Clinton challenges Africa

2012-08-01 20:20

Dakar - In a thinly veiled swipe at China's investments in Africa, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday urged African leaders to embrace democracy and partnerships with responsible foreign powers if they want to improve the living standards of their people, and address the root causes of extremism that threaten security on the continent.

In a speech in Senegal's capital, Clinton challenged Africa's elite to fully respect human rights and she warned of the consequences of rampant abuses, corruption and intolerance that breed contempt and contribute to instability.

She said America would stand by African reformers and she indirectly took on China. Beijing has been criticised for ignoring human rights concerns, local laws and environmental regulations as it boosts investment in Africa in search of energy and resources to fuel its exploding economy.

"There are still too many places in the region and across the continent where democracy is threatened, where human rights are abused, and the rule of law is undermined," Clinton said.


"Too many Africans still live under autocratic rulers who care more about preserving their grip on power than promoting the welfare of their citizens. Violent extremism, transnational crime and rampant corruption all threaten democracy."

The United States, she said, is committed to "a model of sustainable partnership that adds value, rather than extracts it" from Africa. "The days of having outsiders come and extract the wealth of Africa for themselves leaving nothing or very little behind should be over in the 21st century," she said.

Without mentioning China by name, she maintained that unlike other countries, "America will stand up for democracy and universal human rights even when it might be easier or more profitable to look the other way, to keep the resources flowing."

"Not every partner makes that choice, but we do and we will," she said, calling support for democracy and human rights the "heart of the American model of partnership".


Clinton was in Dakar on the first leg of an 11-day African tour that will take her to at least six other nations, including South Africa, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Malawi, and Ghana. In Ghana, she will attend the state funeral for the late president, John Atta Mills, who died last week.

Her speech coincided with the first major storm of the rainy season, a positive sign in a place where drought is responsible for a food crisis.

Clinton praised Senegal, the only mainland West African country never to have experienced a coup, for its democratic history and recent elections in which a long-time incumbent lost and handed over power to the victor, Macky Sall, whom she met before delivering the speech.

But she noted that such trends were not necessarily the norm in the region, such as in Mali or Guinea-Bissau where militaries ousted elected presidents.

"Leaders who hold on to power at all costs, who suppress dissent, who enrich themselves, their families and their supporters at the expense of their own people - who define democracy as one election, one time - are on the wrong side of history," Clinton said.

  • Squeegee - 2012-08-01 20:37

    Zipper likes embracing. I'm sure if you introduce him to Democracy he will embrace her - perhaps even marry her...

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-01 20:49

    The generosity of the American government ,and of American individuals is astounding. Every year MILLIONS of African lives are saved by this great nation. The starving and the sick in Africa, know who saved their lives, and which nation only comes to take !! It is only the ones FULL OF HATRED, that deny the realities of Africa !!!!

      CORNHOLIO - 2012-08-01 21:19

      the day africa stops taking these "freebies" is the day africa stops being slaves. until then all the rhetoric ,all the arrogance ,all the genocide will change NOTHING show some bloody pride

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-01 21:39

      Cornholio, That is a load of crap ! It is easy being healthy and not hungry, to talk like that, and when you not well, go to your doctor around the corner, and when you are hungry , you open your fridge. Let me assure you that your comment won't impress millions of Africans, as a matter of fact, they will tell you, that you are an enemy of Africa !!!

      CORNHOLIO - 2012-08-01 21:59

      da da da da da daaah da dada da da daah

      lioncachet - 2012-08-01 23:30

      Anthony you are correct,America does contribute heavily to Africa. But dont be fooled for one second that America doesnt want its piece of the pie.

      Thobile Lugwadu - 2012-08-02 07:41

      You talking nonsense, america sopports despots, just like china. It dumps genetically modified foods so as to kill african crops and make our land barren so that we will beg for food in exchange for minerals and trade concessions. America has never been a generous friend wherever it goes. Even the fools in Riyadh,will realise this one day?

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-02 11:09

      Big ups Thobile. I am glad that a lot of Africans have wised up to this monstrosity.

  • Vince.York - 2012-08-01 21:00

    Hillary, "Ask everyone in Africa who is John Galt" and you will see how empty of meaning it all is.

  • julius.mamputa - 2012-08-01 21:20

    I really wish that u would emphasize on the rule of law issue,to the leaders of South Africa,make them aware of its effects in a broad spectrunm,crime here is just something sweeped under the carpett,and the leaders dont mind walking over it,as long it doesnt affect their lives,I watched Mr President Obama giving his empathy to the lost lives at the batmen launch,Ive never seen our president doing that,and yet our people die in numbers on many ocassions,in accidents,in crime scenes etc.

  • aasunnie - 2012-08-01 21:32

    Hmm let me just say no Comment cos wat's the use anyway wen it wont make any difference.We r just pawn in their Reformed Colonian Master tactics.The old master left (west) the new one is here (asia). AFRICAN LEADERS SHAME ON YOU ALL

      CORNHOLIO - 2012-08-01 21:39

      damn straight leaders selling their countries for crumbs

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-01 22:16

      Exactly; China does not invest in Africa, it is buying Africa !!

  • CORNHOLIO - 2012-08-01 21:50

    well anthony let me resist the urge to get personal on your a$$. i wont even get sanctimonious. what i will say is how can any nation have any pride or forward impetus when there is always a handout.lots of people curse this culture of entitlement ,but where does it come from. do you think america or asia would have advanced if their pride had been eroded like has done this continent no favours. and as for america the brave and beautiful check out a movie called "idiocracy" and look on the future.americas is not what it was.

      CORNHOLIO - 2012-08-01 21:54

      that said america just happens to be the lesser of the two evils ,that doesnt make them heroes

  • millionwatts1 - 2012-08-01 21:59

    Lecturing as usual. I don't know who still listens to these out of touch words.

  • tommo.too - 2012-08-02 00:18

    Hillary is the best!!, This woman gets it right. ALL the time.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-02 09:21

    Hillarious Clinton is at it again. Africa has chosen its partner and it's "FOCAC". We dance to our own music and might pretend to be in agreement with you but as soon as things settle down to normal, our hips begin to sway to the beat of our forefathers. America has nothing to offer Africa but debt and misery!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-02 11:14

      You swing your hips as much as you like, the fact is that MILLIONS of AFRICANS believe you are a disturbed person who , through HATRED is not able to think properly !!! It is sooo easy for you; belly full, and if you sneeze you hop into the chemist, and if you want to 'share' some crap; just press the 'post comment'

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