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tv   Hudson Institute Discussion on U.S. Foreign Policy in Africa  CSPAN  June 17, 2019 5:30pm-6:16pm EDT

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column. and from the new york journal of books, the presidents makes a fast read. read about how noted presidential historians rank the best and worst chief executives from george washington to barack obama. explore the life events that shaped our leaders, challenges they faced and the legacies they have left behind. the presidents is now available as a hard cover or e-book today at or wherever books are sold. up next, a discussion on u.s. foreign policy in africa following the trump administration's unveiling of an updated framework for u.s. diplomatic efforts on the continent. we'll hear about china and russia's expanding political influence at this event hosted by the hudson institute. >> good afternoon, everyone.
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i'm a fellow here at the hudson institute. and because we have a short amount of time, i'm going to pivot as quickly as we can to our excellent panel. luckily, i do not have to give out reminders about chatham house rules. we are on the record. thank you for joining us about the discussion of future u.s.-africa relations. i'm delighted to be joined by a really outstanding panel. i'll just go ahead and introduce them and dive into questions. we have about 40 minutes. i'll try to reserve 10 to 15 of those for questions from the audience. we have ambassador, nonresident senior fellow and teacher of african affairs. she had a very distinguished career in public service in france including as deputy minister for foreign affairs and
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human rights and ambassador of france to unesco. we are happy to have her in washington and sharing insights with us. next to her, joshua is a senior policy analyst on africa and the middle east at the heritage found egg. he was previously at the africa center and spent several years on the ground in africa including with the peace corps. last but not least we have a lecturer in african studies and a nonresident senior associate and a veteran of the u.s. marine corps. thank you for joining us. maybe i can start with the way that the event was set up with africa africa -- which is more prominent or what is the balance
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between challenges and opportunities and what the greatest ones are on the continent that u.s. policy should be focussed on? >> it was interesting to see that africa has to face opportunities on the one hand and on the other hand challenges. the truth is both. but i'd like to be optimistic. and i'd like to focus on the optimistic part of the speech. the opportunities are really huge and amazing. africa is the continent of the future. it is the -- i think, i'm convinced that it is the center of the world. yesterday, today and tomorrow. why? it is a young continent, the
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youngest continent in the world. that is a guarantee for the future. i think it's better to be the youngest continent than the oldest continent in the world because they are future consumers, future citizens, future workers. it is the humanity, of the man kind in 2050. it is something extraordinary. it is a new cycle for africa. for the first time in its very, very long story, we will live a new demographic cycle, something that is historical. the geography, 60% of the available lands are in africa. that is something amazing. the world will come to africa to exploit this. people, women, for example. i think the female leadership is
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a huge experience in africa now. and we could take this continent as an example. politically speaking, for example, we have so many female parliament. that is something extraordinary. innovation, also. i mean, that is the leap frog. they didn't have electricity, but they have mobile banking, for example. much more than us. that is something -- according to the world bank where i work as a consultant, africa might be on the brink of economic just like china 30 years ago and india 20 years ago. that is something really interesting. but the most interesting thing i
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think the challenge i talk about the opportunities, but the most important challenge for me is life. i mean, we have the feeling that life is not so important in africa. when people die they die. 200 people died through an attack a few months ago. so we had that at the top of the news one day and after that -- if this happened in europe, we would be still in grief now. there is something about life, violence, prostitution, rape, something very for me important to take into account, african
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life. i think if we undermine african life it is because of slavery, the time when we regarded these lives as not important. and african people themselves have integrated that idea that their life is not so important as the life of the others. i think it's time to finish with that because now the continent of the future, the continent of today, the continent of yesterday must consider life as the most important thing for its history and its future. so for me here are the opportunities and the challenges. >> thank you for that really powerful account, ambassador. so, josh, let me ask you to tee off that with the challenges and opportunities that you see but maybe also whether you think that the administration's new africa strategies is sort of properly focussed on what those
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promises and perils are. as the three pillars of promoting prosperity, strengthening security and promoting stability, is that the right focus? >> i think so. i'll pick up where the ambassador left off because i absolutely agree with her assessment of the economic opportunities on the continent. they are really incredible and how we can spend the whole time giving statistics that demonstrate the case. that's one of the reasons why i am hopeful about the administration's new africa strategy because the trade and investment piece is a core pillar of it. now, of course, administrations including at least the previous two have talked about trade, not aid. everyone pays lip service to it and the actual focus of american foreign policy towards africa hasn't changed much. i think we might -- it might be different this time around. for one, it just sort of
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philosophically fits with the president's world view. he is famously a businessman so he is convinced of the merits of fdi and trade. and two, it's been easy to observe if you live in washington that it's been easy to observe the effort that the administration has put into making the prosper africa part of the initiative effective. there is dedicated people working on this. it is financed. and they are doing listening tours and really trying to get as much input as possible. so i'm encouraged by that. i think it's the right approach and i think this time it may lead to some substantive refocus of american foreign policy. it's something we really, really have to do because as the secretary mentioned, american foreign policy hasn't evolved to account for the new africa in many ways. we are focussed on overseas
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developments and counter terrorism and mitigating crisis of various types and those are all important and worth while initiatives to pursue, but many other countries in the world have recognized that africa is increasingly strategic. u.s. strategy has not evolved to account for that. i think this prosper africa initiative does account for that. as far as challenges, there are many and the secretary mentioned some and the ambassador here, as well. i would say governance if you had to bile it down to one central problem. the state of governance on continent is really disheartening. it's gone through ebbs and flows. right now we are in a more worrisome time particularly when you think of the democracy back sliding on the continent.
