Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson trip to Africa

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson trip to Africa

Ahead of his trip to Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Chad and Nigeria, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson finally unveiled the long overdue “U.S.-Africa Relations: A New Framework”

Below are some highlights from his speech today at George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia

  1. Conditions for a Stable and Prosperous Africa

“The future of stability is dependent on security – the condition that is necessary for economic prosperity and strong institutions. Without it, none of the other pieces can be put into place.”

  1. On Inter-Africa Trade for economic Growth

“Today only about 12 percent of total African exports are delivered to their neighboring countries on the continent. Compare that to 25 percent among ASEAN countries and more than 60 percent in Europe, and the potential for more economic prosperity through trade on the continent itself is quite evident. As African nations achieve greater regional integration through lowering tariff barriers and improving transport, energy, and infrastructure links, that will create more opportunities for U.S. businesses, investment, and transatlantic trade.”

  1. On Corruption

“The African Union estimates that Africa has lost hundreds of billions of dollars to corruption – hundreds of billions that was not invested in education, infrastructure, or security. Bribes and corruption keep people in poverty. They encourage inequality and they undercut the citizens’ faith in their own government. Legitimate investment stays away, and insecurity and instability grows, creating conditions ripe for terrorism and conflict. We strongly support the African Union’s summit’s highlighting and encouraging efforts on “Winning the Fight Against Corruption.” We hope this year’s theme is only the beginning of a more sustained, long-term focus on anti-corruption.”

  1. On Democracy

“In support of this theme, the United States will continue its work with African countries to strengthen their democratic institutions. Last month, the State Department requested $137 million from Congress to support democracy, human rights, and government programs to create more transparent, less corrupt institutions that value consensus building over conflict.

Democracy requires transitions of power through free and fair elections. It also needs a vibrant civil society and independent media to help inform citizens and keep them connected to their government. Last year, the United States helped support free and peaceful elections in Liberia, a country that hadn’t experienced a peaceful transition of power in decades. That included civic and voter education programs with a focus on youth, women, and other hard-to-reach, first-time voters, and working with media to promote responsible reporting.”

  1. On Governance

“We also keep good governance initiatives in mind when it comes to development. As Secretary of State, I am chairman of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, or MCC. Through this agency designed to reduce poverty, the United States is able to incentivize good governance – including greater transparency – by tying it to development assistance. And about 60 percent of MCC’s funding goes to Africa. Last November, we signed a $524 million compact with Cote d’Ivoire to improve its education and transportation sectors. This was only possible after the country had implemented policies to strengthen economic freedom, democratic principles, human rights, and to fight corruption. Spurring reforms before a dollar of U.S. taxpayer money is even spent is the MCC’s model.”

Click here to read the full speech

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