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Atlantic Council Strategy Paper Series December 6, 2016

A measured US strategy for the new Africa

By Dr. J. Peter Pham

Africa’s story is increasingly one of economic dynamism that is driven, in part, by political reform and improvements in governance. But, there are also very real security, humanitarian, and developmental challenges that remain to be confronted. The United States has a stake in helping to tackle these challenges, not least because it is in its own national interest to do so.

To complicate matters, some African countries are still grappling with the conception of “statehood,” since, in many cases, the state was an imposition of European colonialism. In this seventh Atlantic Council Strategy Paper, Atlantic Council Vice President and Africa Center Director Dr. J. Peter Pham argues that the United States needs to modernize its relations with a changing Africa to best engage a new range of actors and circumstances.

The change of US administration in January offers a unique opportunity to recalibrate US strategy toward a rapidly transforming continent.

The Atlantic Council Strategy Papers series is designed to enrich the public debate and build consensus on the great strategic challenges of our time, as well as to help shape strategic thinking in US and allied governments, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the global media.


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