Council on Foreign Relations
STEVE INSKEEP: Good morning. My name is Steve Inskeep. I’m with National Public Radio. I’ve been asked to moderate this discussion for the Council on Foreign Relations. Most if not all of you have the report in front of you. “More Than Humanitarianism: A Strategic U.S. Approach Toward Africa.” We have a very distinguished panel to discuss this and very distinguished guests to listen and also ask questions about this: a number of African ambassadors, along with U.S. officials, I see a number of military uniforms, and even a number of journalists, so all the range from the top to the bottom is represented here today. (Laughter.) I’m a journalist so I can say that.
Were going to — just to let you know, we are going to begin with a couple of opening statements from two of our panelists. I may have a few questions after that. And afterward we’ll spend the balance of the hour with your questions. It’s your opportunity to probe the assertions and conclusions and arguments that are made here. Everything that is said here is on the record today. And I’ve been asked to emphasize as well, please turn off your cell phones. I think I’ll do that right now. (Laughter.)
And also, independent task force reports such as this one are consensus documents on U.S. foreign policy developed through private and nonpartisan deliberations. Task force members who join the consensus endorse general policy, but not necessarily every finding, and as a matter of fact if you look through this report you will find some dissenting opinions toward the back.
We’re going to hear today from the co-chairs of the panel that put this together. They’ve chosen an auspicious moment — an auspicious time to make the announcement of their findings: it’s early enough in the day to avoid the snowstorm and, as yet, no one has been indicted in Washington today. (Laughter.)
Let’s begin with Governor Christine Todd Whitman. She is the — you’ll remain seated here? Oh, you want begin. Okay, we will begin with Anthony —
ANTHONY LAKE: She wants me to begin.
INSKEEP: Oh, okay. (Laughter.) That’s fine. We will begin with Anthony Lake. He has a long and distinguished diplomatic career, you can see details of it your materials. He was assistant to the national security advisor in the Clinton administration. He’s the chair of the U.S. Committee for UNICEF working on humanitarian aid. And of course he was also special envoy to manage the war, to deal with the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
LAKE:Thank you very much. This is — I’m glad that none of the panelists were indicted either. (Laughter.) It was a lot of fun working on this report and I learned a lot. We’re here for a discussion so I’ll be very brief in presenting some of our major thoughts. But first let me thank Princeton Lyman and Steve Morrison for an extraordinary amount of work on this, and very good work, and I know I learned a lot in the process. If you want to know how extraordinarily talented Princeton is, while I appear to speak, you — if you watch him you can barely see his lips move. (Laughter.)
And I want to thank Governor Whitman. There was a rumor around that she is wonderful to work with and the rumor turned out, unlike so many, to be absolutely true. And the commission members who really did — I see a number here — who really did a terrific job in not only going over materials, but contributing themselves.
Let me start with Darfur, as I think we should. Any of us who regret very deeply what happened on Darfur, and our own roles, as I do, and who criticize everybody involved because this was a failure of the International community, earned the right for that criticism by paying attention to issues like Darfur or Eastern Congo where millions have died, or famine, or the other humanitarian issues that tug at our consciences. And that is why we should begin with Darfur, and I’m happy to say that the report I believe makes very strong recommendations on it. It calls for much more pressure on the Sudanese government. It calls for pressure on those governments that are providing armaments to the rebels. It calls for pressure, or at least urging, the AU to turn to the UN for help. Help built around leadership by the AU, which with its 7,000 peacekeepers in Darfur is doing an extraordinary job and a very brave job in trying to cope with this crisis, but with not enough resources, not enough troops, and not enough help from the international community.
A number of us on the commission believe in fact that the situation is so urgent that if the UN is not able to come to the AU’s assistance very quickly, then NATO should go in with bridging troops and resources and implement a no-fly zone.
But while we must respond to humanitarian crises like Darfur, like famines, like so many in Africa. The report goes much farther and its central message is that there is a new Africa in which America’s interests are engaged in growing in new ways, and that calls for a new comprehensive approach that goes beyond, but definitely includes, our humanitarian interests.
So in the interest of time let me first simply outline with a few to me startling facts about those new interests. Energy: Africa will provide the largest incremental increase in oil production over the next two or three years, anywhere in the world. By 2010, Africa could be providing us with as many oil imports as the Middle East. That surprised me.
A second interest, and that is the activities of one of our competitors, not the only one, and not an enemy certainly, but one of our competitors in Africa and that is China. China now gets 28 percent of its oil imports from Africa. It owns 40 percent of the oil industry in Sudan. Because its government is so involved in supporting its companies, it is able to compete with American companies in very effective, not to say unfair terms. For example, recently — what, Princeton, about six months or ago or so? — It made a $2-billion loan to Angola, secured by future oil deliveries to win a bid for oil exploration there. And it is competing in similar ways for the oil resources that we need so desperately throughout the oil rich gulf of Guinea, including notably in Nigeria.
And this of course spills over into the diplomatic playing board, as we’ve seen in China’s efforts to impede Security Council action over Darfur. And if you check on Iran, you will see the same pattern.
A third growing interest and threat, and that is terrorism. Our military estimates that about 25 percent of the jihadists in Iraq come from Africa; most of them from North Africa, but a growing number from Sub-Saharan Africa. And of course, one of the dangers is that those terrorists will start infiltrating back into Africa from Iraq. And it is notable in 2003, I believe, Osama Bin Laden targeted Nigeria for terrorist operations.
