US Department of State 

Dispatch, Vol 2, No 52, December 30, 1991

Title:

US Welcomes New Commonwealth Of Independent States

Bush Source: President Bush Description: Address to the nation, Washington, DC Date: Dec 25, 199112/25/91 Category: Speeches, Testimony, Statements Region: Eurasia Country: USSR (former), Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan Subject: Democratization [TEXT] Good evening, and Merry Christmas to all Americans across our great country. During these last few months, you and I have witnessed one of the greatest dramas of the 20th century--the historic and revolutionary transformation of a totalitarian dictatorship, the Soviet Union, and the liberation of its peoples. As we celebrate Christmas--this day of peace and hope--I thought we should take a few minutes to reflect on what these events mean for us as Americans. ..........For over 40 years, the United States led the West in the struggle against communism and the threat it posed to our most precious values. This struggle shaped the lives of all Americans. It forced all nations to live under the specter of nuclear destruction. ..........That confrontation is now over. The nuclear threat--while far from gone--is receding. Eastern Europe is free. The Soviet Union itself is no more. This is a victory for democracy and freedom. It's a victory for the moral force of our values. Every American can take pride in this victory, from the millions of men and women who have served our country in uniform to millions of Americans who supported their country and a strong defense under nine presidents. ..........New, independent nations have emerged out of the wreckage of the Soviet empire. Last weekend, these former republics formed a Commonwealth of Independent States. This act marks the end of the old Soviet Union, signified today by Mikhail Gorbachev's decision to resign as president. ..........I'd like to express, on behalf of the American people, my gratitude to Mikhail Gorbachev for years of sustained commitment to world peace, and for his intellect, vision, and courage. I spoke with Mikhail Gorbachev this morning. We reviewed the many accomplishments of the past few years and spoke of hope for the future. ..........Mikhail Gorbachev's revolutionary policies transformed the Soviet Union. His policies permitted the peoples of Russia and the other republics to cast aside decades of oppression and establish the foundations of freedom. His legacy guarantees him an honored place in history and provides a solid basis for the United States to work in equally constructive ways with his successors. ..........The United States applauds and supports the historic choice for freedom by the new states of the Commonwealth. We congratulate them on the peaceful and democratic path they have chosen and for their careful attention to nuclear control and safety during this transition. Despite a potential for instability and chaos, these events clearly serve our national interest. ..........We stand tonight before a new world of hope and possibilities for our children, a world we could not have contemplated a few years ago. The challenge for us now is to engage these new states in sustaining the peace and building a more prosperous future. ..........And so today, based on commitments and assurances given to us by some of these states, concerning nuclear safety, democracy, and free markets, I am announcing some important steps designed to begin this process. ..........First, the United States recognizes and welcomes the emergence of a free, independent, and democratic Russia, led by its courageous President, Boris Yeltsin. Our Embassy in Moscow will remain there as our Embassy to Russia. We will support Russia's assumption of the USSR's seat as a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council. I look forward to working closely with President Yeltsin in support of his efforts to being democratic and market reform to Russia. ..........Second, the United States also recognizes the independence of Ukraine, Armenia, Kasakhstan, Belarus, and Kyrgyzstan--all states that have made specific commitments to us. We will move quickly to establish diplomatic relations with these states and build new ties to them. We will sponsor membership in the United Nations for those not already members. ..........Third, the United States also recognizes today as independent states the remaining six former Soviet republics--Moldova, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Tadjikistan, Georgia, and Uzbekistan. We will establish diplomatic relations with them when we are satisfied that they have made commitments to responsible security policies and democratic principles, as have the other states we recognize today. ..........These dramatic events come at a time when Americans are also facing challenges here at home. I know that for many of you, these are difficult times. And I want all Americans to know that I am committed to attacking our economic problems at home with the same determination we brought to winning the Cold War. ..........I am confident we will meet this challenge as we have so many times before. But we cannot if we retreat into isolationism. We will only succeed in this interconnected world by continuing to lead the fight for free people and free and fair trade. A free and prosperous global economy is essential for America's prosperity; that means jobs and economic growth right here at home. ..........This is a day of great hope for all Americans. Our enemies have become our partners, committed to building democratic and civil societies. They ask for our support, and we will give it to them. We will do it because as Americans we can do no less. ..........For our children, we must offer them the guarantee of a peaceful and prosperous future--a future grounded in a world built on strong democratic principles, free from the specter of global conflict. ..........May God bless the people of the new nations in the Commonwealth of Independent States. And on this special day of peace on earth, good will toward men, may God continue to bless the United States of America. (###)
US Department of State Dispatch, Vol 2, No 52, December 30, 1991 Title:

Gorbachev's Contributions Remembered

