SA must be high on Obama’s second-term agenda

2012-11-10 15:46

Four more years! That was the battle cry of Barack Obama supporters during the presidential campaign of the newly re-elected US president.

One of the phrases I picked up from his speech was “the best is yet to come”. South Africa should be a part of that.

For the moment, we should let our anti-imperialist stance take a back seat and think of what Obama’s next four years will mean for South Africa.

In the first four years, we understood that he was establishing himself in the White House.

He inherited a difficult economic environment and he was America’s first black president. We knew the pressure on him was going to be much greater than on his predecessors.

While it should not matter that he is black, for the African continent it became an important feature.

Africa was not high on Obama’s agenda and he did not visit South Africa – although his wife, their children and his mother-in-law toured the country.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid an official visit instead. It must surely be time for that to change.
What do the next four years of Obama mean for South Africa?

I now believe Africa must be high on his agenda. He cannot afford to ignore South Africa, a democracy with strong institutions and the continent’s biggest economy.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act is very important for this country and it expires in 2015. It has to be renewed for South Africa to benefit as it does now as almost 98% of our products exported to the US are duty-free.

The United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief programme should also be exempt from downscaling as South Africa has benefited and we have managed to deal with the epidemic in a different way.
South Africa will continue to fight for multilateralism and use that to resolve issues.

As part of this approach, the relationship between the US and the African Union must be strengthened, and the president must listen to the voice of the African Union to resolve conflicts on the continent.

We must not let things get to the point they have in Libya.

I believe Obama is right – the best is yet to come. And South Africa needs to be part of it.

» Ambassador Zulu is the presidential adviser on international relations

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.