The dangers of terrorism are of course enhanced by the challenges of poverty and internal conflicts, such as we’re seeing in Eastern Congo and which are, yes, humanitarian issues, but also as states collapse offer havens for terrorism and criminal activities of all kinds.
A fourth national security — and I emphasize national security — threat is the threat of HIV/AIDS in Africa. This is again as a humanitarian issue. In 2004, 2.3 million Africans, adults and children, died of aids — 2.3 million. I ask myself, if Osama Bin Laden had done that to Africa, do you think we would be treating this as a daily crisis? I think we would. And it is a crisis because it is contributing to collapsing economies in some places and collapsing societies, which in turn affect our own national interests.
All of this is daunting, and there are huge problems in Africa, but there is also good news the report emphasizes. Africans are building their own future in ways that we have never seen before. And helping them is a great investment, therefore, in our own future because of our growing interests there. For example, Freedom House now rates 31 African nations as free or partly free. Two-thirds of African nations have held elections, and the AU has said that it will not seat governments that come to power through unconstitutional means. This is very encouraging.
Many African governments are pursuing better economic policies. In 2004, Africa grew by 5 percent. That’s the good news. The bad news is that poverty and malnutrition continue to grow as well. And some African governments — it should be many more, but some African governments are seriously taking on the blight of corruption.
On the peace-keeping front, there are less conflicts in Africa than there were just a few years ago, although I have mentioned Darfur and Eastern Congo. And African peacekeepers have been much more involved than they have been before. African peacekeepers arrived in the Cote d’Ivoire, and Liberia, Sierra Leone, Eastern Congo before the UN got there and are working, as I said, bravely to try to cope with the humanitarian disaster in Darfur. Africa hopes to create five to six standby brigades that can take part in future peacekeeping operations, with our support, although we believe the support should be stronger.
So in sum, we face growing threats and deepening interests in Africa, but we also have great opportunities there. And as Governor Whitman will now describe, we also have a new and growing base in the United States to support a new and comprehensive policy towards Africa.
INSKEEP: Briefest of introductions for Christine Todd Whitman. You know she was EPA administrator in the Bush administration, governor of New Jersey before that. My governor, as governor of New Jersey, and so I will still call you Governor Whitman. (Laughter.)
CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN: Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be here because I have to tell you when you get to work with extraordinary people, as we had on this task force — with Tony Lake, with Princeton and with Steve and the work they did and the task force members themselves — it was a learning experience for all of us. We all learned some new things, but it also was one of those rare opportunities to see the best and the brightest, and I got to come along for the ride, so that was the nice part of it.
You know, we’ve heard a lot, and the report starts out with talking about how 2005 has sort of been seen as the year of Africa with all this attention. We’ve had Concerts, we’ve had world leadership meetings where calls have been sent out to the rest of the world to engage in Africa. I think it’s the consensus of the entire task force that that’s almost an insult in a way to say a year of Africa. Africa’s going to take a lot more than a year and deserves a lot more than a year in our — in our perception and how we look at it.
For such along time it has been humanitarian concerns that have spurred most of America’s policy and decision-making toward Africa and that’s laudable and important. That’s been the impetus for most of our engagement. And yet, that leaves us really very much in a reactionary mode where we are focusing and looking on the symptoms and not at the causes at what’s occurring there.
This report, as you will see when you get a chance to really take a look at it, attempts to focus U.S. policymakers and our citizens as to why the United States — it’s in our best interests to have a long-term commitment to the Sub-Sahara Africa. And we are dealing with Sub-Sahara here and that is I think is an important thing to understand.
Good policy cannot be made without good information. It can’t be made without a comprehensive understanding of national interests. And clearly, we have seen this is not a partisan issue. Congress has been acting over the last few years with increased aid, with things like Millennium Challenge Account, Millennium Challenge Corporation. They’ve all been bipartisan initiatives and they have been ones that have emphasized an understanding of Africa, if not — that are needs there, if not a full comprehensive understanding what exactly those needs are and our commitment should be. Both President Clinton and President Bush have spoken out on Africa. So we have a window of time here. We are at a moment where people really are focusing.
We are also seeing an increase in the number of interest groups that are beginning to focus on Africa. As two of our task force members, Bishop John Ricard and Reverend Richard Furman pointed out, the evangelical community and the religious community are becoming more involved, pushing the United States to become more engaged in Africa and broadening our concern and focus there. The religious community is particularly interested in seeing the United States take leadership in the Sudan, in the HIV/AIDS crisis, in the problems of starvation and lack of clean drinking water for so many of the population, and debt relief for Africa. It’s a broadening type of an interest and focus today.
The public health community and pharmaceutical companies are becoming more engaged; not just because of HIV and AIDS, but also because of malaria and other diseases that we thought had been ended but we’re starting to see recurrences in Africa and the poor public health system in so many countries is drawing their attention.
Even before oil and beyond oil the business community is interested. The Internet technology and high tech is taking off in Africa. And it is a place where the business community is starting to see real opportunity, but they need some assurances to make the kinds of investments that all of us would like to see made, and know need to be made.
Today’s report goes beyond just pointing out where there are new issues about which we should be concerned and new areas of opportunity. It also offers, as Tony pointed out, some suggestions as to where we should go as a country and as a nation.
One of the things that we talk about is the president needs to articulate to Congress and the public the broad interests — go beyond what he has said to date and emphasis more the broad interest to this country of being engaged in Africa — being engaged in a long term way. Congress has to understand that, and that perhaps one of the hardest things to bring about because we tend to think of fiscal years, budget to budget, not in the kind of long term commitment that’s going to be needed here. You can’t solve the problem of agriculture in a year. You can’t solve the problem of education, particularly of women in Sub-Sahara Africa, in a year. You need longer commitments and we need to start thinking differently.
