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U.S. State Department’s Leadership Changes Do Not Bode Well For Africa Policy, Including Health, Development Initiatives

African Arguments: Tillerson didn’t do much for Africa. Pompeo could well be worse.
Johnnie Carson, senior adviser at the United States Institute of Peace

“When it comes to Africa, don’t expect much from the changes taking place at the U.S. State Department. … The Trump Administration has not made Africa a priority and the White House has failed to set out a comprehensive strategy or introduce any new policy initiatives regarding the continent. The appointment of CIA Director Michael Pompeo to replace former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will not lead to an uptick in interest or engagement. … Pompeo’s nomination to replace Tillerson is probably bad news for those who want to see the U.S. energize its engagement and lay out a comprehensive set of policies and programs regarding Africa’s economic, social, health, and trade challenges. It is probably good news for all those who believe America’s priority in Africa should be to expand security alliances to combat threats in Somalia, the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin. … The administration’s proposed … cut to USAID’s budget … will have a heavy and disproportionate impact on activities in Africa. Its draconian re-imposition of the Mexico City rule … stops money going to many organizations and programs that provide antiretroviral treatments under PEPFAR… It was widely rumoured that a respected former diplomat, Tibor Nagy, would be nominated shortly for the top Africa position in the State Department. But that nomination will probably not move forward in advance of Pompeo’s confirmation…” (3/19).

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