03 March 2009

Africa: Getting the Continent on the Obama Agenda

26 February 2009
Reed Kramer

George Clooney's meeting to discuss Darfur with Vice President Joe Biden and with President Barack Obama Monday night at the White House provided one of the first glimmers of Africa involvement from the top echelon of the new administration.

According to Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander, Clooney was told that Sudan policy is under "ongoing review." The Academy Award-winning actor, who skipped the Oscar's ceremony Sunday night to fly to Washington, said he welcomed what he heard "because there was some concern this could fall off the radar."

That concern has been spreading among Africa watchers as days go by without any significant Africa-related pronouncements - particularly, no announced selection of a person to head the Africa Bureau at the State Department. Similar misgivings are being expressed about the administration's slow movement to fill top foreign assistance-related posts, which also affect U.S. relations with Africa.

Not only are the conflicts in Sudan, Somalia and Congo requiring urgent attention and perhaps changed approaches, but also there is equally pressing need to spotlight and support places trying to get development right, especially with the added strain of the global economic crisis. One stark example is Liberia, which has been making "steady progress" toward eradicating poverty, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reported this month, but where "limited national institutional capacity" and persistent security threats make continuing international support vital for the country's and region's growth and stability, his report said.

Read the full article at AllAfrica.com.

I think I'm going to start posting some Africa news. What are you hearing about back in the U.S., financial crisis stuff?

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