We’ve had commission members who were extremely involved in helping to direct our focus on the fact that trade reform is a key if we are going to deal with Africa. We need to understand that. We need to take the lead — the United States — in working with the European Union and working with the Asian countries in order to integrate Africa better into the global economy.
We need to rethink — all of this points to the — a new way to look at aid, the long-term commitment. And one of the things the report does is call on Congress to meet the president’s challenge of getting the MCC account up to the $5 billion dollars by 2007. That’s an important commitment. We need that money in order to be able to make a difference.
Private sector development is an area where we call for more focus. Rick Lazio was one of our task force members who helped detail that, articulating as well in areas of population and in environmental areas. And that’s where, of course, I have a particular interest. We have a real opportunity in Africa to help the environment, not just of those countries, but of the world. And I just wanted to quote from Nick Lapham, a member of the task force, who said it really very articulately: “How Africa uses water, forests, rangeland, wildlife, fisheries and other resources bears increasingly on its security and its development. It influences efforts to tackle issues such as global climate change and pandemic disease.” That’s true, and we need to remember that and take advantage of the opportunity we have to act in this area.
A broad public approach to security is also called for in the report. One that also includes — it includes a more thoughtful response to terrorism by understanding some of the underlying factors that attract people to terrorism as a way out — as an appropriate reaction, but also the use of military while getting the support of Democratic regimes with respect to human rights as very important part of that.
Giving greater political attention to energy is another area on which we touch on the report. It’s especially through — one of the things we call for or suggest that could be used would be a U.S.-African forum that would focus on issues like transparency, on the appropriate use of the revenues that are coming in from increased oil production and that could — how these — the implications these have for the rest of the world and for Sub-Sahara Africa — how those monies can be put to better use.
We know, and this task force knows very well, that we live in a world of competing priorities for ever shrinking public dollars. We don’t put this report out with any kind of naive assumption that this is a call for billions more. In fact, one of the things that we touch upon in the report is we spend a lot of money on Africa, but it is all over the place. It is not as cohesive as it should be, not everybody knows what’s being done and the priorities are not what we think necessarily need to — they need to be.
We need to — the task force in recognizing these challenges also put forward and hopes that by putting forward these positive approaches and some suggestions and alternatives that we can help direct the discussion at the federal level as to how best to meet what we believe is truly a self interest for the United States beyond the humanitarian, which is very important and we don’t for a minute suggest disengaging from humanitarian responses, but rather to build on that for the future. We have a moment in time now. We cannot afford in the United States or Africa to see another decade where we don’t each of us do better. We need it and it matters to all of us and that’s really what this report is all about.
INSKEEP: Thanks, Governor Whitman. I want to introduce the other two members of our panel. I’ll be asking a couple of questions and the rest of the questions will belong to you.
J. Stephen Morrison is the CSIS Africa Program Director — Center for Strategic and International Studies. Also started the CSIS Task Force on HIV/AIDS.
Princeton Lyman is the director of the Africa policy — director of Africa policy here at the Council on Foreign Relations and was the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa as well as U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria.
I have a couple of questions — or one question really for each of you. Let me start with you if I can, Mr. Lake. You mentioned the importance of China and the growing business position in China if you will — China’s greater interest in the energy sector and other sectors in Africa.
How does China’s engagement in Africa limit U.S. leverage when it tries to manage problems of corruption or of human rights violations, or to spread democratic reforms?
LAKE: Well, beyond the competitive problems, and I would note that there a — from an African perspective some good news about African involvement, certainly. As the Africans are buying more and more resources, not just energy resources, it is increasing the prices that African governments are getting for minerals and other commodities in which they are very dependant. On the other hand, of course, Chinese textiles coming and other goods coming into Africa are reducing the prices for the African producers.
From our point of view the problem is — has a number of aspects. First, as I mentioned, the Chinese, in order to gain favor with African governments, are using their position in the Security Council and in other ways to support governments such as in Zimbabwe or Sudan that we find reprehensible. Of course, China has long-term ties to Zanu, Mugabe’s party in Zimbabwe, which helps to explain this, but is also because of Chinese seeking competitive advantage there.
Secondly, when we are working for greater transparency, better business practices in Africa, less corruption in Africa, and working with the EU to put pressure on African governments to behave in that way that’s so much in their interest as well as ours, the Chinese are seldom there and in fact because of the way they are doing business in Africa undercut those efforts. And, as I said, not to mention the ways in which they are putting our businesses that are competitive disadvantage. So again I emphasize: this does not mean that China is our enemy. And we need to find ways to do two things: one, to compete more effectively with the Chinese. I think we need to do more in the way of providing help for our companies through the Ex-Im Bank and in other ways so that they can compete somewhat more fairly. But we also need to be talking to the Chinese and trying to involve them and getting them to have a longer sided view of their interest to work with us more in encouraging the kinds of practices in Africa that are so much in everybody’s interest.
INSKEEP: And I’ll mention, of course, we do have some African ambassadors here today, so if there is someone that wants to respond, you’ll have an opportunity to do that as we go along.
