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Sunday, December 04, 2005

U.S. Has No Strategy to Democracy in Ethiopia

The United States must develop a new and comprehensive policy that guides Africa into the global economy, ensures its energy supplies, fights terrorism and disease, and fosters democracy, according to the report.

EiTB24.com -- The United States must better recognise Africa's strategic importance in the global struggles against terrorism and the AIDS pandemic, and as a crucial source of energy, according to a Council on Foreign Relations report released Sunday.

As the Live 8 charity concerts and increased aid pledges from the world's richest nations kept Africa in the spotlight this year, the think tank's report said one point was missing: "that Africa is becoming steadily more central to the United States and to the rest of the world in ways that transcend humanitarian interest."

The United States must develop a new and comprehensive policy that guides Africa into the global economy, ensures its energy supplies, fights terrorism and disease, and fosters democracy, according to the report.

To focus on humanitarian aid while overlooking Africa's new strategic importance "serves neither U.S. interests, nor Africa's," the report said.

U.S. policy toward Africa, while improving, is still fragmented, the report found, and geared to battle emergencies, rather than long-term investments.

U.S. energy interests were also a concern. Africa supplies an increasing portion of U.S. oil, natural gas and minerals, and could be supplying as much U.S. energy as the Middle East in the next decade, the report said.

Yet intense competition for the continent's resources among China, India, Malaysia and North and South Korea challenges U.S. interests. In particular, China's hunt for oil to fuel its booming economy needs more U.S. attention, the report found.

The United States also has "no special strategy" to address challenges to democracy in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The report, which was written by a task force chaired by former National Security Adviser Anthony Lake and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, suggested U.S. officials should:

-Work toward a global trade deal that would eliminate farmers' subsidies and tariffs to help Africa thrive in the global economy.

-Set up a U.S.-Africa energy forum, with particular attention paid to encouraging the responsible use of oil and gas proceeds.

-Mobilise donors to contribute more for AIDS programs and research.

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