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More Than Humanitarianism: A Strategic U.S. Approach Toward Africa—A Report from a Council on Foreign Relations-Sponsored Independent Task Force [Rush Transcript; Federal News Service, Inc.]

Speaker: Christine Todd Whitman, Task Force Chair, Former New Jersey Governor and EPA Administrator
Author: Princeton N. Lyman, Task Force Director; Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow, Africa Policy, Council on Foreign Relations and former ambassador to South Africa and Nigeria
Speaker: J. Stephen Morrison, Task Force Director; Director, Africa program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Presider: Soledad O’Brien, Anchor, American Morning, CNN
January 23, 2006
Council on Foreign Relations New York, NY

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Council on Foreign Relations
New York, NY

SOLEDAD O’BRIEN:  Good evening, everybody, thanks for being with us.  We certainly appreciate it.  I want to welcome you to today’s Council on Foreign Relations meeting.  I’m Soledad O’Brien with CNN.

Today we have a discussion about Africa.  You should all have the report by this time.  It is called “More than Humanitarianism:  A Strategic Report to Africa.”

I’d like to start by introducing you to our panel this evening.  They’re going to be answering questions—my questions, and a little bit later tonight, your questions as well.  We’re joined by a number of folks who obviously are engaged professionally.  In some cases I’ve had a chance to talk to some people who are engaged on a volunteer basis in Africa, and I’m looking forward to hearing from everybody tonight.  I should also tell you that names and full bios are all part of the handout as well.

Quick reminders before we really get under way, though—cell phones off; BlackBerrys off; Trios off; anything you’re wired to off.  Thank you very much in advance.  And a reminder to the audience as well, this meeting is on the record.

So our panel this evening.

Princeton Lyman, the director of Africa Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.  He was the U.S. ambassador to South Africa as well as the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria as well.  J. Stephen Morrison is the Center for Strategic and International Studies Africa program director.  He also started the group’s task force on HIV/AIDS.  Christine Todd Whitman is the former governor New Jersey, former administrator of EPA in the Bush administration.  She’s a member of the board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation and she is a chair of the task force.  And we’ll get underway, in fact, with an outline—essentially—of some of the various highlights of this report before we begin our Q&A.  And for that, we’re going to start with Governor Whitman.

CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN:  Well, thank you, Soledad, very much.  And I am delighted to be here and I have to say that Tony Lake, who was my co-chair, is not with us tonight because he’s in Africa and will be there for a month.  And it was, I must say, a very easy thing.  Tony Lake is a co-chair and Princeton and Steve.  The council and the panel we have put together were some exceptional people and a lot of hard thinking and discussion went into the report, as you will see.

The purpose behind doing it—as the title says, beyond humanitarian aid—is to try to give policymakers in the United States, decision makers in Washington and the public in general a better understanding of the strategic importance of Africa to the United States.  We have always had, I think, a laudable reaction to humanitarian crises around the world, but particularly in Africa. But unfortunately, that has created a picture of Africa that is really unfair to Africa.

It is not just a continent of people in need and the Sub-Saharan, in particular, is not just an area of people in need.  And yet, there are some very real reasons why we in the United States should care beyond the humanitarian responses and we outline some those as new areas.  First is energy.  Africa’s going to be one of the fastest growing producers of new energy over the next two years.  In fact, by 2012, the United States could import as much oil from Africa as we now do from the Middle East.  It is of great strategic importance to us.  And yet we see a number of new players in Africa competing for those oil interests.  Perfectly legitimate competition, but of which we ought to be aware and we ought to start thinking about strategically—China in particular, but India as well.

There is a renewed interest in Africa by many in the religious community.  They’re starting to become a broader—really kind of a broader constituency for Africa in the United States—people recognizing that we need to be part of the answer to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  We should all share the concerns of things like the avian flu, with the understanding that many of the countries about which we’re speaking don’t have that sophisticated a health system as to be able to deal with some of these issues.  They need help.

The business community is now becoming more engaged in seeing a real potential—particularly in technology—cell phones are taking off in Africa and there is a lot of potential.  But there’s some things the business community need—they need transparency.  They need to know that the time to get a business up and running is not going to be inordinate, so they can make the kind of investments that are beneficial to everyone.

And of course, we have a growing concern of terrorists emanating from the Sub-Saharan.  Obviously, our focus has been more to the Middle East and North Africa to date, but we also know that a lot of terrorist cells have started to find a place in Africa—in Nigeria and the Sudan and other areas.  And when you look at the poverty—the issue of the devastation wrought by HIV/AIDS, the kinds of things that all go to create a feeling of despair, particularly among young people, those are the very kinds of confluence of influences that can make it easier to recruit people to terrorist movements.

So there are whole hosts of new and emerging reasons why we should care about Africa.  And there is some very good news, too, that gives us an understanding of the fact that we now have partners there that we might never have had before.  There are 31 countries in Africa that are considered to be free or largely free in their electoral process.  The African Union now refuses to seat anyone that does not come through power through a democratic process.  There are real partners there and we need to see the African governments as partners, but we need to be more strategic in our thinking and we need to help encourage both Congress and the administration to think in the long term.

Part of the problem in our engagement in Africa—because it has been humanitarian—has been short term.  We focus on the crisis of the day.  We start to treat the symptoms, not the underlying causes, and we’re not in there for the long haul.  In fact, during the 1990s the combination, both U.S. and World Bank aid to Africa in agriculture, dropped 90 percent.  Well, it takes more than a year or two to change agriculture, just the way it takes more than a year or two to really affect education, particularly with women in Africa.  We need to help government and policymakers and the public here understand that it’s in our best interests at a whole host of levels to engage with Africa and to do it over the long term, which requires a different way of thinking.

We’ve seen some very encouraging signs just this last week, I guess it was, with the State Department reorganization and AID and an attempt to bring some of those—start to bring some of those different programs together so that there’s some coordination.  But there’s a lot we need to do and that’s really what the report is all about.  It tried to be a positive report in the sense of pointing out what we have done, but giving some suggestions about what we can do in the future and the kinds of steps that need to be taken in order to engage in the way that we think’s appropriate.

O’BRIEN:  Let’s begin with our questions.  Ambassador Lyman, let’s start with you.  Condoleezza Rice came into office really talking about transformational democracy—diplomacy, rather—and then seems to have acted upon it last week—late last week with some pretty major announcements—transferring diplomats out of postings in Europe and in Washington, D.C. and to the Middle East and Africa as well.

What do you—you have said—in this report certainly—in many places we have no eyes and no ears in Africa.  Is this the right way to do it?

PRINCETON LYMAN:  Right, the important steps that she’s taken, which we’re delighted about, because as we said in the report, there’s been a tremendous decline over the last decade or so of both our diplomatic and intelligence capabilities in Africa.  We don’t have any diplomatic presence in northern Nigeria, which is the Muslim half of the country.  We don’t have a diplomatic presence in the delta where the oil is and where we’ve seen trouble just recently in the last few weeks.

We don’t have it in a lot of places.  So since there arises in analysis that these are where the problems are, those are where the U.S. priorities have to shift is very encouraging.  And I think shifting personnel and resources in a pinch, and then she did name a number of African countries as partners—as Governor Whitman said, are going to be our partners in working on these issues.