Bush Source: President Bush Description: Washington, DC Date: Dec 25, 199112/25/91 Category: Speeches, Testimony, Statements Region: Eurasia Country: USSR (former) Subject: Democratization [TEXT] Mikhail Gorbachev's resignation as President of the Soviet Union culminates a remarkable era in the history of his country and in its long and often difficult relationship with the United States. As he leaves office, I would like to express publicly, and on behalf of the American people, my gratitude to him for years of sustained commitment to world peace and my personal respect for his intellect, vision, and courage. ..........President Gorbachev is responsible for one of the most important developments of this century--the revolutionary transformation of a totalitarian dictatorship and the liberation of his people from its smothering embrace. His personal commitment to democratic and economic reform through perestroika and glasnost--a commitment which demanded the highest degree of political and personal ingenuity and courage--permitted the peoples of Russia and other republics to cast aside decades of dark oppression and put in place the foundations of freedom. ..........Working with President Reagan, myself, and other allied leaders, President Gorbachev acted boldly and decisively to end the bitter divisions of the Cold War and contributed to the remaking of a Europe whole and free. His and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze's "new thinking" in foreign affairs permitted the United States and the Soviet Union to move from confrontation to partnership in the search for peace across the globe. Together we negotiated historic reductions in chemical, nuclear, and conventional forces and reduced the risk of a nuclear conflict. ..........Working together, we helped the people of Eastern Europe win their liberty and the German people their goal of unity in peace and freedom. Our partnership led to unprecedented cooperation in repelling Iraqi aggression in Kuwait, in bringing peace to Nicaragua and Cambodia, and independence to Namibia. Our work continues as we seek a lasting and just peace between Israelis and Arabs in the Middle East and an end to the conflict in Afghanistan. ..........President Gorbachev's participation in these historic events is his legacy to his country and to the world. This record assures him an honored place in history and, most importantly for the future, establishes a solid basis from which the United States and the West can work in equally constructive ways with his successors. (###)
Department of State Dispatch, Vol 2, No 52, December 30, 1991 Title:

Feature: Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States

Date: Dec 30, 199112/30/91 Category: Features Region: Subsaharan Africa Subject: Cultural Exchange, History, Regional/Civil Unrest, Democratization, Trade/Economics, Development/Relief Aid [TEXT] The following feature is the first of two parts that are based on the publication "Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States." This part presents an overview of the history and the current situation in Sub-Saharan Africa. The second part will deal with the US role in the region and challenges for future cooperation. The complete publication was released by the Office of Public Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs, in October 1991 and is sold by the Superintendent of Documents, US Government Printing Office. Sub-Saharan Africa--the ancestral home of some 25 million Americans--comprises the bulk of the African land mass and most of the countries of this huge continent. It is common to treat this part of Africa as Africa proper; also in this publication, the general terms "Africa" and "African" are frequently used in reference to the Sub-Saharan part. ..........The countries north of the Sahara, with their centers on the Mediterranean, are entirely Islamic and, linguistically, Arabic and are tied closely to the countries of western Asia. Nevertheless, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa have shared the common experience of European colonialism, and the countries of both parts of the continent are members of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the chief instrument of inter-continental cooperation. ..........Sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of the Republic of South Africa, falls within the category of developing countries. In the 19th century, most of the continent came under the control of European powers, which created colonial administrations that did not follow linguistic or tribal divisions. ..........Most of these countries achieved their independence around 1960. All faced formidable problems, as they had to develop feelings of nationality above traditional tribal loyalties and build economies capable of sustaining growing populations and competition in the international market. ..........The US stake in Africa increased with the collapse of European rule. Its commitment to global economic development as a basis for world peace required attention to the economic problems of the newly independent states. ..........The continent also became a focus of East-West conflict when some countries came under the rule of Marxist-Leninist and pro- Soviet regimes. The Soviet Union and its allies began to supply military support, including fighting units, as well as development assistance. ..........Later changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, as well as growing US-Soviet cooperation on international issues, helped lessen tensions in Africa. Events that led to the independence of Namibia in March 1990, after decades of South African rule, are an example of successful US-Soviet cooperation in matters of regional diplomacy. ..........But while the new international system that is taking shape offers Africa the opportunity of relations unencumbered by Cold War concerns, a number of obstacles to cooperation and peaceful exchange remain. For example, there is concern that the need to assist Central and Eastern Europe will overshadow the need to promote economic progress in Africa or obscure the opportunities for economic exchange. ..........These are some of the problems and prospects Africa has faced along its path toward independent political and economic development.
