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Africa should be partner in new US policy: think-tank


Dec 5, 2005 (WASHINGTON) — The United States needs to retool its Africa policy so world leaders and rock stars no longer have to regularly join hands to alleviate the continent’s plight, an influential US think-tank said.

An independent task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations warned that Africa deserved better from Washington, and should be brought into the world economy as a full partner.

The group also called on the United States to "mobilize international support to secure the ground and compel a negotiated settlement" to halt atrocities in Darfur.

The final report, "More than Humanitarianism: A Strategic Approach Toward Africa," recommended Africa be treated more as a partner in issues like combating AIDS, rather than merely as a recipient of humanitarian aid.

"We will know that the response to this opportunity has failed if, in another ten years, US policymakers link hands once again with other world leaders around Africa’s problems and the world witnesses another global concert to end Africa’s poverty."

"The United States cannot afford to let another decade go by without effective solutions, and Africa deserves far better," said the report.

The United States should help "integrate Africa more fully into the global economy," and urge all members of the World Trade Organisation to dismantle all agricultural subsidies and tariffs on the continent, the report said.

It said the US State Department should exert more oversight over counterterrorism programs to avoid "unintended support" of repressive regimes. Washington should also rebuild its intelligence capability in Africa.

The Bush administration, which promised 15 billion dollars over five years in 2003 for HIV/AIDS relief, should also urge other donors to increase funding on the continent.

The United States should live up to Bush’s pledge at the Group of Eight summit this year to double US aid to Africa by 2010, and establish a US-Africa energy forum, to help US companies to compete for energy and infrastructure contracts in the country.

On Darfur, "the United States must press for urgent international action" including broadening peace forces beyond the African Union, enforcing the no-fly zone against the Sudanese government and hardening sanctions on Sudan.


- The full report of CFR is available at : More Than Humanitarianism: A Strategic U.S. Approach Toward Africa

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