O’BRIEN:  Steve, a USAID—the agency, obviously, that oversees the nation’s multibillion dollars in aid programs—is now going to be brought under the State Department’s wing.  What are the risks and the benefits to this move?

J. STEPHEN MORRISON:  Well, the benefits are the hope that the far-flung programs that constitute our foreign aid can be brought together into some coherent focused effort.  Right now there’s way too many institutions carrying out separate programs with separate earmarks and congressionally mandated objectives without having folded underneath a coherent set of four or five key objectives.  That’s the hope.

One of the fears that’s been voiced is that the longer term development poverty alleviation objectives and the like—will be sacrificed to short term political interests.  We’ll see.  We’ll see.  I mean, it depends, really, in the matter of execution on how this is done.

It’s interesting that Randal Tobias—Ambassador Tobias has been named to take on this role of implementing, because he was named at the end of 2003.  He was confirmed by the Senate to head up the president’s emergency plan in HIV/AIDS relief.  And that was a very similar sort of project in which he was being asked and mandated by Congress to begin to bend different agencies to a common, very urgent set of objectives and he’s gotten reasonably good marks on that and that model is now being expanded in this way. 

This debate’s been going on for many years and this action that’s been taken by the secretary comes somewhat unexpectedly and it’s a fairly bold move.  The actual outreach and dialogue of Congress is at a very early point.  I mean, you talk to people in Congress and what’s quite striking is how much work still lies ahead in actually executing it.

O’BRIEN:  You talk a little bit about business development and opportunity, and at the same time in the news we talk about hostages being taken in Nigeria and a group that says, we want $1.5 billion and if we get the money, we’re not going to stop our attacks, we’re just going to spread them out over more groups.  And so how do you balance those two things?  How can you encourage business development when you really cannot yet provide for real security?

WHITMAN:  Yeah, that’s an enormous issue and that’s where we have to work with the governments themselves.  And the government of Nigeria has made some real commitments and is taking some first steps to try to control the corruption and some of the terrorism, but they need help.  They need expertise.  They need a better understanding of how to do it and they need some support in getting it done.  We have to have that. 

As you mentioned before, I’m on the board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.  And one of the things that we have a prerequisite to a country being able to enter into a compact with the MCA is good government—governance—and a reduction of corruption.  And on the corruption indicators, they have to pass the corruption indicators.  If they don’t, we won’t even consider them for aid.  And that’s a very strong message that we have to send—that aid and security—I mean, security from terrorism.  They have to take it seriously.  The governments have to engage and we have to be there to help them with that.  And the United Nations needs to be there to help them.

I mean, Arab Union has talked about this, they’ve focused on it.  They need some help, too.  They don’t have the ability to do it all and we have got to ensure – that’s one of the things the report calls for is getting the European Union and other countries to understand that this is of importance to them as well and they need to get engaged in these areas and help support these governments that are starting these first hesitant steps to try to bring these things under control.

O’BRIEN:  Ambassador Lyman, I want to you about China.  In the report, China is positioned as a competitor to the U.S. and the Chinese assistant foreign minister, I think it was, sort of laid it out as a win-win situation, recently, in their first ever Africa policy paper.  And he said, in a nutshell, China wins because we get access to all the resources that Africa has.  And Africa wins because they get access to having infrastructure and Chinese investment in their oil and refineries, certainly.

What’s the U.S. role going to be?  I mean, can the U.S. compete?

LYMAN:  Well, there are similar aspects of this, and China is doing some things that are very beneficial for Africa.  Prices have gone up for commodities.  Africans are enjoying those windfalls, if you will.  And China is engaged in aid projects that we don’t do anymore like infrastructure—building roads, building pipelines, building refineries, et cetera, that we haven’t done for many, many years.  They’re a legitimate competitor.  They have a right to go out and compete for resources.

But there are two areas that we have to think about in this regard.  One is that the Chinese are not concerned—Governor Whitman talked about the conditionality that goes with the Millennium Challenge Corp.  The Chinese are not concerned with those things, and in some cases, they run up against major U.S. concerns over human rights.  The situation in Sudan is most prominent where the Chinese have come in when western oil companies left.  China, India and Malaysia all came in.  And China now on the Security Council really protects the government of Sudan against sanctions because they’re so heavily—the Chinese are so heavily engaged in the oil industry in Sudan and sell arms to that government.

They’re also heavily engaged in helping a very autocratic government in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe.  So we have a concern about the Chinese encouraging and then using their Security Council seat to protect human rights violators.  The aspect of it is, it’s a new kind of competition.  The Chinese can combine bids on oil resources with aid programs and building of infrastructure in one package.  We don’t compete that way.

Our oil companies are private over here, our aid programs over there.  It’s going to take some imaginative work with our Export-Import Bank and other facilities to enable Americans to compete in what is becoming a very competitive environment in Africa.  The Indians and even the South Koreans and Malaysians are following the Chinese pattern of how to compete.

O’BRIEN:  What’s the U.S. leverage when you’re talking about these human rights concerns and environmental concerns, I think, you can add to that list?

LYMAN:  Yes, and we do talk in the report about the very great environmental damage going on in the logging industry in which China is heavily engaged.  Leverage—I think the key here is that we must make it clear in our relationships with China that some of these issues matter a lot to us.  What’s happening in Darfur, Sudan is important to the United States.  The Chinese have to realize that.  That we need to move to resolving that genocidal situation.  And for China to block U.N. action in this way makes it a major issue in our foreign relations.

And then the second thing is to engage China more on their own interests in stability and better governance in Africa.  That’s going to take dialogue.  It’s going to take a lot of discussion back and forth.  And third, we can do joint programs with the Chinese.  They’re heavily involved with health right now, so we could look for ways to work together in some areas.  So I think there are three aspects of it.

O’BRIEN:  Steve, thinking specifically of your work in HIV/AIDS, is there a risk of losing a focus from a humanitarian focus to a strategic focus that things that benefitted from the humanitarian focus will now drop off the radar?  Will not—will lose?

MORRISON:  I think that many people fear that we’re in a new Cold War setting.  And that when we talk about oil and we talk about terrorism and we talk about competition with China that we’re just substituting another set of hard and fast interests and that we’re going to neglect the other questions of equity and democratization and human rights and humanitarian concerns.

I think that’s a real fear that you get voiced today and we’re at the moment of shift that’s going on. What we try and bring across in this report is you have to face the reality that these other states that have risen so dramatically that you’re going to be taken on things like, the global infectious disease preventing, the energy security peace.  But our humanitarian stakes in the continent are going to remain very, very strong and a vital part of our engagement.  And you can prove that by looking back over time.  They’ve been the enduring—an enduring component. 

What we could keep, though, is when you make—you cast the continent as a charity case—when you cast you ignore the capacities that exist there.  You ignore the diversity of interest.  You make it as a default position in which humanitarianism is what you fall back on to excuse yourself for paying greater attention to many of these other things.  That’s not to denigrate the poor value of the humanitarian response.  It’s to get beyond that simplistic reflexive view.

And frankly, it’s somewhat deeply ingrained perceptually within the United States in looking at the continent. But it’s a delicate argument to make without seeming to be walking back from a human connection and the humanitarian stakes in here.

