouldn't have been on that same trajectory.
And so 50 years from now, when you look back you want to make sure that the continent hasn't missed those opportunities as well. We want to make sure of that as well. And the United States wants to listen to you and work with you. And so when you go back and you talk to your friends and you say, what was the main message the President had - we are rooting for your success, and we want to work with you to achieve that success, but ultimately success is going to be in your hands. And being a partner means that we can be there by your side, but we can't do it for you.
Okay, thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.)
Fact Sheet: The President's Engagement in Africa
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
August 03, 2010
" I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world, as partners with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children. That partnership must be grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect ."
President Obama, Accra, Ghana, July 2009
In 2010, seventeen countries across sub-Saharan Africa celebrate fifty years of independence. In honor of this important historic moment, in acknowledgement of the extraordinarily young demographic profile of the region, and as part of an effort to forge strong, forward-looking partnerships in the years ahead, President Obama is hosting a forum for young African leaders in Washington, D.C., from August 3 - 5. These 115 young leaders come from civil society and the private sector and represent more than forty countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
In Accra, the President highlighted a "simple truth" about our country's connections with Africa: Africa's prosperity can expand America's prosperity. Africa's health and security can contribute to the world's health and security. And the strength of Africa's democracy can help advance human rights for people everywhere.
He emphasized that "this mutual responsibility must be the foundation of our partnership." And over the past year and a half, we have been focused on four areas that are critical to the future of Africa: strong and sustainable democratic governments, opportunity and development, strengthening public health, and the peaceful resolution of conflict. Here are some examples of actions the Administration has taken:
Addressing Global Issues
The Administration's approach to development addresses issues at the core of Africa's agenda.
Feed the Future: In 2009, President Obama announced a $3 billion global food security initiative that has the support of the world's major and emerging donor nations. To date, the United States has led international efforts to review nine comprehensive country strategies, commit new resources in support of those strategies, collaborate in the establishment and initial capitalization of the World Bank-led Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, and launch a new research and development program. Global Health Initiative:
In May 2009, President Obama announced the Global Health Initiative (GHI), a six-year, $63 billion initiative which builds on the progress and success of PEPFAR (the President's Emergency Program on AIDS Relief) and also expands our global health effort and impact by including investments to strengthen health systems, improve maternal child health, address neglected tropical diseases, and foster increased research and development. Climate Change: The United States and nations across Africa are addressing the challenge of global climate change through the Copenhagen Accord and a range of international partnerships promoting clean energy technologies and climate-resilient development for Africans.
The United States has more than tripled climate assistance this year. Support for international climate adaptation has increased tenfold, with a focus on helping the most vulnerable nations in Africa and around the world. U.S. climate-related appropriations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 total $1.3 billion, and the Administration has requested $1.9 billion in appropriations for FY 2011.
Strengthening our Partnerships
The United States has elevated engagement with emerging and existing African powers, and has recently launched three new Strategic Dialogues to that effect:
The United States and Angola have signed a new Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and have launched a new Strategic Partnership Dialogue, setting the stage for improved cooperation on energy, trade, security, and agriculture. Over the past year and a half, the U.S. relationship with South Africa has gone from strained to sound. We have institutionalized the new era of cooperation in a formal, ongoing U.S.-South Africa Strategic Dialogue and are working together on a range of issues from nonproliferation to agricultural development. April 2010 saw the formal establishment of the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission, a high-level mechanisms to address issues surrounding governance and transparency (including preparing for upcoming elections), energy and power, food security, and regional security.
Throughout the region, through diplomatic engagement and support to key institutions and civil society organizations, the United States has promoted good governance as a critical priority for the region.
In Kenya, the United States has led international efforts to support Kenyan civil society and the reform agenda developed in the wake of early 2008 post-election violence. The administration launched the first ever high-level bilateral discussions with the African Union. In April of this year, Secretary of State Clinton and National Security Advisor General Jones, Ret., welcomed African Union leaders to Washington to hold the first annual high-level consultation with the AU. Attorney General Eric Holder followed up on this initiative by addressing the AU Summit in Kampala in July. At the ninth U.S.-sub Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, also known as the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), being held in Washington this week, USAID will sign a new partnership agreement with the African Union to advance prosperity, peace and stability.
Crisis Prevention and Response
The Obama administration conducted a comprehensive review of our policies in Sudan and developed a strategy focused on addressing our multiple policy objectives in Sudan and the region, including resolution to the crisis in Darfur and implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. We have named a full-time Special Envoy who has re-energized and broadened the multilateral coalition addressing Sudan's challenges. Following a comprehensive review of our policies on Somalia earlier this year, the President issued Executive Order 13536, the first E.O. focused on addressing the underlying factors contributing to instability in Somalia. The Administration's policy on Somalia is the first comprehensive approach to addressing the counterterrorism, counterpiracy, humanitarian, and security and political concerns facing the beleaguered state.
In central Africa, Secretary Clinton has elevated the issue of sexual and gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to a top priority, personally visiting eastern Congo in August, 2009, and directing that additional resources and innovative approaches be employed to combat this violence, end impunity and assist those affected. In Guinea, the United States was an international leader in condemning the September 28 massacre, supporting a return to constitutional order, and assisting in the electoral process that gave Guineans their first opportunity to vote in credible elections since their country became independent in 1958.
Encouraging Private Sector Growth
The United States is currently hosting the ninth United States - Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (AGOA Forum) in Washington, D.C., from August 2 - 3. Unlike previous Forums, this will be held not only in Washington but also in Kansas City, Missouri, from August 5 - 6, to allow for a deeper focus on agri-business. We are also emphasizing the role of women through a two-week AGOA Women's Entrepreneurship Program to provide tools to better integrate African women into the global economy. In addition, as a follow up to President Obama's Entrepreneurship Summit this past April, the Board of Directors of the United States Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) approved on June 24 up to $150 million in financing to support the establishment of a private equity investment fund designed to invest in companies in West Africa.
The most senior representatives of the Obama Administration have actively engaged on African issues.
President Obama directly laid out a comprehensive vision for U.S.-African engagement in Accra, Ghana, in 2009 during the earliest visit to sub-Saharan Africa by any President in his first year in office. In addition to holding a meeting with 25 African heads of state and African Commission Chairperson Jean Ping at the United Nations General Assembly last year, President Obama has also held bilateral meetings with President Zuma of South Africa, President Kikwete of Tanzania, President Mills of Ghana, President Jonathan of Nigeria, Prime Minister Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe, President Khama of Botswana, and President Sirleaf of Liberia.
Last summer, Secretary Clinton traveled to seven African countries (Kenya, South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Liberia, and Cape Verde). She continues to host and reach out to African leaders on a regular basis.
In June 2010, Vice President Biden traveled to Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa to address important bilateral issues in addition to holding numerous in-depth discussions on looming challenges in Sudan and Somalia.