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so when you have poor governance, it's linked to economic paralysis, very hard to create really positive environments for fdi as the secretary was talking about in his remarks. it's linked to poor outcomes in health, in security, all of these issues. and so if you cannot -- if you can't get that part of it right, then i fear we will still be talking about these sorts of problems 20, 30, 40 years from now. >> i thought maybe we can pick up there. i had a feeling it might have a certain interest in the question of governance. it certainly seems like there is something afoot in the continent with people demanding more from their governments. we have seen it in algeria, sedan, areas of promise like ethiopia and areas of concern, as well.
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how do we make sure that the governance piece is fit into the africa strategy? how does it fit into prosperity strategy and trade strategy? what is its place? and what are the tools to ask african governments to do better by their people. >> thank you for hosting this. i think a couple of things i want to discuss along with this. one, we talk about challenges and opportunities. i think we have to go back to the definition. we often talk about the devil is in the details. i think when you come to africa the devil is in the definition. it's in the way that we define africa. what do we see when we look at africa? do we hear terms like emerging markets? i would not want to be called emerging market. is it for the investor coming from the outside or from the people who live there. is it go west my son, the
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opportunities is over there? in which case it is pretty worrisome. the other side of that coin is in the case of the united states, how does the united states define itself vis-a-vis africa? africa is evolving. my colleagues have put that very well. but as the u.s. evolving engaging towards africa. how do we define it? if we look at the demographics that are changing, if we look at natural resources and potential, they have always been there. but when we hear the africa strategy, i think it has a lot of potential there. but we have to ask about the prioritization of the potentials. if we talk about trade, then that proposes a certain number of things, the big companies, governance is doing well then we
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can trade equal to equal. that's snis not exactly what is happening. if we talk about trade that we have the skill set, education is a big challenge for the african continent. if we talk about trade, we talk about security. if we look at strategy we are talking about combatting terrorists. that is not exactly finding their own security challenges either. so there is an issue there. whose terrorists, against whom? so this brings me to i think the order can be, the strategy can be bolder and much more stronger and the order probably inverted a little bit because you know traditionally our strategy in the u.s. has been the three ds, development, defense and democracy. we need to focus on democracy. of course, i am in the business of democracy and governance. if you are not going to have
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good governance if people are not putting their own input into what is going into the country. we have had cases of strong leaders who have emerged and pushed some governance. it is not sustainable because it becomes about one man and sheer will and power and that stuff. we are seeing transformation. so to go back to your points, transformation is happening. so we have seen countries on one side that recognize the leadership of the country. that's what ethiopia is. they have seen that there is no avoiding change and they have taken the steps to start to embrace the change so that the entire project does not collapse. well, we also see what's happening in sedan. the change is being imposed from the outside, not from the leadership structure. so i think there is a framework here, an entire spectrum of issues. i will say the onus is on us on the side of the atlantic on who
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we are. the u.s. has -- including china which is not western but is a very important power in africa. the reason being african at large embraced the same values the u.s. aspouses, democracy, freedom. people know more about kim kardashian than i do. they are following what we follow. they want the same thing. they all subscribe to the model of get rich or die trying. they want wealth. so i just want to put that out. >> so maybe on that point i can come to you because you did mention sort of that other countries have noticed the strategic potential of china perhaps earlier than the u.s.