O’BRIEN:  But if, as Governor Whitman says, to some degree this is—you have to sell this to the American people who then put the pressure on Congress, the thing about a humanitarian crisis is that people watch it unfold on national television and they’re moved, and they’re moved to give money.  And maybe not in a way that, boy, it looks like there’s competition from the Chinese over U.S. oil interests in Africa is going to make people care, ergo lack of pressure, necessarily, on Congress.

WHITMAN:  Well, but let’s take the HIV/AIDS issue.  Sub-Saharan Africa has 10 percent of the world’s population, yet 60 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS.  And the majority of those—I think 26 million, isn’t it, Steve?

MORRISON:  Mm-hmm.  (In agreement.)

WHITMAN:  Twenty-six million people in Sub-Saharan Africa living with AIDS and the majority of them are women and girls.  That is a humanitarian crisis.  That is a crisis with which we’ve got to deal, but in doing so, what we really need to do is work on the health infrastructure of those countries to help them be able to take this on and see it through.

Now we’ve made enormous commitments in this country in recent years to HIV/AIDS.  I’m not sure—and we talked about this quite a bit on the task force and Bishop Ricard (ph) remembers these discussions—about whether Congress truly understands that this isn’t something you’re going to do for a couple of years.  You don’t get people on a maintenance program, you don’t put them on the drugs and then all of a sudden, after two or three years say, okay, well that’s that.  We’ve done it.  We’ve helped produce—made these people’s lives a little bit better for awhile.

And there’s a real strategic importance for us to consider, because there are many villages that are totally going to disappear because people are going to die from AIDS.  You have a whole generation now growing up where you have a substantial number of them are going to be orphans.  That is a huge humanitarian concern, but it’s also a strategic concern because that again is a population where those who want to encourage the kind of behavior that’s been so troubling to us and the terrorism behavior can find ready advocates if you provide them a home and some structure and security and tell them you’re going to help them when they have nobody left.

So you can combine the humanitarian with getting at some of the more long term issues that are—the strategic ones in which we need to engage.

O’BRIEN:  The perception of Africa as a charity case, I think if you were to poll, you know, 100 Americans walking down the street, 99 will say, Africa, well, that’s refugee camps, it’s children starving, it’s terrible drought, terrible famine, people dying, civil war, unrest, terror.  How do you change the image of Africa, because all those things that have been listed are really the way the pictures of Africa come to us here in this country?

LYMAN:  Well, I think one thing we try to say in the report is that you have to differentiate across the continent.  It isn’t one place and there are at least 15 or 16 countries in Africa that have been growing at over 5 percent a year economically, are making a lot of progress, are moving forward.  As Governor Whitman said, most governments in Africa are now elected.  If you look back 20 years ago, you would find less than you could count on one hand who are elected.

These kinds of changes have taken place and they don’t get publicized.  But I think also there is a difference between the humanitarian concern and considering Africa as a charity case, but that’s the danger.  But it’s a charity case when you respond to the immediate, the humanitarian, the crisis.  But you don’t make the long term investments, because you don’t have a, really, a basis for doing so.  And you don’t recognize the positive changes and the opportunities taking place on the continent so that you don’t even do the development side well.  You don’t even do the humanitarian programs as well as they could have been done if you say, wait a minute, this is a very diverse continent.  We have a whole range of interests here. 

Now let’s look at that humanitarian concern and see whether we are really doing it right in terms of the breadth of interest, in terms of the worry about terrorism and HIV/AIDS and growth and governance, et cetera.  And you look at it, basically, and you hopefully come up with better development programs.

O’BRIEN:  Let’s talk politics for a moment, if we can.

Steve, did the Clinton administration do enough?  Does the Bush administration do enough now?  Is there any sense that the debate in this country over sex education and the abstinence debate is somehow being reflected in how money is being spent in Africa?

MORRISON:  Well, on the question of Clinton administration, did they do enough?  And is the Bush administration doing enough?

What President Clinton did was cross a threshold of presidential White House engagement in Africa and demonstrate his ability to energize different departments and to win consent from Congress for expanded engagements in the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act.  The first initial step ups on HIV/AIDS and a number of other things.  This did not go unnoticed by the Bush White House that that type of leadership and engagement in Africa paid returns domestically.  That the survey look that was coming out of the United States was showing pretty positive response around this—around that question.

And so, much of the sort of game plan or the strategy that was pursued was carried forward.  There was quite a bit of continuity between the administrations.  On the question of the polarization around abstinence versus condoms, what we have seen in the last two years is a shift on the HIV (field ?) from the early euphoria around the startup of these mass programs when the White House came forward in January of 2003 State of the Union Address and the president said, we’re going to put U.S. foreign policy priority—we as a government are going to put 2 million people on life extending therapies for a disease which has no cure and no vaccine and none in sight.  That’s a pretty profound kind of commitment.

There was quite a bit of euphoria and bringing real money.  Moving into the billions and today we’re spending well over $3 billion a year towards that objective—mostly in Africa.  As we’ve moved into implementation, many of our own cultural tensions and combats around these issues have been translated into the Africa setting.  And we see quite a bit of combat right now around the—what would be seen as sort of a secular public health perspective versus a more morally based or religiously based perspective.

And there’s a danger that that polarization runs amok and damages the sort of pragmatic bipartisan centrist’s consent within Congress and within the American people that has allowed us to go from very limited resources flows to a very dramatic leadership position.  And the U.S. position—beginning with President Clinton and extending into President Bush—has catalyzed the global community.  Today there are over $8 billion flowing internationally towards HIV/AIDS, most of it going to Africa.  In the year 2000 it was under a billion.  That’s an eight-fold increase and you have to lay that back—the catalyzing global community—to White House leadership, which started with President Clinton and was carried forward by President Bush.

O’BRIEN:  To extend that, then, you’re calling for 22 billion next.

MORRISON:  Right.

O’BRIEN:  Another fourfold increase.  How do you get to that number?

MORRISON:  Well, we make the point in this—we make the sobering point in the report that even with the achievements that have been gained, this epidemic is outstripping them.  And when you look at, you know, you try to tabulate what the actual true demands are going to look like, we’ve made this major investment, we’re at the early point in trying to see the results and yet the prevention work is not stopping the spread.  And it’s growing and maturing as an epidemic so a much higher proportion of people expect to be put on treatment and are becoming symptomatic.  And it’s having the destabilizing consequences that Governor Whitman referenced in terms of families and societies and basic security.

And so we are saying, step back and get ready for a much higher demand on us as a country and on others looking out into the future.  We’re only at a very early point in this pandemic.  We’ve made bold steps forward, but we’re still playing catch-up.  And it’s a hard message to sell in the middle of huge budget deficits, demands from Iraq, demands from Katrina, tax cuts and the like.  It’s a hard argument to say, okay, we’re moving to 3.2, 3.4 billion, but that’s only really a fraction.  Many others have to be brought to the table at the same time.

WHITMAN:  That point of Steve’s is very important, which is—and it’s outlined in the report quite a bit—the need for the United States to be a leader in engaging the rest of the world, whether it’s the United Nations in coming into the fore and playing a more active role or whether it’s the European Union and other countries to help share this burden. 