Regional Profile
Africa is geographically isolated, divided from the other continents by large bodies of water and joined to Asia only at the Isthmus of Suez. It is the second largest continent (next to Asia). With an area of almost 12 million square miles, it covers one-fifth of the world's land surface and is as large as the United States, Europe, India, China, Argentina, and New Zealand combined. Africa stretches 5,000 miles from north to south and 4,600 miles from east to west at its widest point (by comparison, the distance from Washington, DC, to San Francisco is 2,400 miles). Its 18,900-mile coastline is washed by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean and Red Seas. ..........Sub-Saharan Africa, separated from the Mediterranean by the Sahara Desert, covers 9 million square miles, about four-fifths of Africa's total area. It also includes the island countries of Madagascar, Cape Verde, Comoros, Seychelles, Sao Tome and Principe, and Mauritius. Sub-Saharan Africa is almost three times as large as the continental United States. Zaire, Africa's third largest country in land area (behind Sudan and Algeria), is larger than 26 US states east of the Mississippi River. ..........Sub-Saharan Africa presents a varied landscape. It comprises desert (including part of the Sahara) and desert shrubland, tropical forests (chiefly in Central Africa), savannas and woodlands (north and south of the tropical forests), and high mountain ranges. Topographical features include the East African rift, which extends from Ethiopia to Tanzania and is the deepest fracture in the world's crust; Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya in East Africa--both higher than Mount Rainier; and the Nile and Zaire Rivers, both rising in eastern Africa and longer than the Ohio and the Mississippi. ..........With all this variety, much of Sub-Saharan Africa consists of plateaus ranging from 3,000 to 9,000 feet above sea level that fall to low-lying coastal zones averaging only 20 miles in width.
Climate
Sub-Saharan Africa lies almost entirely within the tropical zone. The only temperate regions are found at the southernmost point, along the shores of the Cape of Good Hope, and on the higher parts of the inland plateaus. The deserts are hot during the day and extremely cold at night. ..........The Equator divides Sub-Saharan Africa into two almost equal halves. The area within five degrees of the Equator is a region of year-round rain, in some places amounting to more than 400 inches annually. In the desert regions further north and south of the Equator, accumulated rainfall is less than 10 inches annually; sometimes no measurable rainfall occurs for years. Farther still from the Equator, mild, rainy winters and warm, dry summers prevail.
Connections With Other Continents
Except for caravan routes across the Sahara and limited navigation down the Nile, Sub-Saharan Africa's contact with other continents was, at one time, possible only by sea. Voyages from Europe and North America were long and arduous. Now, however, direct air connections exist from Europe and from North America to Sub- Saharan African cities. A flight from Washington, DC, to Dakar, Senegal, with a layover in Paris, takes about 15 hours and from Atlanta to Lagos, with a layover in London, about 18 hours. To Cape Town, South Africa, however, the 9,500-mile flight from New York, with layovers, requires some 33 hours.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
Population
Africa's estimated population is more than 580 million (1987 estimate), 85% of whom live south of the Sahara. If the current 3% annual growth rate continues, the continent's population will reach 800 million by the year 2000--an increasing concern of many African governments. ..........Because of the vastness of the continent, population density is less than half that of the United States--about 30 persons per square mile. However, people are distributed unevenly throughout the region. Large expanses of desert and mountains are virtually uninhabited while several areas with good climate, fertile land, navigable rivers, and safe ports have a population density as high as 500 persons per square mile. Sub-Saharan Africa's most populated areas are: ..........-- The lands bordering the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, particularly Nigeria and the southern parts of Ghana, Benin, and Togo; ..........-- The Nile Valley in northern Sudan; ..........-- The East African highlands, particularly the plateaus of Ethiopia, Kenya, eastern Zaire, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania; and ..........-- South Africa's eastern and southern coasts and the interior High Veld.