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has. from that view it seems like there can also be a tension between and the longer term and short term interest that the u.s. might see or it gets ahead of competitors. could you talk a little bit about what you see in terms of other countries' priorities in africa and how that might fit with what the u.s. is pursuing under the new africa strategy? >> sure. i think it is clear when you read the strategy that part of the motivation is the realization that there are other actors now making extraordinary end roads into africa and some of those are competitors to the united states. the secretary in prepared remarks didn't say china but referenced china on a number of occasions. china is of course the great concern for the united states for a whole host of reasons.
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i think one that is perhaps particularly relevant given this governance discussion that we're having is that china appears to assert an illiberal influence. that happens in a host of ways. one is the corruption of its companies where a study several years ago that went around interviewing chinese enterprises found that 60% to 87% admitted to paying a broibe. that has a negative effect on governance. then there is the model of the chinese authoritarian system which is the most authoritarian it has been probably since mao. when you look at what is happening where maybe up to 2 million ethnic and religious minorities are in re-education
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camps. so that has a negative model. and that effects the united states. the united states realizes to encourage the growth of democracy throughout the world. it's not just china, either. of course, we have gulf states that are heavily involved in particular regions especially east africa. and they can sometimes behave in ways that are also not conducive to good governance where they may spread easy money around, politicians and things of that nature. so i think that the africa policy that the u.s. is still working on really particularly in the prosper africa piece is both informed by that and designed to try to augment the u.s.'s position on the continent and serve as a positive counter veiling force in some of these negative forces. >> ambassador, maybe i can ask
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you, how does this discussion that we have been having here, how those same questions are seen in europe and paris and elsewhere? are those same opportunities and challenges perceived by european policy makers? do they european policymakers? do they have the same objectives or concerns as those that are expressed in the africa policy? obviously there's been cooperation between the u.s. and the french. what is the potential for greater conversions of the policies? >> about africa? >> yes. >> the formations flow there strategic influence, they will converge if they have come into this, they will not converge if they do not have any strategic interest. now, it is interesting to see,
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things are changing very fast in africa. minds in europe are not changing so fast, unfortunately. because of fear, they fear. they fear migrants. you can see in europe, when we have elections in france or in a european country, the high level of the ultra right, it's a political pressure on european democracy. so, it's not only, you know i think it will be a long-term fear and that, that is a problem to see
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the opportunities we talked about. they do not see the opportunities we talked about. they only see people who are oppressed for the european future, borders, education systems, the social worker system. that makes them --. you have to know that, the relationship between africa and european countries is different from the relationships petain between africa and the united states. we talk about the form of powers. france or good britain or portugal, italian, these countries have strong links with african countries but it's the flow breaker. there's something depressed.
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there is something unhealthy now. on the other hand, in africa, things are changing. new generations would like to break the unhealthy relation. you have to africa is, the africa of government. they have the same length as before and the new generation, they try to open their mind to the rest of the world. they try to develop new relations with the united states with other countries, korea, japan, morocco. there are many new partners in africa that we are at the crossroads. so, in europe, it is difficult to make others understand what is going on now because of that fear. maybe in a few years with new
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generations, but the future is a problem because more and more people imagine that some day, i don't know, independence will come at the head of the state. so, what sort of relationships with africa? i think that is something important going on now and i don't know if they can appreciate the weight of history , but it is still possible, if both parts try to work with migrants who live there, in european countries. they are now french, they are now british, they are portuguese,
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they are spanish. and african also. they have two cultural contents. that is intense for europe to have them on their land. european people and country should understand this is a chance and not a problem so that's another story. thank you. >> with what the ambassador said i think for us we talk about these opportunities the solution i was talking about is key. once we properly define what the various parties are it's tremendous for partnership. north africans want to contribute to governance where they are. this is democratization. you have opened the government
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to people, whatever shape it's in, we are not trying to impose the u.s. model because a democracy is a democracy is a democracy. no way, it is different from france or from here. so we see the shift with the youth that are demanding a bigger share of the pie. ideally they would like to stay where they are. nobody wakes up and say i want to go to some cold climate, yeah, under the tropic, they want to stay here. those realities, they are reasons strongly that they will not come if the people are not represented at this table of their own administration. it behooves us to push partnerships, trading is good, commercial is good, people need to get to the trade..
