News from AAI’s Washington, DC Office
By Austin Cooper
It’s hard to believe that President Barack H. Obama has begun the final year of his presidency. Some of the Obama Administration accomplishments as it relates to Africa and U.S.-Africa policy include:
- The renewal and extension of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA);
- The first-ever U.S.-Africa Summit in Washington, attended by nearly 40 African Heads of State;
- The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), a White House initiative that invests in emerging African leaders;
- Power Africa, a public-private initiative which has increased access to electricity across Africa;
- Trade Africa, a partnership designed to strengthen the U.S.-Africa trade relationship;
- Reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank
- Feed the Future, which has reduced hunger and malnutrition on the continent through agricultural development; and
- Increased engagement with Africa by traveling five times to the continent and engaging with African Heads of State, business and civil society leaders, and young people.
So what’s next for Africa for the remainder of the 114th Congress and the final 365 days of the Obama Administration?
I believe that taking steps to encourage, promote and strengthen human capacity by furthering good governance in Africa will certainly be important to the Obama Administration. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation issued a 2014 report on African governance, which identified 39 African countries that achieved significant improvements, while in 13 countries, conditions had deteriorated.
In an effort to make a meaningful contribution and play a relevant role in shaping U.S.-Africa policy and engagement for the next U.S. president, AAI will host a Conversation on Africa (COA) forum in April, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The forum theme, Looking Ahead: Setting American Policy in Africa for the Next U.S. President, offers a platform for congressional leaders, U.S. Government officials, policy experts and Members of the African Diplomatic Corps to discuss U.S.-Africa policy. Please mark your calendars and stay tuned for further details.
AAI commends the U.S. Congress for favorably voting to confirm Gayle E. Smith, as the new Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Smith previously served on the Board of Trustees of AAI. We congratulate Gayle and look forward to working with her in this capacity.
Austin R. Cooper, Jr. is the Government Affairs representative for The Africa-America Institute and principal at Cooper Strategic Affairs, Inc.