Languages
The largest language family is the Niger-Congo and Kordofanian (Nigritic), of which the Bantu sub-language group is the most important. Speakers of these languages occupy much of Sub- Saharan Africa. ..........The Afroasiatic (Hamitic) group--including Semitic-, Berber-, and Cushitic-speaking people--stems from the early Caucasoids and is found in North and Northeast Africa. The Sudanic group is found in a region stretching along the lower Nile and westward through the area known as the Sahel. The Bushmen and Hottentot peoples of Southern Africa speak Khoisan or "click" languages. Some languages, such as Swahili and Hausa, serve as linguas franca between widely divergent groups, especially in trade. Urbanization and Changing Family Patterns Most Africans still live in small rural groups. But while Africa is less urbanized than other continents, its urban population is growing faster than that of any other region. At present, there are 10 cities with more than 1 million inhabitants. ..........The majority of city dwellers are first-generation migrants. During colonial rule, many Africans went to the cities to take short-term employment, remitting their incomes to their homes in the countryside. After independence, more permanent migration began. Most of these migrants still maintained close ties with what they consider their true homes, which provide them some "social security." The extended family retains much of its traditional importance. Studies indicate that new forms of social organization are developing in the cities based on traditional tribal association. ..........Traditionally, African cultures throughout the continent were closely tied to religion and religious ritual. This is true of the Christianity established in Ethiopia in the 4th century, which now has close to 19 million adherents, and also of Islamic Sub-Saharan Africa. By the beginning of the European "scramble for Africa" (1885-1914), the Islamic regions comprised the Somali territories, the East African coast down to Mozambique, the stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea just below the Sahara, and large parts of Nigeria and Cameroon. In the animistic religions in other parts of Africa, social and family life and the view of the world around were expressed artistically through mythology, music, painting and sculpture, and dance. ..........Colonialism forced change upon traditional cultures. By the end of the 19th century, European powers had drawn boundaries that divided many major ethnic groups. The Bakongo, for example, were divided among Angola, Zaire, the Congo, and Gabon, while the Somali in the east were divided among Ethiopia, Kenya, Somaliland (Somalia), and Djibouti. Missionaries from Europe and the United States brought a new wave of Christianity and founded schools that taught secular subjects as well. ..........Railroads, mining, and other economic activities that required labor-intensive skills disrupted traditional agricultural societies. And with colonialism came the European languages that were used for contacts with the outside world, as the tool for educating Africans in European culture and technology, and as a means of bridging the differences between linguistic and cultural groups now assembled under various administrations. All the independent countries established national educational systems in which European tongues (French, English, Portuguese, or Spanish) are the chief languages of instruction (though in Tanzania, Swahili is the medium of instruction throughout primary years).
Pan-Africanism and African Culture
The conditions created by colonialism gave rise to a search for identity--for ideas, values, and viewpoints--that might characterize Africa as a whole. The former Senegalese President, Leopold Senghor (1906- ), is the best-known proponent of cultural Pan-Africanism. A French-educated poet who accepted European political institutions and ideas, Senghor attempted to mold them in ways suitable to African conditions and culture. He believed in a unique African quality which he called "negritude," defining it as "the sum total of cultural values of the Negro-African world." As a student in Paris, where he saw how deeply African art had influenced modern European art, he concluded that Africa was a source of artistic and cultural inspiration for the rest of the world. ..........And, indeed, African culture has had a global influence. Twentieth-century Western sculpture and painting would not have taken new paths without the influence of African sculpture and decoration. The bolero and the rumba, spirituals, blues, gospel, and jazz were adapted from the musical heritage of African slaves brought to the Western Hemisphere. Dance forms based on African originals are likewise universal. ..........At the same time, the traditional arts that have so influenced Europe and America were likewise deeply influenced by contact with the outside world. Sculpture is the best-known African art form. While today many artists continue to produce sculptures for religious purposes, many also make copies for the tourist trade. At African universities, Western artistic principles are taught, and traditional forms often are used for decorative effect rather than for ritual. ..........In popular music, some indigenous elements have disappeared. However, traditional music, dance, and other art forms continue, although often separated from the ritualistic and social context.
