US-Africa: Mrs. Clinton to hone African Growth and Opportunity Act in Kenya

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The U.S Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has been scheduled to visit Kenya and speak at the African Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum as part of president Obama’s engagement in Africa; Clinton says the US wants African nation’s to reach their full potential.

While Kenya is Clinton’s first stop in an 8-country-tour of Africa, where she would address the AGOA (African Growth and Opportuny Act) forum on new approaches to development, investment and broad-based economic growth, global hunger and agricultural issues will also feature highly in her discussions with African leaders.

According to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, sessions are expected to address a wide array of issues, including ways to deal with the global economic downturn and strategies for business development in Africa; good governance and how it relates to business and economic development; and the importance of fostering greater regional trade integration across Africa.

“In this time of economic crisis, it is important that the United States and Africa work cooperatively as a major trading partner to protect economic growth, the advances made, and lessen the negative impact of market fluctuations.” Mr. Carson also said the United States has been working closely with members of civil society and the private sector, who will have sessions at the AGOA Forum, to “ensure that we have captured the concern of all of those who have a commitment to Africa and to expanding African trade and opportunities.”

Mrs. Clinton will also visit South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Liberia, and Cape Verde. She is also scheduled to meet with Somalia’s President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, president of Somalia, whose forces, assisted by African Union troops, are battling Islamist insurgents.

According to observers, the visit is to highlight President Barack Obama’s commitment to making Africa a US foreign policy priority. A few weeks ago, Mr Obama visited Ghana to stimulate Africans, and African leaders to an era of change: He told parliament in Ghana during a one-day stay that good governance was vital for development. Major challenges awaited Africans in the new century, he said, but vowed that the US would help the continent.

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