And, Governor Whitman, a question for you and there may be others that want to address this as well. Your report mentions that there have been occasions, and your speech mentioned that there have been occasions in which there is strong political support of the United States for engagement on a particular issue such as Sudan. What do you see as the basic elements for engaging the public on those issues where there has not been such obvious support? And you mention a range of problems. If you bring up Zimbabwe for example, there’s not the same public pressure to do something — if you bring up the Democratic Republic of Congo for example. What are some parts of a political constituency that would get the United States more engaged or get any administration more engaged on issues like that?
WHITMAN: Well, that’s one of the things that we really tried to focus on in the report is to bring to the fore some of the areas about which people have not been thinking necessarily as being of importance; relating them between United States and Africa — health being one of them. As I mentioned, we have a lot of pharmaceutical companies now and health care professionals who are becoming quite concerned not just about HIV/AIDS, although that is a big one, but also about other potential pandemics. For instance, we hear a lot about the bird flu. And that is something when you don’t have good strong governance in some areas, where you don’t have necessarily a strong public health system, it can get out of control pretty quickly and that’s a concern people have.
Beyond oil, and that is certainly a big one for business but a lot — and people — as Tony mentioned, that’s a whole new area. I don’t think many people recognize the potential in Africa or certainly not the extent that we saw it in this report — the potential that’s there for the United States — I mean, beyond the other things we should be doing, conservation and that sort of thing, but beyond that, knowing that were always going to need sources, there is one source. And people need to understand that that is something where we’ve perhaps have not been as engaged in the past and we should be engaged. We talk about the other business opportunities that are there, all beyond the humanitarian needs that are things that — for instance, terrorism: not everyone thinks of the Sub-Sahara as being a base for terrorism. We tend to look at the Middle East, which is where obviously we have so much resource focused at the moment. And yet when you look at where the potential is to attract new terrorist, you look to areas of poverty — poverty and high unemployment and no hope. Those are some of the fastest recruiting grounds for terrorists. We need to understand that kind of things, so it’s in our best interest to become engaged.
INSKEEP: Can I come back to the pharmaceutical companies for a moment? There are a few in your state. At the risk of over simplifying, what is it that the pharmaceutical industry or the pharmaceutical lobby wants when it comes to Africa?
WHITMAN: I’m not sure the lobby knows what it wants. The lobby in the pharmaceutical industry is not exactly a cohesive unit. But a lot of the pharmaceutical companies have been there for quite some time with drugs that they have been giving out to combat various diseases. But, obviously, when you look at populations like that where there is such enormous need, there’s also enormous potential. And their businesses; they’re going to be looking at that sort of thing, but they’ve also been doing a lot of eleemosynary work that doesn’t get mentioned very often and talked about and they’ve made large investments in the area. And so, they would like to continue their investment and I think they would probably like to see a little back for it.
INSKEEP: Let me bring Stephen Morrison into the discussion if I can.
Mr. Morrison, you’re arguing here for a more strategic rather than solely humanitarian approach? When it comes to AIDS, what’s the difference?
J. STEPHEN MORRISON: Well, in the — in the report we make the case that there’s been a dramatic mobilization of resources and leadership within Africa, the U.S. and by others in the last five years. The actual aggregate resource flows are dramatically up from roughly $1 billion towards HIV AIDS in 2000 to $8.3 billion this year, but in the bigger picture we need to admit to ourselves and begin to tackle the reality that this pandemic is much larger and continues to advance in Africa on a scale that outstrips even the very substantial gains that have been made, and that we’re going to have a much higher mobilization of resources and energy into the future — that the scale of this is simply beyond what we had anticipated even a few years back.
UN AIDS is estimating the aggregate levels need to move to about $22 billion by 2008 just as one example here. We now have, as Governor Whitman has emphasized, the reality or threat of avian flu and that transmuting into human form, which is a potentially quite a grave and devastating threat to impoverished countries in eastern and southern Africa which carry very large HIV-positive populations. That has to be integrated into our strategy as well.
INSKEEP: But when we talk about making it loom larger than a humanitarian crises, your arguing, are you not, that this directly effects the interests in the future of the United States. Is that correct?
MORRISON: Yes, we’re arguing that because this poses such a grave threat to societies, to economies, to basic stability — and this is something that has come to be acknowledged by this administration — that it needs to be — that the way that we talk about HIV/AIDS and global infectious disease needs to take on a stronger and stronger security dimension to it and the rationale for why we’re operating. We’re obviously operating also fundamentally on moral and humanitarian grounds, but that this has taken on an international security dimension.
INSKEEP: Mr. Lake?
LAKE: Let me just add to that a bit. I’m — while Steve was speaking, I was remembering a trip I made to Swaziland last November with UNICEF looking at HIV/AIDS projects and was told there that of women, who are among the most productive workers in the society, that among women in Swaziland between 19 and 49, 50 percent — 50 percent, 5-0 percent, half of them are infected with HIV — half of them. Now, just imagine what that does to a society as it cycles then into more and more of them becoming infected with AIDS — I mean, breaking out in AIDS and not getting anti-retroviral therapy.
So as societies reach that cycle of nearing collapse, this affects our interests. It affects our economic interests. It, as I mentioned, helps create havens for terrorism. AIDS infects mostly elites. And that means there is a disproportionate effect on political leadership, although they don’t talk about it on teachers. It is rampant among militaries, a very specific interest of ours, because as the military has become less capable as a result of HIV/AIDS infections, they can’t do the peacekeeping that creates the situations in which either we have to step in after bitter political debate here and with our own resources or we have to live with our consciences if we do not. So it is a national security issue, as well as an extraordinary humanitarian crisis.
INSKEEP: Mr. Morris mentioned that the administration has acknowledged this. Has the administration done enough on this? Anybody want to take that?
