Background Briefing En Route Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
MODERATOR: All right, everybody. We are looking ahead, back on the plane, Senior State Department Official Number One, to talk about the larger goals of this Africa swing and also the next two stops. And then Senior Official Two will have a few general points to make, and then we’ll take three or four questions.
Senior Official One.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be with all of you this afternoon to help to frame the Secretary’s three stops in Africa, one of which you’ve already done successfully.
The Secretary’s trip is designed to do essentially four things. One is to underscore the continued U.S. commitment to Africa’s sustained and long-term economic development through AGOA, which we just completed, MCC, Feed the Future, the Global Health Initiative, and the Partnership for Growth.
The second objective is to highlight the role of civil society as an engine for advancing democratic governance and sustained economic growth, drawing special attention to women, youth, and the importance of entrepreneurs and the business community.
The third thing we’re trying to do is to showcase U.S. bilateral initiatives with a special emphasis on health, something that we did just an hour or two ago with the Secretary opening a Centre for Excellence in Lusaka.
And the fourth thing that we’re trying to do is emphasize the key role and function of regional bodies such as the African Union, the East African Community, and the role that those institutions can play in helping Africa to resolve some of its political problems as well as deal with some of its economic challenges.
In all three of the countries being visited, we will also have an opportunity to showcase many of our effective and successful development assistant projects. We will also be engaging with civil society, particularly women, students, and young entrepreneurs. And we will also be stressing the need for strong democratic institutions, good governance. And that means also the fight against corruption.
In two of the countries that we’re visiting, Tanzania and Zambia, we have countries which are committed to strong democratic principles. And in Ethiopia, the third country that we’re visiting, we will continue to encourage that government to strengthen its democratic institutions and to open political space for the opposition.
In Tanzania over the next 36 hours, the Secretary will have an opportunity to showcase the Feed the Future Program, the Global Health Initiative, and to spotlight our relationship with one of our strongest partners in Africa. As many of you know, Tanzania is a very successful and emerging democracy and is a strong development partner. We have the whole of our development programs at work there: MCC with its largest compact at $690 million; we have a Feed the Future Program; we have a Global Health Program; and a strong partnership on PEPFAR, a strong USAID program. And it is one of four countries and one of two African countries which are a part of our Partnership for Growth Program. We look forward to that stop.
And let me just say in Addis Ababa we will be meeting with the prime minister of that country, Prime Minister Meles, who has been a strong partner in regional security efforts. We will also be meeting with Jean Ping, the head of the African Union. The Secretary will be giving a major speech at the African Union on Tuesday morning, and she will also have an opportunity to meet with key members of the Government of South Sudan, including First Vice President Salva Kiir, where she –
QUESTION: There’ll be no one from the North?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: We anticipate that there will be Northern representation, but we do not know yet who it will be.
Let me stop right there.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: More broadly, I think this trip has given the Secretary yet another opportunity to underscore her profound conviction, the Administration’s profound conviction, that security, democracy, and development are inextricably linked; and that good leaders empower their people and respect their will and govern for the good of the whole nation, not a select few; and that good citizens exercise their democratic rights, fight for them, expect a high standard of support from their government and transparency and good, clean governments from their leaders.
The 360 degree event that you saw her do that she committed a lot of time to and at the radio event afterwards is rooted in her conviction that in the 21st century we can’t just do diplomacy with leaders or behind closed doors, that as citizens have much broader access to information through the internet, et cetera, that American diplomacy has to reach down and touch people, has to get to kitchen tables, has to get into people’s homes; and that our development programs increasingly have to put us out of business as development drivers, and we do that by working to address the real needs of people – jobs, trade, opportunity – and giving people the foundations to determine their own future rather than just giving them a handout.
So that’s how all these programs fit into the larger vision and how you see a connection from what we were doing in Addis Ababa, with the Libya Contact Group, through all of these Africa stops, but we will obviously also be working on the dangerous situation in Sudan.
And now to your questions.
QUESTION: She was pretty strong on China, even warning of a new colonialism in Africa. And I wonder how much of that – whether that was also a factor in her private meetings with government officials (inaudible).
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL NUMBER ONE: China is indeed a reality and a presence, Kim, in Africa. I think that the Secretary was highlighting the desire of everyone to see China behave as a responsible trading partner and citizen as it deals with Africa, and that African nations should hold China to the same kinds of standards that they hold American, British, German, Western European, and Japanese companies to when they come in to the marketplace.