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with these projects going down the line it really elevates countries. so, with the youth, i think there's a lot of room for us to do more. i was a peace corps volunteer, a lot of countries no longer have peace corps. i think we need to start thinking beyond, we have to fork us we have to focus, democracy is important. and with democracy, we need to redefine the possibilities. this is how we define stabilities for the others. >> with that we have 10 minutes so let me keep it open for the audience. we have microphones coming around, be sure to introduce yourself and and your statement
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with a? not just a. all the way in the back, please. >> i may have to retire, we have a current crisis with the trade issue with china, with the contracts that have led to a surplus. that is a problem to u.s. taxpayers. i know we can't take some specific and say this company wants to sell something but we could look at this in general and have african state leaders and governments or companies then approach companies there's some sort of mechanism. has this been thought of as a way of furniture furthering this? >> any insights? on the soybean sales to africa? >> well, no. but i would say, it would probably be hard i don't know what the market is,
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what the appetite is, which is obviously a key part of the equation my time there. if i ever encountered a soybean, so it's probably -- asia is probably a larger market for various reasons and the reality of the population. and i don't know how long you could store soybeans for instance so there are logistical problems as well. i have not heard any, i'm not in government of course, with my movements on the peripheral government i have not her discussions around that. >> in the middle. >> i'm with the crisis group. i was just wondering, in west africa, with the united states pulling out, i think it's 2000 or a few thousand of the troops stationed there. as the groups march south, when
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is that a signal for what the future -- with the maps of the democracy relations what does that look like in the region? >> thank you. >> i think that is the part of the challenge. as what i was mentioning how do we engage africa. if our points on the strategies counterterrorism and then we are pulling out, what message, do we stay or engage in terms of building the type of armies that africa needs? there's only one type, what we call the republican army. the republican army as an army that represents the people. an army outside of the politics. it's a dying breed in africa, there are only six or seven of them in the country that we
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have. i think it's a tremendous opportunity to define security and stability and reflect the need of the local population. i think this is probably the challenge that we've had with africa. nobody seems to understand the controls or what africa -- what it is. we cannot criticize this. it's a unique system and a unique strategy within the u.s. military. it's not a command like any other command. so when the decision is made, it is the same space as democracy because the ability for the need, largely the breakdown in government, it's a breakdown in the presentation. six so to the same point really, it's challenging to go back to the drawing board, i don't know, i spent time in the
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military. is there mixed messages there. >> i will supplement that really quick, the outgoing commander general is addressed this. the drawdown would be about 600 troops, 10% of 6000 that's happening and staggered, in a staggered sequence. he has assured, sort of the war fighting function with the capability, some of these units will not be affected by the drawdown and will not happen all at the same time immediately. so, i think the problems can't be solved, you could send 10,000 american troops there, and it wouldn't solve problems. so, i think having the presence is important, i don't think that is the critical key. >> i heard this morning on the radio, that we should leave the sahara, troops should leave in connection to these troops
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because it is impossible to win this war. it's more and more difficult to win the wars in africa. and everywhere in the world. it is difficult because, we know that these solutions, is on the ground in the people, you can't, rely on only military solutions. about africa. as you can see, there is a huge number of the most important number of -- in the world. it's been lasting since 20 years more than 20 years. on the other hand you see countries such as algeria or
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sudan, the people are in the streets and they try to gain their own liberty. this is something interesting because in these countries whether it's the head of the state, military, or military society or military head of state, it's interesting but, the people, they want a civil government. that the military government. that's a huge level of democratic maturity. i've heard african people should live under you know, stability but, military stability or authoritarian government but this desire for democracy shows that they want
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to live free and not under military government or with international tropes on their soil, you know, so i think that we should never forget why international troops in africa, the final objective, the final aim is to leave. otherwise, they will be defeated by a too long military situation. we have understood that in other regions in the world, it is the same in africa. >> thank you, maybe over to the side, in the back. >> hello alexander from washington, i was wondering if you could talk more about sudan. i think they are trying to go to sedan to intermediate, with
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the motion, what should they do or what more could they do when it comes to sedan? thank you. >> i will take more questions from the second row here and that will be the last question and we will do a lightning round. >> hello , i'm a retired foreign service officer and i was fortunate. i was walking with other washington fellows. the secretary mentioned quite a bit how great the fellows are. what do you think about the education investment by the united states institutions in africa to build up skills development? >> thank you, so the question on sudan and the question on investing in education. >> do you want to start
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ambassador then we will go down the line? >> it is interesting what's happening in sudan. i think without interference , we must show that we have, we are behind them. they face a serious situation now. since yesterday, 100 people died in the streets, after being slaughtered by the army. that is the case of human rights there. democratic human rights. people who slaughtered the demonstrators in the streets, we know them very well, they acted in south sudan and are for . still now no one talks about it and what is going on there. the situation is still very difficult. people are still dying there. the killers are now in the sudan where they are killing
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the demonstrators in the streets. so i think that, the only thing that you could do is to be by their side and behind them you don't have to decide, they could have you know, the whole thing -- now that the revolution is finished but it is not finished. in algeria it is the same. they want to keep their evolution and they want the democratic power, the civil government. i'm sure that they will do it. but we have two make them feel that we are behind them because they face something very tough. >> thank you.
