100 Days Pass Obama Administration

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Telephone:   (202) 546-7961
Email:  africaaction@igc.org

100 Days Pass Obama Administration

WASHINGTON - As
President Obama’s first 100 days in office pass, Africa Action
recognizes
significant changes in the tone of U.S. foreign policy, including the
willingness to engage a wide variety of perspectives and a desire for a
more
comprehensive approach.  This should
pave the way for a more positive U.S. policy. 
However, recognizing the serious economic crisis in the U.S., it
would
be damaging to U.S. foreign policy to deprioritize diplomacy and
democracy in
Africa. 

Over the coming months, Africa Action and partners
will be
mobilizing public pressure to hold the President Obama accountable to
his
campaign promises.  Our three campaigns
include: End HIV/AIDS, Cancel Africa’s Debt and
Peace & Justice for Darfur and All Sudan.

Africa Action welcomes the latest nomination of
Dr. Eric
Goosby as U.S. Global AIDS
Coordinator. The U.S. Senate should swiftly confirm Goosby so that
there is a
strong advocate for treatment programs, such as those
included
in the
Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global
Leadership
Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008. 

Further, President Obama must fulfill his
commitment and
ensure that the U.S. provides its fair share to the Global Fund.  It is imperative that Dr. Goosby shore
up support and strengthen its
relationship with the Global Fund, which continues to play an
imperative role
in delivering AIDS resources to rural areas often ignored by PEPFAR.

Gerald
LeMelle, Executive Director of Africa Action said today,
“It
is
essential that PEPFAR receive funding as promise.  In

several countries in Africa, PEPFAR is unable to enroll new patients
due to a
shortage in resources.  Moreover, due to
a funding gap, South Africa's HIV proposal to The Global Fund to Fight
AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria for Round 8 did not include provision of
antiretrovirals
at all.”

Africa Action calls on the United States to
contribute its
proportionate share to the Global Fund by appropriating $2.7 billion in
2010,
and an additional $1 billion in 2009. While the U.S. Government’s
approval of
an additional $60 million is a welcome development, it falls far short
of the
$700 million for 2009 that experts say the U.S. needs to contribute to
make its
proportionate share based on the size of the U.S. economy.

“We look forward to engaging Dr. Eric Goosby,
as well as
Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and
Scott
Gration, U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan,”
said LeMelle. 
He added, “In the days and weeks to come,
each person will face challenges that will need to be quickly
addressed.” 

In Sudan, for example, approximately 1.1 million
people are
now dependent on food aid. A joint U.N.-Sudanese assessment
team said
that more than one million people in Darfur would not get their food
rations
beginning May 1st, as a result of international humanitarian
organizations being expelled from the country. 
Consequently, there will be a dramatic increase in disease and
insecurity around the region.

There must also be more space for discussion
around one of
the most adverse policy proposals President Obama has advocated for-
that is
that the International Monetary Fund be the instrument that mitigates
the
affect of the global economic crisis on Africa.  Michael
Stulman, Associate Director for Policy and
Communications explains that, “This is the same institution that had
initially put Africa in the economic crisis it is in today.  Without institutional reform, the new IMF
loans will create a new debt crisis that will do much more harm than
good.”

Africa Action advocates that there be “no blank
check” for
the IMF.  Rather than hastily
appropriating funds to the IMF through a supplemental appropriations
bill in
the coming days, U.S. congress must allow for an open debate on the
role and
policies of the IMF, and provide for an opportunity for legislative
amendments. 

“It is now more important than ever that
President Obama
establish a clear channel of communication between the White House,
Secretary
of State Clinton and the entire Africa team,”
said Stulman. “This
will
improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of foreign policy
towards
Africa.”

###

Africa Action is a national organization that works for political, economic and social justice in Africa. Through the provision of accessible information and analysis combined with the mobilization of public pressure we work to change the policies and policy-making processes of U.S. and multinational institutions toward Africa. The work of Africa Action is grounded in the history and purpose of its predecessor organizations, the American Committee on Africa (ACOA), The Africa Fund, and the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), which have fought for freedom and justice in Africa since 1953. Continuing this tradition, Africa Action seeks to re-shape U.S. policy toward African countries.

Share This Article

More in: