Africa is of strategic and economic importance to the United States, and will require sufficient attention from the winner of the 2012 U.S. presidential election, says CFR’s John Campbell. "It’s going to be important for a new administration to make room for African issues on the bilateral agendas it has with other countries," he says.
The more than fifty independent sub-Saharan African states are an extremely important bloc, each of which has a vote of equal weight to that of the United States in the UN General Assembly or in the World Trade Organization, Campbell emphasizes.
As a major zone of conflict, Africa has been the recipient of substantial U.S. humanitarian aid and a primary beneficiary of U.S.-sponsored peacekeeping missions, Campbell says. It is also critical to prioritize Africa when dealing with issues such as global health and international terrorism, he says.
Nigeria, with its large oil deposits and large population, and South Africa, which has the continent’s most developed economy, are of particular strategic importance to the United States, he notes. Any new administration will have to manage its relationship with these two countries, which are often rivals, "in a way that does not turn into a zero-sum game," says Campbell.
This video is part of Campaign 2012, a series of video briefings on the top foreign policy issues debated in the run-up to the 2012 elections.