HISTORY
African Origins and Early Society
Anthropological research supports the theory of the African origin of the human race. Excavations in various parts of the continent have unearthed remains of the forerunners of modern Homo sapiens. Scholars believe that groups of people formed in Africa migrated to other continents where they became established and spread. ..........Three main physical types evolved in Africa: Negroid, Bushmanoid, and Pygmoid. Of these, the Negroid became dominant. Between 1000 BC and 1000 AD, Bantu speakers, a Negroid sub- group, took control over much of southern Africa, nearly eliminating the Pygmoid and Bushmanoid people in the process. Only in Northern and Northeast Africa did Caucasoid groups from the Mediterranean area establish themselves in the pre-Christian and pre-Islamic eras. ..........Sophisticated societies developed early in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Kush Kingdom (700 BC-200 AD) arose in the area of present-day Sudan. The Axum Empire, established by 350 AD, comprised much of modern Ethiopia. The Kingdom of Ghana, stretching from the Atlantic Coast to Timbuktu, lasted from the 4th century AD to the 11th century AD. Most of this territory passed to the Mandingo Empire and then under the control of the Songhai Empire. By the 15th century AD, city states had formed on the Guinea Coast--Ife, Benin, and Yoruba. These highly organized states engaged in long-distance trade in salt, gold, cattle, horses, and ivory. ..........Arabic Muslim influence began in the 7th century AD, when the Arabs swept across North Africa. In the 10th century, Arabs pushed into West Africa, hastening the fall of the Kingdom of Ghana. The Mandingo and Songhai rulers were converted to Islam. Arabs also landed on the East African coast, founding Mogadishu and Mombasa and other trading centers.
European Contact
Portugal was the first European power to establish a foothold in Africa. The Portuguese began to explore the West Coast of Africa in the 13th century and established trading centers by the 15th century. A few years after Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope on the way to India, the Portuguese had established bases on the East African coast. In 1574, they also founded a settlement at Luanda, the present-day Angolan capital. In the 16th and 17th centuries the Spanish, English, French, and Dutch also set up trading posts along the Atlantic Coast. But there was no permanent settlement of Europeans in Africa except in the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope, established in 1652. English settlement in Southern Africa began after the Cape Colony passed into English hands in 1815. In the 1899-1902 South African War, the British defeated the Dutch settlers, the Boers, who had expanded their control northeastward and affirmed British control of all present- day South Africa. (The Union of South Africa became a self- governing British Dominion in 1908 and, as such, a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth in 1961 and declared itself a republic.) ..........The slave trade, which was to become an important part of European commerce with Africa, began in earnest in the 16th century after the discovery of the New World and the development of plantation economies. Until the European powers in the early 19th century agreed to suppress this trade, millions of black Africans had been transported across the Atlantic to labor on plantations of North and South America. The Arabs, too, had engaged in the slave trade, mainly from their footholds on the Indian Ocean. ..........The slave trade became more important than commerce with Arabs in the Sudan and consolidated the power of tribal rulers who had monopolized this profitable activity. Dependent on these rulers for the success of their commerce, European traders remained confined primarily to the coastal fringe.
The Scramble for Africa
Until 1880, African native rulers controlled 80% of the continent. But European power politics triggered a race among Britain, France, Germany, and Italy to seize African territory. At the Berlin West African Conference in 1884-85, the powers agreed that territorial claims would be recognized only if the territory was already under effective occupation. ..........By the outbreak of World War I, in 1914, only Liberia (established by private initiative as a haven for freed American slaves in 1822 and declared an independent republic in 1847) and Ethiopia remained free of foreign control. Within 30 years, the European powers had created 40 new territories, which bore little relation to the boundaries between tribes and native kingdoms. ..........European technology and financial resources made conquest inevitable. However, their encroachments often were fiercely resisted, as in Ghana, where the British subdued the Ashanti only after three campaigns, and in Sudan, where they were victorious only after a difficult 15-year struggle. Only the Ethiopians were able to resist European incursions successfully, defeating Italian invaders in the Battle of Adua in 1898. ..........European rule in Africa was modified at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference ending World War I. The victorious powers set up the League of Nations "mandate" system under which the German colonies and certain former Turkish territories were transferred to Allied powers to be held in trust. In Africa, the bulk of German East Africa became the British mandate of Tanganika (present-day Tanzania), while Belgium was entrusted with present-day Rwanda and Burundi. German Cameroon and Togoland were split between the United Kingdom and France, and German Southwest Africa (present- day Namibia) was transferred to South Africa. ..........The United Nations, established in 1945 at the end of World War II, replaced the mandate system with the International Trusteeship System to promote the progressive development of the trust territories (former mandates) toward self-government or independence. The United Nations also emphasized the right of all people to self-government.