LAKE: I will. Let me, because to give them credit they — President Clinton in 2000 first said that it was a national security crisis. The administration has been saying that since. It did initiate so-called PEPFAR, it’s own program on HIV/AIDS, which I think helps stimulate greater international concern for the issue. It deserves a lot of credit for that. On the other hand, the wind is coming out of those sails. And for next year, we had just barely over half the funding that the international community estimates is going to be needed, and the whole program is caught up now in almost ideological debates about where the focus ought to be within it and those debates are seriously hurting what we can do.
WHITMAN: And that’s where I would put emphasis back on the Hill as well. I mean, this is not just — the administration has made efforts. They have put forward budgets calling for a lot more commitment and part of the problem rests with the Hill in making those strategic decisions. They don’t always see it, and they’re pushing back, and that’s why you see the MCC getting barely half of what the president has called for.
INSKEEP: Stephen Morrison, you wanted to respond?
MORRISON: There’s been a lot of progress in the last couple of years and the administration deserves considerable credit for that. What we’re seeing right now is the difficulties of implementation and the sustainability of these programs and the fact that the cultural wars — our own cultural wars around sex and prevention activities are being transported into the debate around HIV and making it much more difficult to keep a focused, bipartisan interest support around expanded U.S. engagement. And that’s the danger — one of the dangers that we have identified in our report, that we need leadership to preserve that pragmatic center around doing more better as we move forward.
INSKEEP: I want to bring Ambassador Lyman into the discussion and then I’m going to be opening — opening this up for your questions. Ambassador, I want to ask you about maybe a telling little detail that’s in your report that’s mentioned a couple of times. The detail is that in Nigeria, a country where you served, most populous country in Africa, if you go to the northern part of the country, the mostly Muslim part of the country, 60 million people there, you will find no American diplomatic presence. Why is that important on its face to you and is there a larger message that — that is implied in a statement of fact like that?
PRINCETON LYMAN: Thank you. It really reflects one of the main themes that we have in the report, that is, that the way we allocate our resources and deploy our people abroad, Africa is a kind of a — almost as a colleague of mine in one of the agencies said, humanitarian backwater. So when you look at the deployment of staff and the language training, it’s not there in terms of key places. We cite the fact that in Nigeria, which is one of — the most populous country in Africa, half — roughly half the population, about 65 million people, are Muslim, an area of great concern about the potential of unrest, et cetera, and we have no consulate in that part of the country, that is, we have no city outreach to that population. We have no people in the Americans in the embassy who speak the language of northern Nigeria. How is — you find that elsewhere on the continent as well, whether it’s down the east coast of Africa where we know al Qaeda cells already exist or in the delta region of Nigeria with the oil investments and all the things there. We don’t have a consulate there either.
So the question is not having either the diplomatic or the intelligence resources to have, as Governor Whitman said, the information we need to know how to address and deal with the various issues. And the opportunities that Governor Whitman mentioned are so great now that we need to have this. I mean, we talk about what the Africa Union is doing and the commitment to the Africa Peer Review mechanism, and Africa Union taking on the issues of peace and security, and a number of countries that we describe in our report who are taking on the issues of corruption.
Our ability to take advantage of those opportunities for partnership depend on having the right people on the ground and the right recognition of that.
INSKEEP: Just to be clear, is it the understanding of this panel that intelligence resources in Africa are stretched as thin as diplomatic resources are?
LYMAN: They went down greatly after the cold war, and they are stretched very thin.
INSKEEP: Okay. I’m going to stand up, if that’s all right, and we’ll open up the floor to questions. There are a couple of microphones, which will move around. I would ask you to go ahead and raise your hand, as some of you are already doing. I’ll pick on as many people as I can. I would invite you to do a couple of things, please. Introduce yourself when you’re called. Wait on the microphone before you speak. And also, if you can avoid acronyms as much as possible, we have a group of experts here, but of course, this is — your experts all are in perhaps very different fields, so just explain what you’re talking about.
This gentleman has raised his hand right here. If you could stand and the microphone will come your way. I’ll call on you next, so if you can just — you’ll be waiting.
QUESTIONER: Good morning, I’m —
MS.: It’s on. It’s on.
INSKEEP: It’s working. You’re doing great.
QUESTIONER: Is it working?
QUESTIONER: Good morning. I’m Bill Price (sp), a retired professional diplomat. And I’d like to address the question to all of you, but especially Ambassador Lake. You mentioned a plague of corruption and how we need to deal with that. Of course, we’ve got a little sickness ourselves in this country, but I wonder if you could tell us what the report says on how we should — how you deal with that problem.
LAKE: Let me — I said beforehand that my answer to most questions of a factual nature were — my answer is going to be very clear, and that was to say Princeton, but let me address that, because this is a plague. And it affects not only — with a terrible impact not only economic performance in Africa, but democracy, because people lose faith in their governments when in their daily lives they see so much pervasive corruption.
A number of governments, including Nigeria, are focusing on this. We need to offer them all the support we can. There was one stunning statistic, and I’ll try to off the top of my head, which is that there was — I think it was between $700 and $800 billion stashed away in banks beyond Africa that are held by Africans. That is about the equivalent of all the foreign assistance we have given to Africa of the international community and over the decades. Now, that’s not to say that all the foreign assistance went out — came in and went out again, but it does suggest that the corruption is of a monumental scale and needs very, very seriously to be addressed. And now my real answer: Princeton.
