United States Policy Towards Africa: Lessons Learned
On September 21, the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, in partnership with the Constituency for Africa (CFA), hosted a panel discussion on US foreign policy towards Africa, featuring five former US assistant secretaries of state for African Affairs as part of CFA's 2011 Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series, which brings together a range of stakeholders inside and outside government in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference.
Participating in the discussion moderated by J. Peter Pham, director of the Ansari Center, were Chester Crocker (Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, 1981-1989), Herman J. Cohen (Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, 1989-1993), George Moose (Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, 1993-1997), Constance Berry Newman (Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, 2004-2005), and Jendayi Frazer (Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, 2005-2009). Melvin P. Foote, president and CEO of CFA, also addressed the audience at the beginning of the event.
While the links between the United States and African countries are increasingly among the most important of the strategic relationships each side maintains, there is often the perception that some policymakers go about as if they are the first to engage with each other. To put things in perspective, the panelists critically explored US policy toward Africa, evaluated some of the lessons learned from both successes and failures, and shared their visions for the path forward.