Movement Toward Independence
Many factors helped create a climate favoring independence. These included participation of African soldiers in World Wars I and II; the growth of African nationalist movements (partly inspired by the idea of self-determination, motivating the World War I peace settlement and the Anglo-American Atlantic Charter of 1941, which proclaimed the right of all peoples to choose their form of government); and realization by the European powers that the burdens of empire were too great. ..........Before the wave of African independence began in 1957, the only independent countries were Liberia, Ethiopia, and white-ruled South Africa. (Sudan had become independent in 1956 after a national referendum based on an agreement between Egypt and the United Kingdom, former joint administrators of the country.) Led by the Gold Coast (later Ghana), the Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire), and French Guinea (Guinea), a host of Sub-Saharan countries in rapid succession gained political independence (usually without violence) from their colonial rulers. ..........Portugal, the first to establish a foothold in Sub-Saharan Africa, was the last to give up its colonies. In 1951, the government had incorporated the colonies into Portugal as overseas territories (without, however, granting civil equality to the non- assimilated native populations). In the 1960s, Portugal had to commit large forces in the colonies to contain various armed independence movements. The problems caused by these wars led to the 1974 military coup in Lisbon, after which Portugal began to relinquish its colonies. ..........Independence was long delayed in two other areas--Southern Rhodesia and South West Africa. In 1965, a government controlled by British settlers declared Southern Rhodesia to be independent. But pressure from abroad and the strength of the black nationalist movements forced the minority government to give up its control and permit national elections, after which, in 1980, the state of Zimbabwe was created. ..........South West Africa, originally a German colony, was given to South Africa in mandate after World War I. After World War II, South Africa refused to accept the authority of the UN Trusteeship Council over South West Africa and treated the area as another South African province. Renamed the Republic of Namibia, South West Africa did not achieve its independence until 1990 as the result of complicated international negotiations in which the United States played a leading role. ..........The newly independent states, having a common colonial background and facing common problems, recognized the need for cooperation. In 1963, they joined with the North African countries to form the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to consult on their problems and organize specialized agencies to promote economic development. Since the new states assumed control in territories created by colonial powers who ignored linguistic or cultural groupings, one of the main points of the OAU Charter was respect for established boundaries.
America's Early Ties to Africa
Unofficial American relations with Sub-Saharan Africa date from the earliest days of North American settlement. European ships brought slaves to American shores in 1619, and Americans also engaged in this trade. The slave trade sometimes was associated with other commerce, as in the profitable "triangular trade" carried on by New England merchants. In this trade, New England ships carried rum to Africa, where it and other goods were exchanged for slaves; the slaves were taken to the West Indies, where they were exchanged for molasses; finally, the molasses was carried to New England to be distilled into rum. ..........The preferred fuel oil of the 18th century--whale oil--also provided a link between America and Africa. Following ocean currents to Africa, New England whalers reached the Guinea coast in 1763 and Walvis Bay in South West Africa in 1770. Ship captains hired Africans as sailors and purchased local goods to reprovision their ships. ..........US trade with Africa grew rapidly in the first years of American independence. Ivory, wax, gold dust, whale oil, peanuts, and hides (used in the New England shoe industry) were imported by US traders. During the Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815) Africa's European settlers, cut off from Europe, became dependent on American rum, beef, flour, tobacco, and lumber. The US Government, however, never acquired a foothold in Africa to support the well- established trade, but it did open a commercial agency in Bissau and consulates in The Gambia and in Angola. ..........Trade with East Africa was carried on largely through the island of Zanzibar, which, in the early 19th century, was ruled by the Arabian Sultan of Muscat. Ivory was the chief item of trade. The US-Muscat commercial treaty signed in 1833 was the first US treaty with a non-European African potentate. A consulate was opened in Zanzibar in 1836. After the American Civil War, the United States increasingly lost its pre-eminence in West African trade to Britain and Germany, re-establishing its strong position only in the 1920s. ..........An important aspect of early relations with Africa was the effort to repatriate freed slaves. In 1816, a group of prominent Americans, mainly southerners, including George Washington's nephew Bushrod, Henry Clay, Francis Scott Key, and John Randolph (with the support of President James Madison), founded the American Colonization Society. In 1822, the society founded a West African colony for freed American slaves which was named Liberia. In 1847, Liberia became an independent republic. Between 1822 and 1892, more than 16,000 freed American slaves settled in Liberia, forming a ruling elite known as Americo-Liberians.
