Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said trade between the United States and Africa quadrupled in 10 years since it was signed in 2000 during an interview on 360 at Lusaka, Zambia.
At the interview on Africa 360, Ms. Clinton said within the $4 billion of trade, there are many different businesses with products and services that are being sold into the American market.
“At the same time, what we said at the very successful forum hosted here in Lusaka is that we want to take a hard look at what we can do better, not only from the U.S. perceptive – we are ready to do that – but also from the African perspective.”-Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton stated that there are still barriers to trade, investment, especially foreign direct investment. She said some of them are external and some of them are internal like better infrastructure, making sure that corruption doesn’t stifle businesses, looking to see that there’s more trade within Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Because what is surprising, even shocking, is that the countries within Sub-Saharan Africa do less trade with each other than any other region in the world.”-Ms. Clinton
When asked about whole concept of AGOA and good governance, Ms. Clinton noted that good governance for the United State is democratically elected leaders who are held accountable to their people first and foremost, and who put their own people’s welfare first. She said democracy is the best way to good governance over the long run.
“We think free, fair, transparent elections are the way you get to good governance.”-Ms. Clinton
She underscored that good governance ultimately is whether or not people believe they are governed well. She highlighted that at the end of the day, one can measure the success of a government by looking at indicators as to seeing how many jobs are created, is the economy growing, are children being well educated for the 21st century, are health care needs being met – the kinds of issues that you can actually put on a chart.
Ms. Clintonshared her view of AGOA that over the long run, investments in Africa should be sustainable and for the benefit of the African people. She stressed that she don’t want to see a new colonialism in Africa.
“We want, when people come to Africa and make investments, we want them to do well, but we also want them to do good. We don’t want them to undermine good governance. We don’t want them to basically deal with just the top elites and, frankly, too often pay for their concessions or their opportunities to invest.”-Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton made it clear that the United States is investing in the people of Zambia, not just the elites, but also it is investing for the long run.