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Clinton To Meet With Somali President

As part of her seven country, 11-day trip to Africa, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday in Nairobi will meet with Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed at the new U.S. embassy in Kenya, according to Associated Press (Lee, 8/6). Ahead of her meeting, Clinton said she would speak with Sharif on “what else the international community can do to try to support his efforts to stabilise Somalia, to create a functioning government,” Agence France-Presse reports. She acknowledged that it is a “very difficult conflict,” and said, “It poses a threat to Kenya, poses a threat to the stability of Africa and beyond.” Clinton heads to South Africa later in the day (Tandon, 8/6).

In related coverage, Newsweek compares President Obama’s plans for Africa with former President George W. Bush’s policies. Bush’s administration delivered “change to Africa through its PEPFAR program … Outside of the war on terrorism, Bush made it the centerpiece of his foreign policy, and it animated a great deal of time and attention from the executive branch,” Newsweek writes.

On the other hand, “What has Obama offered? So far, not much,” according to the magazine, which acknowledges that “Obama’s Africa team has only been online for two months.” There’s “[n]othing wrong” with what Obama and Clinton have said in Africa, but they are “messages that African leaders have heard again and again,” Newsweek writes (Johnson, 8/5).

Clinton Speaking ‘Useful Truths’ In Africa, Must Follow Through, Editorial Says

On Wednesday in Kenya, Clinton, “speaking some useful truths … took aim at political corruption and graft,” according to a Wall Street Journal editorial. “African leaders aren’t used to such blunt public criticism from Western liberals, but the Obama Administration has put a notable focus on failed governance as a major source of Africa’s woes,” the newspaper writes, noting that “[t]oo often, the World Bank and other international aid agencies have been complicit in this failure by turning a blind eye to corruption while pouring more money into these governments.”

According to the editorial, Western nations have “spent an estimated $2.3 trillion on foreign aid over the past five decades. Yet in a typical African country, one-third of the children under five still have stunted growth due to malnutrition.” Clinton’s “forthright approach to African leaders is a welcome development,” the Wall Street Journal writes, concluding, “We’d like to see Mrs. Clinton follow up those words by denying aid to corrupt leaders” (8/6).

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