It is—we recognize—the task force recognized that these are tight budget times with a lot of competition for money and that’s why the effort to broaden the strategic perception of the importance of Africa beyond just humanitarian to say, no, there are some real, long term reasons to be engaged, to make this kind of investment.  It’s in our best interest to do this over the long term.

But we also, and the report points this out, need to make sure we do an even better job of engaging the rest of the world in this because we can’t carry it all ourselves.  We won’t.  I mean, the political will over time is not – we’re practical.  We understand that.  We’re not going to be able to fund it all ourselves.  We can’t expect that.

O’BRIEN:   I think the report also really makes clear this sense of or this model of Africa as a partner, not this paternalistic, we see the problem—here we’re going to give our solutions and fix your problem over there.  So given that, how much involvement in this report was African?

LYMAN:  Well, directly, not as much as we would have liked.  We have African members of the International Advisory Council here at the Council on Foreign Relations who were involved from the beginning in critiquing both the outline and later the report.  And we’ve had a number of discussions with a number of other African leaders about it.  But the report is basically a product of a task force of Americans looking at American foreign policy.

Now we want to engage more Africans on this report, get more of their reactions to it.  But I will say that a number of talks that I’ve had on this, the idea of moving away from charity and treating Africa—taking account of what they’re doing, the initiatives they’re making, the progress they’re making, treating them as partners, resonates extremely well.

O’BRIEN:  If the goal is to stop being reaction and start being proactive—stop being reactive in the humanitarian sense and start being proactive in sort of the strategic sense, give me the first step.  What do you do? What’s the first two steps?  Where do you put the resources?

LYMAN:   Well, I think there are two things—one is, of course, it’s important to have this recognition and to have it articulated both with the Congress and with the public.  You talked earlier about the importance—and governor Whitman did too—about the importance of the public seeing Africa in this broader way and how important it is for the United States to be engaged in this way.

Second, not all the steps are resources that we’re asking for in this report.  We are, for example, suggesting that we have a U.S.-Africa energy forum to deal with the Africans over a wide variety of problems in energy—the use of energy proceeds so it goes to the people who really should benefit, energy security and a range of other issues and pay attention to the countries that are becoming major producers.

We also talk about prioritizing in the foreign aid program for some of the key long term areas where the U.S. has strengths like agriculture, like education, like science and technology.  So this isn’t all just asking for more resources.  On the contrary, it’s focusing more and using a variety of instruments to engage Africa on these very—various issues.

O’BRIEN:  Talk about corruption—and I think it covers a little bit of what we talked about with the criminal element and the hostage takers.  But how do you – you’re not going to get investment in the same way if you don’t do that—how to stave off corruption and Africa, like a lot of places, has a lot of corruption.

WHITMAN:  Well, corruption is clearly an issue and it’s clearly a challenge, but we’re also seeing much more engagement and focus on the issue of corruption by the African governments themselves.  And there have been commitments with them and as I mentioned earlier, the MCA—you can’t get into that program, you won’t be considered for the grants for a compact if you don’t meet the corruption standards and that’s the basic one.  If you fall below the standards on corruption and a just government, then you can’t be part of it and that’s affecting behavior.

We’re already seeing some countries that have wanted to come in and compete for the monies, say, that they recognize now that they won’t because they fail on this indicator and have started to put some money into educating their judiciary.  And we’d provide some early monies for them, if that’s the kind of thing they want to do.  They won’t be able to be part of a formal compact necessarily, but we have early monies that we can give them to focus on those kinds of things—to enhance their legal system, revamp their constitutions, and educate their judiciary, provide the kind of internal security that they might need where they see the need.

And so again, we need to encourage what’s already happening domestically in these countries.  And we need to let them know that it’s important, that we believe it’s important.  And the rest of the world needs to let them know that it’s important because, again, the issues here are going to be how do we all—this is a big continent, and the sub-Sahara is a big area with a lot of potential for growth.  But as you point out, people don’t want to invest if they don’t know their investment’s going to be safe.  And it’s in everyone’s best interest—we have to help everyone understand that it’s in their best interest to address this issue up front.

And that’s an area where we have some very good technology.  So do some of the other countries in Europe and around the world.  And we need to all be part of that effort because at the end of the day, we’ll all be better off if you can start to bring that kind of thing under control, that corruption.

MORRISON:  Can I just add something to that?  I think it’s very important that we acknowledge where there’s been significant progress.  South Africa and Botswana continue to be rated among the highest in terms of transparency in business practices.  And the constraints in South Africa are not corruption; they’re questions of skill, they’re questions of court facilities and infrastructure and the like that are constraining growth.  It’s not corruption.  That’s the single most important economy.

The Nigerians, under President Obasanjo And Minister of Finance Ngozi, have made a pretty serious run at curbing some of the grand corruption that emanates through the Nigerian economy, and this is because of the oil there.  You know, they’re expensing an avalanche of cash flowing through their system now.  So you’ve got that progress.

It’s also important to step back and acknowledge, as we try to paint in this, that there is grand corruption, particularly in the oil bunkering.  There are oil theft schemes coming out of the Niger Delta that are pretty mind-boggling, which are stealing somewhere between 70 (thousand)—and depending on where you are in the cycle, somewhere between 70 (thousand) and 300,000 barrels a day.  That is a grand enterprise—(laughter)—and it is moving a lot of weapons, and it’s moving a lot of stolen product, and it’s doing a lot of money laundering, and it’s creating all sorts of side effects across the region as a whole, and within the shipping industry and the like.  And these recently kidnapped four Shell employees down in the Niger Delta, a direct outgrowth in terms of the increased lethality of those armed insurgents, their ability to push back and stand off the navy and the armed—army units and the like.

People are beginning to see the need for a concerted multilateral effort to push back on this.  This is a world-scale form of corruption, and it’s exceedingly dangerous.  There’s a greater consciousness of that, and we try to put a focus on that as well.

O’BRIEN:  Let’s talk about the Sudan for a minute—Darfur specifically, where the situation, we all know, is deteriorating.  Fifty million dollars—for some reason I can’t quite figure out, Congress has declined to sustain the African Union force of 6,000 or so soldiers, from my understanding.  So what’s the appropriate role for the military, outside military, at this point?

LYMAN:  Well, I think on Darfur, which is a very, very difficult situation, the Africans took the lead and have provided close to 7,000 peacekeepers, partly because Sudan said they would not accept any other peacekeepers than Africans.  But what we see in this ongoing situation is that there isn’t sufficient troop strength, isn’t a strong enough mandate, isn’t enough equipment, for the Africans to sustain this and do it as well as it needs to be done.  People are still being attacked, people are still very vulnerable, and the political negotiations are dragging on.

We recommend in the report, and we see now movement on this within the African Union and with the administration, that the African Union can’t handle this alone; that they have to be supplemented by the U.N. or by a coalition authorized by the U.N. to increase that force substantially.  The Africans who are there need more support.  Roughly two-thirds of the support they’re getting is from the European Union.  We’ve been providing a lot of support as well, but as you said, $50 million that was supposed to be in the budget disappeared.  Now the administration is scrambling to find that money elsewhere.