LYMAN: No, no. I thank — no, I agree. And what — I mean, corruption is a serious problem. What we’ve said in the report and if you a chance to look at it, cite the number of African governments who have really taken this on in a very serious way. Not only in Nigeria, which has done — been doing a lot and targeting high-level officials, but if you look at Lesotho, Mozambique, Zambia, prosecuting companies, western companies in London, in Brussels, elsewhere, who have been collaborators in the corruption, and we have a stake in this in helping overcome this. It’s a very serious problem, but it takes all of us to do that. Some of the countries are looking for help in prosecution, looking for help in recovering assets of the kind that Tony mentioned, and it’s one that we’re going to have to constantly look at.
One of the things about the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Millennium Challenge Account is of all the criteria that countries have to meet to be eligible for the Millennium Challenge Account, the one they must meet is the one on progress and corruption, so the signal is being sent in these — in this kind of new initiative on foreign aid.
INSKEEP: Governor Whitman?
WHITMAN: Well, I’d just add to that last part about the Millennium Challenge. It — there are — there’s a part of the program, the threshold program and countries that entered that, the Millennium Challenge will start to work with them on the corruption indicators if they fail those corruption indicators. There are obviously other indicators that could make them eligible or not, but corruption is the A number one. If they fail that, they’re not going to get any money.
But one of the things that we recognize is that we need to help work with them on that on how to improve their judiciary, how to improve the overall corruption of government, transparency standards, those kinds of — rule of law, those kinds of things, so there is work being done, and there is certainly a strong message being sent.
INSKEEP: Ambassador Lake?
LAKE: Let me just add one other form of corruption that’s quite devastating in some areas of Africa and that goes to the environment as well, and that is that — and I don’t mean to harp on the Chinese. Chet Crocker (ph) pointed out quite properly that there are a number of competitors, especially for energy resources including India, South Korea, et cetera, et cetera. But the Chinese have been extraordinarily effective in the illegal export of timber products from Africa with just devastating effects in a lot of areas, and that is another form of the corruption.
INSKEEP: Mr. Morrison, you raised a finger down there at the end. Did you want to add something?
MORRISON: Just one quick additional point. I mean, we make an argument in this report that American societal interests connected to Africa are broadening and deepening and that this is a very promising long-term shift that’s underway. It includes our security folks, our public health community, our religious community, our business communities. But one of the things that we’ve encountered also, Princeton and I, in doing preview presentations around the United States on this report is there is a segment of American opinion that is — has a very strong and fairly unilateral sort of view of Africa as pervasively constrained by corruption. And that’s something that I think is an exaggeration, but it’s a reality perceptually that we have to begin to deal with.
INSKEEP: Let me mention before we go on to the next question, Mr. Chester Crocker is here, one of a number of members of the panel that put this together. If you have comments or questions that you want to let us know. The Nigerian ambassador is in the second row. If you want to tell us how we’re all wrong, I’d be — or tell them how they’re all wrong — I’m just a journalist here, actually. It’s fine. I’ll stay out of the line of fire. Go ahead, ma’am, you’re next.
QUESTIONER: Yes. I’m Elizabeth Bahai (ph). I run a marketing firm that focuses on Africa called ET Communications and I’m a member of the Council, so obviously I’m a U.S. citizen, but I’m originally from Ethiopia. And my question is for Ambassador Lyman. You told me when you were setting this task force up that this was going to be a different way of looking at Africa. And I haven’t read the report, but just from the panel, I see from the working group members there are one or two Africans on — among the working group members. But what I want to ask is, do you think it would have made more of a difference if there were more Africans both on the working group and in particular among the co-chairs? If you could just address that.
And then for Governor Whitman, you said that business communities interested in investing in Africa but need some assurances, I wondered if you could elaborate. And also if you think that the fact that many Chinese and Indian investors are putting a lot of money into Africa does that send a reassuring signal to investors in general, and in particular US ones?
INSKEEP: Ambassador Lyman, if you want to start.
LYMAN: Yeah. The way the task forces are normally set up, they tend to be Americans, unless it’s an exception. But what we did in this report was involve the African members of the international advisory board to the Council, who read the report, they read the early documents on it, commented to us, read the final report, reacted to it as well. And we have discussed it with a number of other Africans.
Obviously, it would have been better to be engaged more in Africa as we were doing the report. That just didn’t prove to be practical, but we’ve tried to get that kind of feedback, and we hope now that the report is out that it’s a basis for a lot of discussion back and forth. And just in terms of that question of tone — and I want to make this really very, very clear — one of the first things we said in the report at the very outset was that there is a tendency to talk about Africa and leave Africans out of it, and we cite the Live Aid concert as just a good example of it.
It’s very important to see the leadership and what’s going on in the continent that those are the people with whom we can partner in Africa, and we have to stop thinking of this as we define the problems only and we come up with the solutions. That’s not the new Africa that Anthony Lake referred to.
INSKEEP: Let me mention that the gentleman here will be next, but while the microphone is going over, Governor Whitman, if you want to address the other part of that question.
INSKEEP: What assurances can business groups have if they’re going into Africa?
WHITMAN: Yeah. The kind of assurances that I’m talking about and as a small business entrepreneur you would know that or that are things like transparency and rule of law, time it takes to get a business up and running, what kind of regulatory hurdles you have to go through, what does it take to get the licenses, all those kinds of things are important. And what business looks for — and this is where corruption again or the — at least the preconceived notion that you’re going to have a lot of problem with corruption is — acts as a barrier to full engagement by the business community. They want to know that there is rule of law. They want to know that there are procedures in place that will mean that they actually can get through the process and get a business to market and open in a reasonable period of time for the kind of investment that they want to make.
