WASHINGTON - March 9 - As the international
spotlight focuses on the Darfur crisis ahead of Friday's African Union
meeting to discuss peacekeeping efforts in the troubled region, Africa
Action today released its Africa Policy Outlook 2006. This annual
publication forecasts the key issues and developments in Africa policy
in the coming year, and analyzes trends in U.S. relations with Africa
under the current administration. The "Africa Policy Outlook 2006" is
now available at
Africa Action's Executive Director Salih Booker, co-author of the Policy
Outlook, said, "This year, Africa will witness a new wave of U.S.
soldiers landing on the continent for training and other missions, as
Washington takes aim at reshaping Africa to better serve America's
security interests. But American involvement in actual peacemaking or
peacekeeping missions in Africa is far less likely, even as genocide
continues in Darfur, Sudan."
The "Policy Outlook 2006" analyzes last year's "compassionate
showmanship" by the Bush Administration and other rich country leaders
and the reality of the promises made on aid, debt cancellation, and
HIV/AIDS. It also probes the current trends in U.S. Africa policy that
often receive less scrutiny but that are, in fact, very revealing - the
expanding U.S. military presence on the continent and the U.S. pursuit
of Africa's oil resources.
Ann-Louise Colgan, Director of Policy Analysis & Communications and
co-author of this year's report said, "When it comes to U.S. relations
with Africa, the pre-occupation of U.S. officials with conventional
geo-strategic concerns stands in stark contrast to the expressed concern
of the American people regarding the ongoing genocide in Darfur and
global health challenges like HIV/AIDS and the Avian flu. Africa's human
development challenges remain urgent despite last year's proclaimed
Africa focus by rich country leaders."
Africa Action notes that some of the largest countries on the African
continent currently face insecurity and conflict, though most are in the
process of a transition requiring U.S. and international support this
year. When it comes to Sudan, Africa Action emphasizes the "hierarchy of
geo-strategic interests" that guides U.S. policy toward this key
country, and charges that the Bush Administration's intelligence-sharing
relationship with Khartoum continues to inhibit its response to the
ongoing genocide in Darfur, where a United Nations intervention is
Booker and Colgan note, "In 2006, the narrow notion of security promoted
within current U.S. Africa policy, and the attendant rejection of the
more holistic concept of 'human security', will be challenged by the
growing threat posed by public health concerns and other global issues.
This dichotomy will also highlight the divide between African priorities
and American imperatives on today's most urgent global challenges."
The "Africa Policy Outlook 2006" is now available on the organization's
website at http://www.africaaction.org/