But it’s a crisis that we can’t allow to just keep dragging on.  And I think much more action needs to be taken, probably by the U.N., to add on.  The African Union has to come to the U.N., and they have to convince the Sudanese that there have to be more than African troops on the ground.

O’BRIEN:  Let’s open this up to questions from our audience, if we can.  I’d like to ask you to please stand.  A microphone will come to you.  Give your name and your affiliation as well.  And if you have a person you’re directing your question to as well, that would be great to know.

QUESTIONER:  I’d like to ask Governor Whitman this question.  It’s always been strange to me that with a large African-American minority in this country, we seem to have a thinner press for Africa and its concerns than from other parts of the world.  What would you like to be in a position to tell the American public as a political leader, and summarizing perhaps what you’ve already said, as to why we should be more concerned about Africa; why our self-interest and its interests are interconnected?  In their roles as educators, what should politicians be telling us about all this?

O’BRIEN:  Before I let you answer, I’m going to ask you to give us your name.

QUESTIONER:  Donald Shriver of Union Theological Seminary.

O’BRIEN:  Thank you, sir.

WHITMAN:  Well, first of all, I think we do a lousy job of communicating what’s going on in the rest of the world in general.  (Scattered laughter.)  I mean, Africa isn’t the only place where we don’t spend enough time and don’t educate our population well enough.

But for Africa, I would say essentially what we’ve been saying up here, is there are some very real strategic interests that we have in Africa.  One is energy; an enormous issue for us.  We’re trying daily to figure out new ways to reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East.  This is another way to do it.  We’re very reluctant to do a whole lot of exploration here, so without serious commitment to conservation, we’re going to still have to—need to import some.  So that’s certainly one of the areas.

We have the issue of terrorism.  It is a real issue.  It is becoming a place where terrorists are finding that they are able to operate and they’re able to recruit, and that hurts us all over the world.  And not just the United States, but the rest of the world.  There are some real potential positive business upsides that we see countries and international companies wanting to engage in, and we need to understand that and see how we can help ensure that there’s a level playing field, there’s a transparency, there are rules of law that apply—that apply to everyone.

And we need to help the American people understand that this—while we will continue to engage in the humanitarian response to crises, and we always should, we have long-term interests.  And if you take that one of health—there are a lot of people here who are very concerned about the spread of avian flu—it would argue that we need to get more involved with African countries in helping them develop their health systems so that they are in a position, a better position, to deal with these issues themselves.

And so we do – we’re spending now, Princeton was saying, about a billion dollars.  We average about a billion dollars a year in aid to Africa.  That’s substantial money.  And the president has called for a lot more money to be spent over time.  And if MCA ever gets its full budgeting, it would be $5 billion a year.  More than 50 percent is supposed to go to Africa of that.

So we’re spending a great deal of money.  I think it’s in all of our best interests to ensure that our money is being spent wisely and well and focused on the issues that are going to make a positive difference for us long-term so we can start to reduce that kind of aid.

O’BRIEN:  Right here.

QUESTIONER:  John Beatty (sp) from UBS.  This is for Governor Whitman.

WHITMAN:  Now don’t forget these other two.

QUESTIONER:  Oh, no, no!  (Laughs.)  I’m coming to them.

WHITMAN:  They know what they’re talking about.  They’re the experts.

QUESTIONER:  The Millennium Challenge Account that you just mentioned right now only deals with sovereign governments.  And I think we could all agree that there are certain things that the private sector is better doing than governmental institutions, and conversely there are certain things that governmental institutions are better doing than the private sector.

Now I think if you agree with me on this point, does it not make sense for the Millennium Challenge Account to provide grants or low-cost financing to businesses in Africa to develop, similar to what OPEC does with U.S. businesses investing overseas?

WHITMAN:  Well, don’t forget the congressional mandate, as it set up the MCC and the MCA, was to encourage economic growth of the countries themselves, and it was directed to work through the governments.  The purpose here was to make it self-sustaining, to help those governments become self-sustaining.

One of the requirements in developing the proposal for a compact is that you engage the private sector; that you engage the NGO community.  The recommendations for programs—and Princeton and Steve both have talked about infrastructure needs that we have often overlooked in Africa, that—the Chinese, particularly, are giving money for roads.  The compacts now that MCA is approving, many of them are focused on things like roads and bringing products to market.  But they also focus on one of the—one of the criteria that we look at and measure it days it takes to get a business up and running.  And—because you know if it’s going to take you 64 days or if it’s going to take you six months, that it’s – that’s a drag on your ability to grow economically.

So while the monies don’t go directly to individual businesses—and part of the reason for that, beside the way Congress set it up, is also the difficulty in overseeing that and making sure that you know the money of an individual business is being spent the way you want it to be spent and reaching it to alleviate poverty—to increase economic growth and alleviate poverty.

And so there is a stricture within our challenge—of the Millennium Challenge Account to ensure that the money is going to help the poorest of the poor, and it is going to make a substantial difference in the economic life in the people of that country.  And so we do it through the g

governments for that reason, but we require them—as I say, one of the focuses on how long does it take to get a business up and running, transparency of the process of laws, enhancing the legal system in the countries, making it easier for businesses to get up and make an investment and make a difference, and also that the focus on helping people help themselves, and requiring that NGOs and the business sector be part of the whole discussion in putting together the compact proposal and then in the implementation.  And there’ll be people, staff from the MCA, that will be in-country to help oversee and ensure that this is happening.

O’BRIEN:  There’s a question right behind that gentleman.

QUESTIONER:  Thank you.  Elisa Westfield from Debevoise & Plimpton.  And my question is for Ambassador Lyman and for you, Soledad.

Ambassador Lyman, you did mention as a next step public awareness is very important.  And I wanted to know—I haven’t unfortunately had an opportunity to read the entire task force report—but whether serious consideration has been given to formulating strategic partnerships with major news organizations such as yours, Soledad, and others, and whether there’s real-time process, you know, in thinking of whether or not these will actually be effective ways to change how people think about Africa.

LYMAN:  Well, what we are trying to do is to take this report out across the country before a number of constituencies—religious, business, world affairs councils, health groups, et cetera.  But frankly, I hadn’t thought about partnerships with media organizations.  It’s an interesting idea, and maybe Soledad would have—(chuckles)—have better insight into that.

O’BRIEN:  You say real time, and I think actually we would rely on a report like this and specifically this report as well to shape and think about our coverage.  Certainly there’s a lot of things that came up in the discussion that I think effect how, frankly, we see Africa and we see Africans.  And so—and we see Congress and pressure we can put on Congress.

So from that perspective, that would shape our coverage.  But real time, no, I don’t think specifically tomorrow.  I think these are all things to watch and do stories on and follow.  It’s a great road map for all these areas that are, to some degree, question marks.  But with a lot of optimism and a lot of hope and with sort of the right push behind them—you know, our stories—and that’s what we do, is tell stories about things that change.  So I see it as a great road map for us.

Let’s bring the mike up here to the front a little bit, right here.

