Saturday, February 18, 2017

 Amb. Sanders' Comments on Key Role of White NCS Senior Africa Position

Also see: Allafrica.com compendium article on same issue, which includes a Sanders quote: http://allafrica.com/stories/201702120101.html

Overall there has not been much news on President Trump’s Africa policy and all of us who are Africa hands, who care about the Continent, and who  have worked on Sub Saharan Africa issues over the years have for the most part been pleased that the region in recent years has been a policy area of important bipartisanship, especially legislatively on things like AGOA, and better partnership engagement in a range of areas from business to development - all expanding and extending with signature programs like PREPFAR (HIVAIDS) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in earnest under President George W. Bush, with President Clinton in his second term opening the door with his six-nation tour of the region in 1998.

Right now, the US is losing out big time in the region to China on all fronts, particularly as Africa becomes the largest market for goods and services (hello US Rust Belt!) and business opportunities on top of becoming home to the world’s largest working age population.  Thus, whoever ends up leading the Africa Directorate at the National Security Council (NSC), where I served as a Director, as well as have many other esteemed Africa experts, will need to know the region well not only politically and economically, but be more than mindful of how important the role of culture, mutual understanding and respect are in building the right kind of relationship with the region, its leaders, its business community, and its burgeoning young population - in addition to realizing and taking advantage of the enormous business potential of Sub Saharan Africa. We would be making a mistake and losing out even more to China in the region if we boil our engagement down to harking back to the 1960s and Cold War days of seeing Africa solely through a military lens. Make no mistake, however, that Africa will also be a good partner on the fight against terrorism, but that should not become the only center of our relationship with this dynamic and important region of 1.1 billion people. Thus, whoever is appointed the new NSC Senior Africa director should have the qualifications, experience and breadth of regional knowledge on top of the leadership role within the U.S. Government interagency process to ensure that all of these fundamental policy areas - business, development, particularly in power, energy, education, and health, and security - continue to shape our relationship with the region. The talent of Republicans who have these skills sets, knowledge, and expertise about Africa are many and all of us who work on Africa, as well as Africans in the region, would like to see one of them in this critical position.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sanders' Al Jazeera Article: Gambia Next Step & No Impunity for Jammeh


See Ambassador Sanders article from Al Jazeera Online on Next Steps for Gambia politically and economically and why it is important for ECOWAS,  African Union, and the international community to not let former President Jammeh off the hook on impunity and stealing millions from the Gambian people:   http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/02/big-hopes-gambia-170204132036125.html

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sanders on #VOA:Sees Trump "Business-Focused" Administration Being Interested in SSAfrica

Ambassador Sanders is featured on January 25, 2017 Voice of America (VOA) news report, noting that Africa has "always been one of the few region's of the world where there has been bipartisanship, with Republicans and Democrats in successive US administrations, and she underscores that she doesn't expect that to change."  Sanders sees the Trump "Business-Focused" Administration viewing Sub Saharan Africa (SSAfrica) as an important business and manufacturing partner, with opportunities for both the US and the SSAfrica Region and their workers and middle class. See clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNXjQ9buask&feature=youtu.be

Monday, January 23, 2017

Amb. Sanders Discusses Sectors Trump Administration Will See SSAfrica As Important 

Washington, D.C. - Ambassador Robin Sanders discuss key areas in which the Trump Administration can see Sub-Saharan Africa as an important region in which to remain engaged. She highlights business and as manufacturing partners, particularly with Small and Medium Size Businesses (SMES) as well as in education and partnerships for young people ( the key people to people exchange among American and African millennials), through the Young African Leaders programs, in health, particularly the #PEPFAR program, and in security as it is in both the U.S. and the Africa region's interest to do so to continue to reduce the efforts and inroads Al Qaeda and ISIS seek to make in African countries. In addition she underscores that Africa has always been a positive bilateral region where various U.S. Administrations have done and enacted initiatives which have helped both the United States and the region and she does not see that changing. Many leaders and current chairpersons of key Congressional Committees such as Chairman Ed Royce of the Foreign Relations Committee, Chairman Chris Smith of the Africa and Global Health Sub Committee and Senator Corker  Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee all know Sub Saharan Africa (SSAfrica) well and  are big supports of Africa focused programs on business, young people, education, and health. Ambassador Sanders noted in the interview that the market potential of the SSAfrica will be something that President Trump and his team will see as a positive not only for US big manufacturing, but also as Africa ramps up its manufacturing base the US will be a source of goods, services, and supplies that can assist SSAfrica nascent manufacturing sector.

Bio note: Sanders, as a senior career diplomat in the U.S. Diplomatic Corps, has worked for successive Republican and Democratic Administrations and was appointed as Ambassador to Congo by President George Bush. See clip of interview on Nigeria's TVC television news channel: https://youtu.be/MLZzu26oa8k 

Sanders Discussed ECOWAS Key Role on Eve of Gambian Crisis; What is Next?

Although Gambian crisis is over, during the tense days prior to the resolution, Ambassador Sanders, who had served as the U.S. Government's Permanent Representative to ECOWAS highlighted the issues, and underscored the importance the unity of ECOWAS was playing in the resolution of the crisis. Sanders appeared on Al Jazeera English (AJE) January 18-19 as the crisis was reaching a crescendo as the deadline for former President Jammeh departure reached crisis stage and as ECOWAS further stepped up its pressure on Jammeh and as President Adama Barrow was sworn in as the country's new president in Senegal. Jammeh had ruled Gambia ruthlessly for 22 years.

But What Is Next?

The question now is whether or not Jammeh will get away with impunity, which would not serve the resolution of the crisis well. Democracy is several things: freedom of speech, association, the press, free and fair elections, and respect for the rule of law, which includes not getting a pass on impunity. Sanders notes this in her AJE interview that as Sub Saharan Africa (SSAfrica) continues to have mature democratic processes and it also must show that leaders who break the law, and steal from the wealth of their nation must answer for their crimes. Despite Jammeh being given exile in Equatorial Guinea, EG, (an interesting choice given that EG's leader has behaved similarly to Jammeh over nearly as many years), it will be important for the SSAfrica region to demonstrate that impunity is no longer an acceptable practice in the SSAfrica. If the reports are true that Jammeh and his family have amassed more than $USD22 million, put scores of people in jail, and violated the human rights and dignity of so many during his 22 year rule than the next step in the democratic process will be to address these issues and concerns. We need to hope that it does take 40 years, like it did with former Chadian leader, Hassan Habre, to be brought to trial. That being said ECOWAS has demonstrated key strategic leadership that the African Union has yet to do. Congrats to ECOWAS and in particular, Presidents Sirleaf, Buhari, and Macky Sall, the latter also for his democratic leadership and support for African nations remaining in the #International Criminal Court (ICC), and on finally ensuring that Habre stood trail.  See the AJE interview at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttzC4f4hvv8