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President Obama: armed groups[in Africa] need to lay down their arms, and human rights abusers need to be held accountable

ObamaTanzaniaJuly12013“Regionally, I thanked President Kikwete for Tanzania’s contribution to security, including its peacekeepers in Darfur and the Congo. On the Congo, we agreed that all parties need to implement their commitments under the Framework for Peace, that armed groups need to lay down their arms, and human rights abusers need to be held accountable. And I very much want to commend President Kikwete as well for the leadership role that he’s played in the Southern African Development Community on the issue of Zimbabwe,” President Obama told the audience on July 1, 2013 during his visit in Tanzania, East Africa.

Photo: President Obama showing a dance move upon his arrival in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania on July 1, 2013

President Obama was on his last leg of the trip that took him to Senegal (see here), South Africa and Tanzania. His trip has highlighted the shifting view in the United States of America and the World that Africa will be the center of economical development for tomorrow. Hence, the USA is promoting a “new model that’s based not just on aid and assistance, but on trade and partnership.” President Obama put it well during his speech at the University of Capetown on June 30, 2013:
.Because one of the wonderful things that’s happening is, where people used to only see suffering and conflict in Africa, suddenly, now they’re seeing opportunity for resources, for investment, for partnership, for influence. Governments and businesses from around the world are sizing up the continent, and they’re making decisions themselves about where to invest their own time and their own energy.”

President Obama did not hesitate to sent a message in support of Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete’s recent stand on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The countries surrounding the Congo, they’ve got to make commitments to stop funding armed groups that are encroaching on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Congo. And they’ve signed onto a piece of paper now, now the question is do they follow through.

And so, we’re prepared to work with anybody to try to make this happen. Ultimately, though, the countries involved have to recognize it is in their self-interest to do so. We can’t force a solution onto the region. The peoples of the region have to stand up and say that’s enough; it’s time to move forward in a different way. And, by the way, that means holding those who’ve committed gross human rights abuses accountable for what they’ve done.”

And that is not just peaces for the sake of peace and regional stability, but because it is in the economical interest and development of each country in the region.

“But there’s an opportunity for peace here. And the countries surrounding the Congo should recognize that if the Congo stabilizes, that will improve the prospects for their growth and their prosperity, because right now, it’s as if you have a millstone around your neck. If you have one of the biggest countries in terms of geography in all of Africa with all these natural resources, but it’s constantly a problem as opposed to being part of the solution, everybody suffers.

Tanzania should be doing more trade with the DRC. Rwanda should be doing more trade and commerce with the DRC. One of the things we’re talking about it how do we get more inter-Africa trade, because if countries like Tanzania are going to improve their economic position in the globe, the first thing they have to do is to make sure they can trade with each other more effectively.”

Throughout his trip, President Obama has underscored the necessity of having strong democratic institutions as the foundation of any development. That is what he told the youth in South Africa:
“If prosperity is broadly shared here in Africa, that middle class will be an enormous market for our goods. If strong democracies take root, that will enable our people and businesses to draw closer to yours. If peace prevails over war, we will all be more secure. And if the dignity of the individual is upheld across Africa, then I believe Americans will be more free as well, because I believe that none of us are fully free when others in the human family remain shackled by poverty or disease or oppression…We don’t tell people who their leaders should be, but we do stand up with those who support the principles that lead to a better life. And that’s why we’re interested in investing not in strongmen, but in strong institutions

Perhaps, this summarizes the purpose of the whole trip: United States of America and all the powers believe that Africa is where to do business beginning today, because that is where future opportunities for growth, investment and making riches are. The USA is ready to make the move starting with helping Africans solidify their institutions and not anymore relying on strong men, a thing that is slowly becoming a relic, and making sure mutual partnerships, economic and others, are built on solid grounds.

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  • Victor July 4, 2013, 9:36 am

    Can America do somthing good for Africa? I am not sure. Africa can wake up by itself as some of Eastern countries did. Since they distroyed Africa by taking away all strong men,they shared it in between them,then they started the exploitation of natural resources no one is held guilty for that and no one seems to think about it.Even the abolition of enslavement was only a strategy because the negro began to wake up.But it is still carried out here in Africa in an other way .When Europe was distroyed by the WORLD WAR II, America established Marchal plan to rebuild it, now what is the plan for Africa ? DIVISER POUR MIEUX REIGNER. If the DRC is strong, all regionnal countries will as well as Obama said. Why again Kagame Paul seems to be untouchable ?(give me the answer) Look at the CHINA, since it is grown up ,no body can instruct nonsence. With CHINA,America must think before saying any word. The Obama speech looks very nice but it is very empty because America is the one behind all nightmare here in Congo.

  • Mr avalanche July 2, 2013, 7:17 am

    Gen Kagame is well aware of this changes of USA policy regarding Africa.From now on the pressures are with the dictator because the new US strategies or policy is to work together with those with no military background like Pres Zuma or Pres Kikwete.”also the US has stopped the treatment of Rwanda government as VICTIM,from 1 July2013, Rwanda’s will be treated as the aggressor”. You saw it coming but you din’t listen,.