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josh, quickly. >> sure, i think sometimes the u.s. and other countries overestimate the amount of influence it has in certain countries or with certain countries. we have a whole array of tools and influence measures we could use but they are only effective up to the point where , in sudan's case the regime has core interests at stake. the regime's core interest is to maintain power. it will not negotiate itself out of power. it will have to be forced in some way. u.s. is not going to do that, nor is anyone else going to do that. protesters will, somehow have to do that if they are able. i'm skeptical that they are. so, you have two removable forces. you have the military cancel that has proven they will not leave peacefully and you have the protesters who have also proven that they will not accept a cosmetic change at the top of the government without systemic reforms that is real civilian led governance.
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so, something had to give and something did give on monday with the massacre of the protesters in front of the ministry of defense and in other cities in sudan. i think we will see more confrontations like this. i expect her to be more bloodshed unfortunately. >> so i think that we have what i referred to we had algeria, sudan and ethiopia. these three cases encapsulate the challenges. people want self-determination and they want to be at the table of governance and decision-making. how do we engage? i think we have to continue engaging. on the side of democracy and on the side of the people. in the case of sudan they made it clear they want to be the driver, the suit and as people the sudanese people, we are trying to help that, the fear
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is that is what we were worried about. the violence, we cannot retrain or retract, we have to continue forward. places like ethiopia have shown that they have the will from within with continued support. that came about through a lot of violence before. algeria, they had a transition that was difficult. it takes long, it can develop quickly. it's not the panacea so in the case of algeria, i think they are trying to do things white there try to do things right, they are trying to do things, this is a tricky and fragile situation when you're transitioning. in terms of the question about education and investing i think it is important. in these different cases, eventually this is about institutions.
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institutions with people who have the skill set and leadership, these are two different things that often go together. in africa strategies there is room for that. there's no good trade of the people are not trading. they know that democracy. >> thank you very much please join me in thanking our panelists. [ applause ] >> thank you to all of you for joining us today, please look forward to future analysis and events. thank you. >> i think you did a great job. >> a couple of live hearings to tell you about coming up this
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week. u.s. trade representative robert light heizer testifies in the senate commands midi about the trade strategy and the united states-mexico-canada agreement. you could see it on c-span. on wednesday actor danny glover, writer, testifying on capitol hill about slavery reparations and we will have live coverage of the house judiciary subcommittee here on c-span 3. a quick reminder, you could follow the coverage online at or with the c-span radio appeared >> we are on capitol hill tonight talking to exhibitors from ces on the hill, an event that gives members of congress and staffers an advanced look at new tech products. >> we are changing where technology is moving so quickly and so many policies are affected whether it's artificial intelligence or self driving cars or robotics,
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all this amazing software which will make a difference in how we learn and how we work and how we play. congress has to be aware of it to make a difference and tackle issues like privacy or other issues involving competitiveness because we are in a major battle. >> watch the communicators tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 2. >> do i look forward again? >> president donald trump holds a rally in orlando florida launching his run for his second term, watch live at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 2, online at or listen live on the free c-span radio app. >> the reviews are in for the president's book recently topping the new york times new and noteworthy column, it's
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called a milepost in the evolving and ever-changing reputations of our president and from the new york journal of books, the president makes a fast engrossing read. read about how noted presidential historians ranked the best and worst chief executives. from george washington to barack obama, explore the life that shaped our leaders, challenges that they faced and the legacies that they left behind. c-span's, the presidents is available as a hardcover or e- book today at presidents or wherever books are sold. >> coming up next, the panel discussion on reducing childhood poverty, topics including social programs for families with newborns, especially those from low income and at-risk communities. the forum hosted by the brookings institution.


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