By Wang Wei
In the context of an increasingly multi-polar world, the Obama
administration is eschewing sanctions and other high-handed policies in
Africa in favor of diplomacy. But differing national interests and a
lack of shared values mean it will be a long and tough road to a true
During Obama's visit to Ghana last year, the President emphasized that
America is committed to establishing a US-Africa partnership focusing on
democracy, economic development, opportunity, public health and the
peaceful resolution of conflicts.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's subsequent seven-country tour of
Africa also conveyed a clear message: Washington wants to be a partner
of the African people.
But there is a gap between what the administration would like to do and
what it can actually achieve. The US-Africa partnership advocated by
America is little more than a publicity campaign and will not solve the
problems facing the nations of the African continent.
Africans hope the United States will lift the sanctions it has imposed
on certain countries and allow them to find African solutions to African
problems. But U.S. will not readily agree to this. Since the
establishment of the Zimbabwe unity government, America has been
providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Zimbabwe, but it
still maintains its overall sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Expanding exports to America and securing foreign investment to develop
their economies is a major priority for many African nations. But the
US-Africa partnership lacks financial support, and is unlikely to meet
the exaggerated expectation that the United States will end African
From the political perspective, Africa does not need American-style
democracy and Africans hope the United States will not seek to impose a
system of government on other nations. Africans have their own
democratization process and development path; western-style democracy
has proved to be a tough sell on the African continent.
But African nations hope the United States will become involved in
mediation and conflict resolution at the local level, for example in the
Somali Civil War.
Source: China.org.cn, Wednesday, May 19, 2010