QUESTIONER:  Thank you.  Joanna Weschler with Security Council Report, and I will have a question—I will make you happy, Soledad; I will ask the experts a question—(laughter)—about a place that is not a humanitarian crisis at this moment, but it has a chance to become full-blown conflict place, which is the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

It’s a place which for several years has been essentially ignored by the U.S. until about two weeks ago, when the United States has literally asked the Security Council to freeze, ask for I think 30 days, and has sent the Assistant Secretary of State Frazer to the area.  Would you say what is the best-case scenario?  I mean, what can the U.S. accomplish in that place?  And what is most realistic scenario?

LYMAN:  Well, you’ve put your finger on one of the areas that we cited in the report as needing very special attention because in a chapter on conflict, we talk about that as one of the more threatening areas.  And what we can see in the visit of Assistant Secretary Frazer is how difficult it is to have influence on this situation.

You have a strange situation where the Eritreans in the way are in the right, but they don’t want to talk to anybody.  And it makes it very difficult to do things.  We’re also—this is also taking place in which there is a political crisis going on within Ethiopia itself.

And I think there’s some lessons here.  One is we don’t have the influence we often think we do.  I mean, we are major providers of assistance—and I have to say, when I was talking to Governor Whitman before, talking about a billion dollars, if you add in HIV/AIDS and others, it more closer to 3 billion (dollars) a year, and even then, in this kind of a situation, it’s difficult.

However, I think this kind of situation is one—because it does affect our whole counter terrorism program throughout the Horn—where now we have to begin to put a lot of high-level attention on it.  That means helping Ethiopia work through this crisis and deal with the land demarcation issue, which is at the source of the problem.

But I also think we need to find a way to reach out to the Eritreans and start a dialogue with the Eritreans because without that kind of a dialogue, it’s extremely difficult to deal with this issue.  I know it was done before in the first war.  The United States along with Algeria and others played an important role in bringing it to a close.  We’ve got to develop that kind of an international focus again.  And it won’t be easy, but you’re absolutely right that it’s critical, and it’s very important for us for a lot of reasons.

MORRISON:  Can I just add one thing?

O’BRIEN:  Mm-hmm.

MORRISON:  China is a very important player in this.  We’ve not dialogued much with China on this, even though it’s now on the Security Council agenda.  It’s going to be revisited in February and there’s a follow-on to the resolution that was passed in December.  It’s an exceedingly dangerous situation.  Both sides have mobilized at a high level.  We know when the war was tripped in 1998, mid-1998, it was—it was tripped by a few incidents along the Badme area, and the next thing you knew it was the hottest conventional war in the world, and over 140,000 people perished in a fairly quick space of time.

The U.S. diplomacy is late in arriving on this at a high level.  Everyone’s late in arriving to diplomacy in this situation.  The U.K., the EU and the World Bank have all put pretty significant strictures on their aid.  The U.S. has begun limiting its assistance to some degree.  But most of what we do in terms of Ethiopia, the 800 million (dollars) that we transfer each year to Ethiopia, a good 500 million (dollars) of that is emergency humanitarian aid, which is not – we’re not going to manipulate.

But there’s a lot of anxiety around the question of whether we’re going to see a return to war and what’s the strategy going to be, and right now it’s hard to see a unified multilateral strategy.  You’re seeing the U.K., you know, take a step one week, the World Bank take another step, and this diplomacy turned out to be a bit perilous as well because it—basically the door was shut in Jendayi’s face.  And you know, where does that leave you as far as your next play?

O’BRIEN:  We’re going to get to that question in the far back in one moment.

Let me read an e-mailed question from Professor Michael Dorsey at Dartmouth.  He says:

“Certainly multilateral institutions have a role to play in the U.S. approach.  What will be the future role of the World Bank, given that Mr. Wolfowitz is on the cover of today’s FT, arguing that the bank is suffering from corruption?”  (Laughter.)

“Has bank lending in Africa aided and abetted some of the cases of corruption that you’re all highlighting?  Should the bank’s role be lessened until it can be fixed, if it’s actually broken as Wolfowitz claims?”

LYMAN:  Well, it’s interesting that Paul Wolfowitz when he came in made Africa a top priority for the World Bank, and we say in the report that it’s an opportunity to try and bring more cohesion into the total of foreign aid going to Africa.  It’s very hard to do.  Every donor has its own way of operating, et cetera.  But the World Bank has in the past and should be encouraged in the future to help allocate between donors on infrastructure, on health and other things, and they have an important role to play.

Corruption is a serious problem, and when you see that in the bank—we have to be aware corruption is a two-way street.  When countries in Africa start addressing corruption – let’s take Lesotho.  They have filed cases against companies in Britain, in Belgium.  The Nigerians are investigating an American company.  So corruption is a problem that is involved in a lot of different institutions.  And I think it’s very unfortunate that the bank is facing this crisis, but we need the bank out in front on Africa.  We need them not only because of the resources; because it’s one of the only institutions that can bring some cohesion out of all the donor programs.

O’BRIEN:  Question in the way back.

QUESTIONER:  Martin Bugwah (ph), correspondent for the Standard in Kenya.  I have three questions, so maybe we can spread them—(laughter)—from my right to the left.

How different is this proposal from the SAPs and the endless list of programs and proposals that have been hoisted in Africa over the decades with no results?  I mean, how different is this, and how can you make it work if none of that worked?

Second question:  In the section where you discuss education, there’s talk about promoting what used to be cross-cultural education opportunities in the United States.  Have you considered the brain drain towards the West, which, if reversed, would leave a lot of expertise and great human resources on the continent and, therefore, create better partners? 

And finally, there’s a section where you talk about zero tax and repatriated profits.  When you consider that most governments are now democratic, it means that there are a lot more questions being asked in parliaments and other institutions in Africa.  And this to me would sound like a tripwire.  Someone would say, “Why do you want the zero-tax money leaving our countries?”  And you’re likely to run into problems that way with people who, you know, would question whether you really have their interests in mind. 

O’BRIEN:  Great.  Let’s start with question one.  Governor Whitman.

WHITMAN:  Well, I’ll start with question one, yes, and toss the others.     

I think you’ll find what we certainly felt—and again, there are some other members of the task force here—that this makes this—sets it aside.  And we recognize that there are a lot of reports; there’s a lot of focus.  We’ve seen a lot of this happen before.  What we tried to do in this report was to remind people, or really to bring their awareness for the first time, is we’re talking about partnerships with Africa.  This isn’t us sitting here saying, “We”—as we said before, “We know your problem and we’re here to solve it for you.”  It is to recognize that we can’t do that, and it is never going to work if we don’t proactively engage the African governments themselves and move beyond what we’ve been doing in the past, which is responding to humanitarian crises that have engaged everyone’s attention.  They attract attention.  They attract viewers on television.  They look awful.  People get all kinds of upset.  But it creates a mind-set that says to you Africa is a continent of need—period, the end.  And it doesn’t go beyond that.  It doesn’t recognize that no, there’s—there are very cultured people there; there are long histories there of governance; there are people who are working hard to make their countries work.  There’s been a lot of improvement.  There’s business.  There’s economic growth going on in that part of the world.  And we need to take advantage of those things and work in a concerted way, not only with the other European countries, the other countries that have an interest, an economic interest and other interests in Africa, but with the African governments themselves. 