And those are the kinds of things also that foreign aid is looking at now. Certainly, MCC. It’s a kind of thing that MCC is looking at, and it’s a — again, a way of bringing those issues up to the fore so that the governments involved also understand that this isn’t just — we’re saying you have to turn everything over to us and say you can start a business tomorrow and there are no — going to be no rules or no inhibition to it, but it’s more that it’s for everybody, in everybody’s best interests to have these kinds of procedures and have them memorialized in a way that people understand and can — upon which they can rely.
INSKEEP: Sir, you’re next.
QUESTIONER: Chuck Cline (sp). I just left Liberia where I had the (UN initiative?) — (inaudible) — Princeton teaching national affairs. First, I want to compliment the panel study. I think it’s very difficult to find balance for the kind of research that needs to be done to bring through the product you did.
I’m concerned about the broader issue. You mentioned AIDS. You mentioned the raw materials, but I still see very little of that investment. The infrastructure to build the African middle class is so desperately needed. In other words, we’ve talked about Tidler (ph), we’ve talked about oil, we’ve talked about diamonds, we’ve talked about all these things, which are still the industrial west property off the back of African labor and not leaving the ecological — (inaudible) — behind.
Last year, as I understand, 180,000 Africans left. Why? Tribal hatred, religious animosity, lack of economic opportunity, second set of family who couldn’t go into the business. They are leaving Africa just the way the Europeans left in the 18th, 19th century, go to Argentina, Brazil, the United States and Canada. And they will go on inner tubes, if they have to. So how do you keep Africa’s elite there on top of all these other problems that we’re facing, to say nothing of AIDS and everything else that you mentioned?
LYMAN: Thanks, Chuck. In the section on what we call investing in growth in the report, we deal with some of those issues that you’ve dealt with. First of all, as Governor Whitman said earlier, we look at the aid program and the kind of investment we’ve been making in the past and what we’ve been doing is going in and out of sectors and not staying with them, whether it’s agricultural or education.
Second, we point out that if there’s going to be increases in foreign aid as was pledged to double — at G-8, double aid to Africa and the president said we’d double aid to Africa, that’s — a lot of that has to go into infrastructure. It has to go into the kind of infrastructure that will enable growth to take place as well as health and education.
But third, we also advocate programs that target science and technology and certain aspects of higher education that do allow some of the elites to stay and contribute more to the country. I think the larger issue you talk about of people leaving in large numbers comes around — about from, as you point out, from a lot of different problems, conflict being a major one. And we spend a lot of time in the report on that, and poverty and lack of opportunity, and it’s a variety of things that will get at that, and I don’t think there’s any short term. And that’s why, as Governor Whitman said, we’ve got to be consistent in these longer-term investments that we’re going to be making in Africa, not flit in and out. It’s primary education this year. It’s technical education next year. It’s agriculture this year and then we’re out of it next year. That’s the kind of long-term planning that we think is necessary.
INSKEEP: Stephen Morrison?
MORRISON: One of the themes in this report is the centrality of economic growth and the need to get serious about our global trade policies, and to eliminate the structural barriers to Africa entering the global economy, and having access particularly to our economy and for enhanced trade in both directions.
We also treat this issue of brain drain and it’s very expressly and specifically in the HIV/AIDS chapter where, of course, we see this kind of erosion and loss in very dramatic terms year in, year out — very hard issue to tackle. We offer some suggestions on ways that we might do more.
INSKEEP: Got time for probably a couple more questions. I see some hands. Let me go far to the back, if I can. Whose hand — go ahead, sir. You — yeah. You’re the man who’s starting to stand up thinking it might be him. Yes, that’s you.
QUESTIONER: Good morning. My name is Tom Carver. I work for Patrol Risk, which is a — (inaudible) — companies navigate Africa and invest successfully there. And in an earlier life, I used to be in sea-tac enforcement. I just wanted to ask you something about security sector reform, which I haven’t read every page of your document, but I haven’t seen it yet mentioned. It’s one of the more hotly-debated issues in African development, helping post-conflict countries and fragile states to get back on their feet by developing more transparent security structures. And I just wondered by — for Ambassador Lake or Ambassador Lyman whether you felt that this was something which should be led by the U.S. government or by the private sector.
LYMAN: Could we suggest that (Greg ?) Johnson —
INSKEEP: Yeah, Greg, do you want to talk about that?
LYMAN: — want to speak to that a little bit?
MR. JOHNSON: I presume by the security —
INSKEEP: Let me introduce. This is Greg Johnson, retired admiral of the U.S. Navy and a member of the panel that put this together. And Mr. Johnson, we’ll get you a microphone.
LAKE: Greg, it’s my microphone but I didn’t pay for it here.
MR. JOHNSON: I should have sat in the back row. I knew that. When you say security — is this on? Can you hear? When you say “security” do you mean military, police, that kind of thing?
QUESTIONER: Yes, I mean, systems in developing a security structure.
MR. JOHNSON: Yeah.
QUESTIONER: Right in the top level down to the trained army on the ground.
MR. JOHNSON: Yeah. Well, I can speak for what the European command and Africa command has been doing and what my personal views are and what we tried to articulate in this report, and that is an area where we have much work to do, but we have quite a few resources that we’ve tried to expend. We have a Horn of Africa task force that’s going on right now with Gulf of Guinea initiative, some initiatives in the Panza Heel (ph) to work with these armed forces, and they have the same problems that we talked about in terms of business environment and what have you, transparency being one of them. Regrettably, the armed forces have been used in not so democratic ways for internal security and what have you, and I think that we’re going to have to address all of those issues.
