United States Policy with African Countries
Tiffany Smith


For too long Africa has been an afterthought in United States. foreign policy interests. In World War II, Africa was a strategic stepping stone to the places that mattered in Europe. In the Cold War, Africa was a pawn in East-West struggles. Even as we Americans set in place well-intentioned economic development policies, it was too often with the idea of trying to do good for Africa, rather than to do good with Africa. This has changed. Instead, the United States. has implemented a strategy to operate more effectively in a world where non-state actors and illegal trans-border activity can pose major threats to even the most powerful of countries.
The goal is to develop a network of well-governed states capable through responsible sovereignty of protecting themselves and contributing to regional security. By so doing, they also protect the international system, these sentiments coincide with Africa's own growing emphasis on the values of freedom, the rule of law, and collective security, as embedded in the African Union's New Partnership for African Development. The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) Peer Review mechanism reinforces African leaders' own efforts to promote democracy and good governance among their peers (Clough, 1992. p. 23). The United States understands that there are new, rising strategic powers around the world, Africa Nations such as South Africa and Nigeria have used their diplomatic, economic, and military power to shape the continent for the better. Mali, Mozambique, Liberia, Ghana, Botswana, Benin and many other African countries are leading the way as examples of the power of democratic rule of law.
providing security assistance programs that are critical to securing the objective of a peaceful African continent has always been a priority for the United States, an important step was taken in early 1994 after the Rwanda genocide, when the decision was made to create a Department of Defense Unified Combatant Command for Africa the United States. Africa Command, or "AFRICOM." This decision to create AFRICOM marks the beginning of a new era where African security issues can be addressed from an Africa-centric perspective(Kissinger, 1969.p.3). AFRICOM is a new type of command that will focus on building African regional security and crisis response. Its objective is a more secure Africa, but it is not expected to have any assigned forces to the African continent. Rather, AFRICOM is a headquarters staff that coordinates the kind of support that will enable African Governments and existing regional organizations to have greater capacity to respond in time of need.
The United States policy with the continent of Africa is to promote democratic systems and practices, the United States are engaged in supporting the rise of freedom and democracy on the continent. It is not enough to just end wars, but all must move beyond post-conflict transformation to consolidate democracies, moreover, United States works with the continent of African societies on the critical issues of governance, transparency, and accountability as a means of helping establish pluralistic communities where open political dialogue is the channel for reform and progress(Clough, 1992.p.33). During the past two decades, progressive democratic reform has adapted to local values, customs, and practices throughout Africa. Outgrowths of democratic, well-governed states that adhere to the rule of law, support the will of their people, and contribute responsibly to the international system are developing. Our third foreign policy priority is promoting sustainable and broad-based, market-led economic growth.
Responding to challenges in Africa, the United States implemented the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), a revolutionary foreign assistance program that seeks to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth by awarding sizeable grants not loans to countries that practice good governance, seek to take responsibility for their own development, and are committed to achieving results.
The United States Government has also enacted the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a program that allows responsive and responsible partners in Africa to benefit from preferential access to American markets. With 40 countries presently qualified for this program, AGOA has become a cornerstone of our trade and investment policy in Africa. The United States has been in the forefront of efforts to forgive the debts owed by poor countries but only if those countries' governments first demonstrate their commitment