And also, one of the strong recommendations that we made is some of the steps that you see actually the secretary of State begin to take last week, which is starting to bring some cohesion to all the programs, the aid programs that the United States administers today.  They are spread out all over the place.  Now the secretary has said—Condi has said she’s not trying to take away programs from other parts of the federal government because they got spread out even outside of State Department and USAID.  But she certainly is trying to concentrate those programs that she can get that are within the State Department under AID so there is a lot more cohesiveness there.  And that’s something that we called for in the report. 

And again, I think that—the specific recommendations make it different, but I think that the underlying difference between this report and many of the others is the fact that there’s a recognition of the Africans as partners in this endeavor, that that’s the only way it is really going to work.  And it can’t just be seen as the benevolent, rich, older brother coming in to help.

O’BRIEN:  How about the brain drain issue?

MORRISON:  The brain drain issue, you know, hasn’t—affects a bunch of different sectors, and it’s been ongoing for some time with very differential impacts.  There’s a lot of internal migration certainly towards growth centers like (South Africa ?).  When you look at the health sector, this has been a topic of a lot of discussion and a lot of very good analysis in the last year or two that’s quite sobering.  And you’ve got a lot of commercial recruitment into Western Europe and North America and Australia and elsewhere of newly trained skilled labor in the health sector.  How do you begin to reverse that?  It’s very hard, we’re discovering.  And one of the arguments that’s put forward in the report is we have to put a lot more attention on conditions of service and retention programs within the governments and within the countries themselves, because we’re seeing a lot of the training facilities that are being put in place to meet this rapidly rising demand for health professionals.  A lot of those programs are—their graduates are just getting picked off at a very high rate—at, you know, 50 percent or higher per annum getting recruited out.  And there needs to be a much bigger focus on that.

LYMAN:  On the question of how to promote private investments, we made a number of possible suggestions, including the one you mentioned on taxes.  African governments are experimenting with a number of things—free trade zone, export processing zones, tax havens, tax forgiveness, et cetera—and there’s a variety of ways of encouraging private investment.  We were looking at ways in which the United States could encourage more American investment for the reasons we’ve talked about:  the importance of growth there and the importance of—upgrade our engagement.  But that’s one idea among many.  And it could create the kind of controversy you’ve mentioned, but on the other hand, African governments are themselves looking at tax holidays, et cetera, to promote foreign investment.      

O’BRIEN:  Okay, we have a number of hands up and we don’t have a lot of time.  So what I’m going to do is ask everybody to keep their questions as short as possible.  We’ll try to get those answers in, and we’ll try to get to everybody, or at least as many people as possible.  Raise your hand and we’ll bring a microphone to you. 

Do you have one right here?  

QUESTIONER:  Hi, Lane Greene (sp) with The Economist magazine.  I’ll keep it very brief. 

What’s wrong with the MCA, and where’s the money?   There’s been a lot of talk about – I’m a big fan of the idea, the innovative approach—giving money to the countries that perform best.  So where is it?  

WHITMAN:  It’s a very fair question.  Obviously it’s—a charge has been leveled against MCA a lot as the money has been slow in getting out.  But I will tell you, when you are targeting the poorest of the poor countries and you have the kind of criteria that MCA has that’s built into its requirements, it’s going to take a while to do it right.  You don’t need – it’s easy to give money out.  You can give it out without a problem.  There are always people who are willing to take money.  But when you have the kind of pre-selection process they have to go through, when you require these governments to engage the private sector, to engage the NGO community, it takes a while.  Having said that, could it have done it faster?  Probably.  And as you know, there have been some changes at MCA.  There are a couple more compacts—two more, three more that are going to be coming out rapidly. 

But I really do argue with a number of people to say it’s something that you can’t expect—if you’re changing the way you do foreign aid, and that’s supposed to be a change agent, and it is going at the—to the countries that have some of the biggest challenges ahead of them to be able to meet the criteria, it’s going to take a while.  Now there is the pre-money that’s being given out that will help them meet it—i.e., help them meet the corruption standards, those kinds of things, get their rating up so that then they can qualify for actual compact status.  But it’s moving more rapidly now.  There’s a big focus.  It was very thin on Africa to begin with.  The first couple of compacts were not in Africa.  There is an understanding there that, of course, that’s part of our mission.  And part of our charge, too, was to be more than 50 percent in Africa, and so there’s a great deal more focus on that now—and a real effort to move it out, but to do it in a way that doesn’t lend us to coming to five years from now saying corruption is rampant in the MCA challenge account monies and programs.  And this is—because it is so new, because it does involve some of the biggest challenges and hurdles to governments to qualify, it’s going to take a little longer.  But as I say, there’ve been some changes and redirection. 

Of course, now the challenge is to get Congress to authorize the full amount of money.  We could easily spend the 2 billion (dollars) that we have without turning around that could go.  The purpose here was to get 5 billion (dollars) annually to be able to spread it through these programs, and that’s going to be a real challenge to get Congress to do it, and we need to get their support.      

O’BRIEN:  Right here.

QUESTIONER:  I’m Roma Stibravy, U.N. NGO Committee on Sustainable Development.  And I want to make two points:  one is we have Ellen Sirleaf Johnson (sic) as the new president of Liberia.  I have worked with her at the U.N.  She is not corrupted.  She’s an outstanding banker, is a wonderful individual.  And I think the United States policy should be to give her as much support as possible because of whom she is but also because the country has such great needs.  And we should more than congratulate her because this is the second time she ran.  First time she lost to that Charles Taylor.  So she really had something—she learned something, and we’re very. 

The second thing is that in terms of energy, you’re talking about developing the oil industry in Africa, and you know that has been such a curse.  And there are many countries in Africa who do not have oil.  So it seems to me that we should be concentrating much more on renewable energy and building up the hydro and wind energy, the solar energy – they’re so rich in solar—and there should be perhaps more emphasis on renewable energy, which will not bring controversy, won’t (bring ?) terrorism.      

O’BRIEN:  Did you have a question for someone?  (Laughter.) 

QUESTIONER:  No, I said when I started my statement—

O’BRIEN:  Okay.  (Laughs.)  That’s all right.  Thank you.  Appreciate that. 

Let’s – we’ll get to you next.  Let’s get someone in the back.  There’s someone right here.  This lady right there—perfect.   

QUESTIONER:  This is directed towards Dr. Morrison and the governor.  I’m Dr.—(name inaudible)—physician.  I’m at Human Rights Watch. 

So with regards to your comment, Governor, on the fact that HIV is a humanitarian crisis, I would just want to challenge that slightly and say beyond that, it’s a human rights crisis.  And in terms of public engagement, with the HIV affecting so many women and girls, it’s clear that there is a—what we call the feminization of HIV.  And then when engaging the public, one of the ways to move away from the charity—the charitable approach is surely to engage with the recognition that human rights are universal, which is possibly a far more effective way to engage the American public.

WHITMAN:  Yeah, I don’t disagree with you in that.  In fact, the report does touch on that. 

QUESTIONER:  And then my comment—

WHITMAN:  (Inaudible.)

QUESTIONER:  Sorry.  Thank you.  My question, then, is, bearing that in mind, when it comes to stopping the spread of HIV, prevention, we know, does not work.  It hasn’t worked for 20 years; it won’t work in this environment where women don’t have any control over their sexual choices in this environment of gender inequity.  We know that treatment stops the spread of disease because it lowers the viral load.  So should we not be directing a whole lot more money towards treatment, acknowledging—and taking a very pragmatic approach—that prevention will not work in this ongoing environment of gender inequity?  Has anyone done a cost analysis of how that might work and how might that slow the spread of disease?