We’re very keen to do so. We’ve had some progress. I think the combined joint task force, Horn of Africa, which is an initiative going on in the central command right now, is an attempt to be proactive instead of reactive. Unfortunately, when those of my ilk get involved, we’re already being reactive. Things have gotten away from us, and so we’re hopeful that working in a more coherent, as Steve has said, national policy, this is just one part of national power, the military power and the kind of stuff that Mr. Cline has been involved with, both in the Balkans and more recently this — the most recent assignment, trying to build some kind of internal security capacity that’s transparent that works for the — this is an area that’s rich for opportunity and one where our policy is going to have to develop in a much more coherent way.
And by the way, I think it needs to be — NATO has been mentioned, the AU has been mentioned, the various regional organizations. And I think that we need to work very closely with them so that it has a local face and a local character as we try to work these issues.
INSKEEP: Ambassador Lake, very briefly?
LAKE: Let me just note that the report emphasizes very strongly that we — there’s been a surge in American military activity in Africa, in the Sahel, in Djibouti, et cetera, and we are much more involved now than we have been in working with security services and fighting terrorism, as we should be. But it is essential that we put that — our military activities more into a diplomatic context, that we address more clearly the longer-term implications of being too involved with governments that are repressive and will therefore at some point fail and embarrass us and undercut our ability to work with those governments and those people in the future. It’s always a dilemma that you face, but the commission was quite clear on that point.
INSKEEP: And let me just mention that in addition to Grog Johnson and Chester Crocker that Victoria Holt (sp) is here if you want to speak to her afterward, another member of the task force.
We’ve got time for one more question. Let me just ask, is there a member of the — someone from Africa who is here. This gentleman is raising his hand. Go right ahead. Yes, in the fourth — third row.
QUESTIONER: Thank you very much. My name is Zac Nsenga. I’m the ambassador to Rwanda to this country. It’s a comment, but first of all let me say that I read the report — have been — read the report. By the way, the direction of the report means come away from the humanitarian situation (got ?) the long-term perspective, and I think that’s what is what — (inaudible) — want here from here. But there is one snag. Indeed, it was mentioned that America has done a lot on Africa, but it has been scattered here and there. And — (inaudible) — has already added up to make sure a big influence on Africa, partly because I think the image of Africa here in this country is negative, partly because the lack of information among many Americans about Africa and the — not even ordinary Americans, but — (inaudible) — there’s no — nobody who knows Africa. But it is also — (inaudible) — of the media that portrays Africa in the negative perspective. It’s also about the advocacy groups could take single-issue advocacy and single-issue advocacy doesn’t add up, so the Americans see the overall picture, so the impression is negative. It’s about conflict. It’s about — that’s the message that comes in here.
So I wonder where this report has made an effort to make sure the image of Africa from American perspective is changed. For example, if the State Department says this place no good area, troubled restriction, it is not — Americans will not see this as Rwanda or — (inaudible). They will see Africa. So this negative attitude is — that are created more — it’s not that it’s really intended, but it comes in and the perceptions — (inaudible) — so how do we deal with the issue of perception and the image of Africa with good intentions? I believe the best way is to come away from humanitarian, go at the long-term because Africa is — there are so many positive elements in Africa —
QUESTIONER: — that can we be sure.
INSKEEP: Yes. Ambassador Lake?
LAKE: This is something about which I feel passionately. A lot of the groups in the United States that are doing wonderful humanitarian work in Africa are, for example, raising money by dramatizing the undoubted needs in Africa. And one of — we all — and that may be a good thing in raising more resources, but it is helping together with our media in creating an image of Africa in which if most — for most Americans, what do Africans do? They die of famine and they kill each other and they’re in refugee camps, and that is not Africa. Almost every African just like us gets up in the morning, goes to work, sometimes with unimaginable difficulties in walking ten miles to get wood or whatever, but they are working hard, and they are making progress, and that offers us a great opportunity. And we, our governments and all of us in this room and others, need to work especially with our media to try to get across that the African reality is not simply refugee camps and the kinds of horrible problems that do exist there. That is not Africa. That is one part of Africa.
INSKEEP: Governor Whitman gets the last word.
WHITMAN: Oh, I hope that you will find as you get a chance to really look at the whole report that, in fact, there is a lot of emphasis on what’s new and the good and the positive that’s happening in Africa, and that we need — that’s one of the reasons why we go beyond the humanitarian. That’s important and that’s good, but as you point out, when you have single-issue groups that are very sincerely committed to improving an individual problem, as Tony said, the way to do that is to hype the problem and to show how bad it is in order to get the resources to put toward it. And we really made a — I think a very good effort, I would say.
I mean, hopefully you will find it that way in the overall report in emphasizing the fact that we’re talking about working with Africa as partners. That’s a new mind-set that we have to have in this country. And unless you feel that the United States, the press, and the rest of us do a bad job of educating people about Africa, we do a bad job about educating our population about any part of the rest of the world, and a lot of parts of the United States — (laughter) — so it’s not just with Africa, but we did make a real effort in this report to emphasize the fact that we can work as partners.
INSKEEP: Thanks very much for your questions. I’ve enjoyed the answers and maybe we can give a round of applause to our panelists. (Applause.) And I’m sure some or most members of the panel are still here afterward if you have more questions.
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