What can we be expecting on this trip you ask? The State Department released details on the trip. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton will travel to Kenya, South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Liberia, and Cape Verde, starting on August 4 and she will return to the U.S. on August 14. That's only 10 days... 7 countries in 10 days. Is our SOS a rockstar or what?
The trip will start at the U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, known mostly as the AGOA Forum, in Nairobi, Kenya, where she will deliver a speech at the ministerial opening ceremony of the forum on August the 5th.
She will also hold talks with Kenya’s senior leaders including President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga. According to State, she will "encourage both of those leaders to move forward with their efforts to rewrite the country’s constitution and to prevent a return to the kind of violence that erupted in that country in January and February of 2007 following the very difficult and flawed presidential elections there."
Also, while in Kenya she will, on Wednesday afternoon, visit the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) laboratories along Waiyaki Way. She will be accompanied by US Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas J. Vilsack, together with U.S. Representatives Donald M. Payne and Nita M. Lowey. And it has been stated that "The visit will focus on KARI’s contributions to Kenya’s food security and agricultural development. It will include a laboratory tour, discussion with KARI staff and collaborating partners, observation of a maize research plot, and ceremonial tree-planting.”
From Kenya, the Secretary will move on to South Africa, where she will have an opportunity to meet the leadership of South Africa’s new government. She will meet with President Jacob Zuma, and South Africa’s new foreign minister, Ambassador Mashabane.
These meetings are designed to give the U.S. an opportunity to talk with South African leaders about issues such as Zimbabwe and HIV/AIDS and to strengthen an important relationship in South Africa with a country which is the engine of that region’s growth.
After South Africa, it is on to Angola. Angola is one of the largest energy producers in Sub-Saharan Africa and is a major supplier of both petroleum and LNG to the U.S. market. The Secretary will meet with President Dos Santos, and she will also renew her acquaintance with the Angolan foreign minister with whom she met in D.C. about a month ago. It is the desire to strengthen that relationship with one of Southern Africa’s emerging countries, a country which has enormous economic potential.
Next stop is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the Congo, she will first go to Kinshasa and then will proceed the next day to Goma. There is a meeting with President Kabila and the Congolese foreign minister. In the Congo, the Secretary wants to put a great deal of focus on the issue of sexual- and gender-based violence which is occurring in the eastern Congo. There is a great deal of conflict in this area since the mid 90s, largely as a result of the movement of ex-genocidaires from Rwanda into the eastern Congo. Hillary is of course deeply concerned about the gender-based violence and she will meet with some of the victims who have suffered from it.
Next, he Secretary will fly to Abuja, Nigeria. The State Department proclaims that "Nigeria is probably the most important country in Sub-Saharan Africa: 140 million people, 75 million of whom are Muslims." They also state that it is also a major source of petroleum imports for the U.S.
Here the Secretary will discuss with the Nigerian Government a range of issues, including West African security, the need to continue to move forward in strengthening its democracy, dealing with corruption, and also promoting stronger economic development.
Liberia The Secretary will then move on to Liberia, a historically important relationship. Hillary wants to reaffirm U.S. support for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the only female African president, and to show and demonstrate U.S. support for the democratic progress that has occurred in Liberia, support and reaffirm U.S. commitment to helping in the development assistance area, and in security sector reform.
Cape Verde Last stop is Cape Verde, which the State Department calls "an African success story." The island nation, off the coast of West Africa, is democratically run and well-managed.
This huge Africa trip comes only three weeks after President Obama’s successful trip to Accra, Ghana, and will highlight and underscore the Obama Administration’s commitment to making Africa a priority in U.S. foreign policy. Reports have stated that this is the earliest trip by any Secretary of State and President to Africa of any previous U.S. administration.
As with most of Secretary Clinton's international trips there are extra security measures being taken as well as street closures and statements make by police on safety and security. Here is a tidbit from Africa News:
Kenya Police announced on Tuesday that traffic flow would remain interrupted in Nairobi until Thursday following the ongoing AGOA Conference. A statement from Police headquarters said the measures are being taken to ensure smooth security operations ahead of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit.
The statement said the Parliament Road from the junction of Harambee Avenue roundabout to the City Hall Way near the Intercontinental Hotel would remain closed. Other affected roads include Parliament road to Kaunda Street junction.
“We wish to announce that the stated roads will remain closed from 9am Tuesday until late Thursday,” Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said. Where possible, he said, motorists should avoid the city centre to avoid being inconvenienced.
Well, as I type this I am reading reports of Hillary landing and preparing for her first scheduled event in Kenya. Stay tuned for lots of photos and video of Hillary Clinton's Africa Trip!