WHITMAN:  Do you want to take that one?

MORRISON:  I think you could probably argue the opposite to what you—to reach your same objective.  I mean, the gender dimensions that account for 60 percent of new infections in Africa being among young women and girls are so, you know, structural and so formidable that unless you take them on, the epidemic is just going to continue to grow.  So you have to actually accelerate and elevate the priority attached to your prevention programs with a very strong focus on the generalized epidemics in Southern and Eastern Africa, with a very strong focus on reducing those inequities and the acute vulnerabilities that girls and women face.  And I think there’s been a shift conceptually, certainly within the U.S. government and within the broader donor community and among implementing governments and nongovernmental groups to acknowledge this—rhetorically at least and conceptually—to acknowledge the reality of gender that underlies the spread of the—the relentless spread of this pandemic. 

What’s been more difficult is figuring out operationally how to take dollars and put them against targets in order to protect young women and girls and give them control over their sexuality.  A lot of the technologies that are in development right now—microbicides and other things—are not yet at the marketplace.  The resistance to many of these things, the retribution and violence is expensive.  It’s not easy.  I think we’ve come to appreciate just how hard this is.  But people are at least now admitting the reality, which has been a big step forward.

O’BRIEN:  Question right over here. 

QUESTIONER:  Pamela Peters, producer and host to the (Lifestyle TV show “Our Planet:  Mainstream Sustainable Development” ?).  I (had ?) a question (that ?) would like to unite the voices of two women.  You said USA needs to be a leader in engaging the rest of the world.  That was your voice.  I had the chance to interview Nobel Prize for peace from Kenya, Wangari Maathai, and she had another voice.  She says Africa is very wealthy; it’s our image—and there, Mr. (Lyman ?), that’s where you come in as well—the image of Africa is wrong.  Africa is extremely wealthy with natural resources.  The lack of Africa is actually, however, in their negotiation power; that is their main issue, amongst other ones. 

How can America actually, then, become that leader in engaging the rest of the world in helping Africa to increase their negotiation power and keep a part of that wealth, that amazing wealth for themselves?   

LYMAN:  You know, one of the interesting things is that Africa is exerting its negotiating power right now in the World Trade Organization.  Africa and other developing countries—this is something we deal with in the report—are saying that we are not going to have a success in the Doha Round of negotiations—which is important to the United States and the Europeans in a kind of large way economically—unless there are changes in the way Africans are blocked out of agricultural market export in Europe and the United States.  And by keeping their votes together and working with others, they have made slow but steady progress on this issue, and it’s a good example.  Now the United States has in some ways engaged with the Africans on this issue vis-a-vis the Europeans, because the European subsidies are, if anything, worse than ours, and it’s an interesting byplay that’s going on.  But it’s an example, I think, of Africans coming together and using their negotiating power where they have it. 

I think the other places where Africans want to have more negotiating influence is in such institutions as the World Bank and the IMF.  That’s trickier.  But I think the type of programs that are becoming, at least in large—to some extent—more partnership programs—the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, the kind of compacts that people are talking about with the Millennium Challenge Account—are at least opening some doors in that regard.  You still have a very unequal relationship, but—

O’BRIEN:  This gentleman back there.  And then we’ll take you next, sir.

QUESTIONER:  Joel Cohen, Rockefeller and Columbia universities, New York City.  In 1950, Africa had approximately one-third of the population of Europe.  According to the U.N. projections, in 2050, Africa will have three times the population of Europe, an order-of-magnitude change in the relationship.  Does the report address the consequences of such a massive demographic shift? 

LYMAN:  Well, I’m glad you mentioned that.  (Laughs.)  Yes, the report very specifically says that one of the areas we have not given consistent attention to as we used to is the whole question of population and demographics.  And we cite figures of countries that we look at as countries facing famine at the same time with very rapidly growing populations—Ethiopia is one, Niger, which we all saw as a country of famine last year.  And population programs have sort of fallen out of favor in the United States.  We argue very strongly in the report that they must again assume a higher priority. 

O’BRIEN:  Question—this gentleman right here.  Then we’re going to get one final question. 

QUESTIONER:  Lester Wigler, Citigroup Smith Barney.  I want to direct this question to Dr. Morrison and Ambassador Lyman.

Implementation of a strategy in a world of scarce resources requires prioritization.  I was wondering if you could both comment on the priorities that should be exerted here.

MORRISON:  Shall I start?

LYMAN:  Yeah.

MORRISON:  You know, we make the argument that there’s some new dimensions that need to be factored into a strategy, that you begin with those.  We have to – we’re arguing for really a geopolitical shift towards the Gulf of Guinea, that we’re now moving towards a dramatic dependence upon this sector.  It’s ungoverned maritime space.  We’re going to be 25 percent dependent on that sector.  We need a strategy within our government.  We need leadership.  We need an energy forum.  We need a much stronger presence within the region.  We need an anti-crime strategy and a strategy of engagement on building maritime security.  That’s new and different.  That’s a priority. 

When we talk about terrorism, we talk about the ways in which it’s concentrated in Africa in the Horn, in northern Nigeria, in South Africa, and we say look, there’s been some major achievements made in these areas, but we need to do much better.  We don’t have a diplomatic oversight and coherent drive behind this.  This is really dominated up to now by the commands and by intelligence operations.  It’s had some adverse side effects.  It’s had some major gains.  We need to graduate into a higher level of engagement.  That’s one – that’s a second priority. 

The third (on China ?), I’ll let Princeton touch on that. 

On HIV, what we’ve said is dramatic gains of U.S. leadership, but when you step back for a moment, the message that needs to be conveyed to the American public and others is that this is much bigger and more daunting than what we had appreciated just a few years back, and we need a strategy that takes that reality into full account and starts speaking very forcefully and truthfully about really what is going to be required.  Those are three priority areas that I think jump out at you from this report.

LYMAN:  This was the most difficult issue we faced in the task force.  We argued over it a long time because people want priorities; they want one, two, three.  And it’s very hard to look across a continent as big as Africa with 48 different countries in sub-Saharan Africa and say it’s going to be one, two, three.  But what we have tried to say, as Steve was saying—within each sector, what are the things that need to be done, and to where—where can we look to others to take leadership?  We point out where Africans have taken leadership in some of the conflict situations not requiring the same degree of heavy involvement by the United States.  Burundi is a case in point.  We’ve talked about where the Europeans can do more on health infrastructure, because it’s an area they (do ?) and are willing to do more than we have in our program, or in other cases.  So we’ve tried to meet the variety of issues, but within each sector to say look, here’s where the U.S. has special capabilities and responsibilities, here’s where we should be looking to others to take more of the lead.

O’BRIEN:  We’re out of time, and I know that there will be an opportunity to chat for a few minutes maybe afterwards if any one who’s—can stick around for those of you who didn’t have your questions answered. 

I want to thank you—a big thank you to our panel.  (Applause.)  Ambassador Lyman, Governor Whitman, thank you very much. 

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