There is a distinction. The Secretary made it, I think, very clearly. When American companies come to Africa, they leave behind not only an investment, but they train people, they employ people, they provide people with opportunities to be a larger part of a corporate structure. We leave education and we leave technical skills. And all of this is part of the way we do business. And I think this is important for others to do this as well. It’s a two-way street and should not just be the exploitation of resources.
QUESTION: Do you think the African countries are holding the Chinese to that high standard, or do they just want the quick money projects that are coming in?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: I think that individual African countries have reacted differently to China, but I think there is a growing awareness and sophistication on the part of African countries that they need to drive the best possible bargain and deal they can, one which not only provides them money but also technical skills, jobs, and technology transfers for their countries and people.
QUESTION: Which was done back in the ‘90s. Which country did not?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: I’m not going to get into naming countries.
QUESTION: Can I ask about the speech to the AU? To what degree is Libya going to be a factor in the speech? You talked a lot of about the successes at the AU, but you still have – won them over to your side on the Libya question. Is she going to bring that up, and do you regard that as sort of test case for how far cooperation with the AU can go?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Let me just say that I think that Libya will be a factor in the speech. It is a part of Africa, and Libya has played a significant role in African politics, so it will come up. But let me say African countries are very deeply divided and conflicted over Libya and president – and leader Qadhafi. But we have – are very proud of the fact that three African countries, all three African members on the UN Security Council, Nigeria, Africa’s largest and arguably most important state, South Africa, again, arguably again alike with Nigeria as being one of the two most important states in the continent, along with Gabon, voted for UN Security Council Resolution 1973. They were a part of that majority. They also voted for UN Resolution 1970, which authorized the no-fly zone and the action that’s been taken.
We are very pleased that a number of African states have come out very clearly and stated that they support the UN effort, and this has ranged from Batswana to Ethiopia, where we’re going, to Rwanda, and including the president of the country we just visited, Zambia. They’ve all come out in support. We know that there is hesitation on the part of a number of African states, in large measure because of the enormous influence that Qadhafi has wielded across Africa for such a long time, and they have shown some reluctance.
But we continue to make strides in our – advancing our policy. I’d just note that just two days ago we had two very prominent African leaders come out and say that president Qadhafi had lost the legitimacy of this people and must step aside. One of them was President Wade of Senegal who went to Benghazi and met with the TNC and asked Qadhafi to step aside. He said the time had come to allow the people to have a democratic transition. The other one was President Aziz of Mauritania, a country that strides both the Arab world and the African world.
So there is division, but we also note the key states, the important states, Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia, have all come out for – in favor, but he’s been asked again by the United Nations.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: So I would also add that this has been a centerpiece of the Secretary’s diplomacy in all of her meetings with African leaders over in the last weeks.
MODERATOR: We have time for one more.
QUESTION: Can I do one more? Did Zimbabwe – I’m sorry, but it’s important. Did Zimbabwe come up at all in the meetings in Zambia? Will in come up tomorrow in Tanzania and in Addis? And tomorrow’s specific meeting with – or I guess it’s was Monday – can you point to – is there any specific regional – specific regional security or development issue that is going to be talked about? Not general stuff, but specific – is there specific issues (inaudible)?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: The subject of Zimbabwe came up in the Secretary’s conversation with the president of Zambia. The president of Zambia said very clearly that the SADC wants to see the issue of Zimbabwe resolved. They want to see President Robert Mugabe move forward with the full implementation of the global, political agreement to see a new constitution drafted and written and new elections, based on a roadmap agreed to by both parties. So the issue of Zimbabwe was clearly present in the Secretary’s conversations.
QUESTION: Now in Tanzania and Addis, are there specific – I mean, (inaudible) and hasn’t been mentioned again.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Let me just say that in Tanzania I suspect that Zimbabwe will also surface as an issue. Tanzania is a member of SADC regional economic community, which includes Zimbabwe. It has been a number one security issue for the peace and security organ of the – of SADC for some period of time. I think it will come near – come up there.
Let me say that Somalia is likely to arise in the discussions in Ethiopia, probably more so than in Tanzania.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much guys.