Growing American Influence
The United States, though not a colonial power, contributed to introducing Western knowledge and skills into Africa during the period of colonial rule. Churches and other private organizations opened schools in many of the colonies. Thousands of Africans came to the United States to study. While here, many of them, including some of the leaders in the movement for independence (among them Kwame Nkrumah and Hastings Banda), were influenced by the ideas of W.E.B. DuBois, founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and of the Pan-African Movement, and of Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and the initiator of the back-to-Africa movement. ..........Official American policy also encouraged black African interests. At the Paris Peace Conference that ended World War I, President Woodrow Wilson promoted the League of Nations "mandate" system established for the former German colonies in Africa. And during World War II, the United States worked actively for a reformed system of collective security, the United Nations, established in 1945, with its emphasis on the right of all people to self-government.
Issues and Problems of Independence
Sub-Saharan African countries conduct their foreign relations not only bilaterally but also through multilateral organizations, of which the most important is the Organization for African Unity. The United Nations, where they constitute one-third of the membership, also is a key instrument of their international policy because of the organization's responsibility to eliminate colonialism and encourage economic development. They also work through UN subsidiary organizations such as the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), created in 1958, which has an exclusively African membership. Originally, the ECA-sponsored African Development Bank, inaugurated in 1964, also was exclusively African. ..........The Sub-Saharan countries also constitute about one-third of the membership of the Non-Aligned Movement (founded in 1961 to help eliminate the vestiges of colonialism and increase the Third World's share of the world's economic resources) and of the Group of 77 (an association of more than 120 developing countries founded in 1964 for the purpose of preparing common positions for international economic negotiations). ..........Sub-Saharan African countries also belong to the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), a group of more than 60 developing countries (two-thirds African) enjoying trade and aid preferences with the European Community (EC). Created by the 1975 Lome Convention, the group originally was limited to former colonies of EC members but now includes Liberia and Ethiopia. ..........Many countries have special associations with their former colonial powers. The 17 former British colonies in Africa belong to the 49-member Commonwealth, which, when restricted to the UK and the European-ruled self-governing dominions, was known as the British Commonwealth of Nations.
Developing Stable Governments
The new countries, like many other countries released from colonial rule, faced the problem of developing stable and representative governments. It was difficult after independence to bring about national cohesion in countries created within the boundaries set by colonial administrations. Tribal loyalties remained strong, and the various peoples had little experience with representative government on a one-man, one-vote basis. Some leaders maintained that national authority could not be established within a multi- party system. Julius Nyerere, former president of Tanzania and one of the original group of independence leaders, argued that the single-party system was more democratic "providing it is identified with the nation as a whole." In addition, some of the political movements that achieved dominance were imbued with Marxist-Leninist ideas calling for one-party rule. And in many places, the armed forces represented a strong nucleus of power. Consequently, in many countries military dictatorships and single- party regimes were established.
Regional Conflicts
Although national boundaries followed those set by colonial administrations, territorial conflict between African states has been relatively limited. The OAU principle of respect for the established boundaries rarely has been violated. The most enduring boundary dispute is that between Ethiopia and Somalia, which arises from Somalian claims to the Ethiopian Ogaden region inhabited by Somali peoples. With Soviet and Cuban aid, Ethiopia repulsed the Somali invasion of 1977. In the 1988 peace treaty, the two parties "agreed to disagree" and to recognize the existing borders. ..........Chad has been the victim of Libyan aggression, which began with Libya's occupation in 1973 of a part of northern Chad known as the Aozou Strip. Libya, intervening in the Chadian civil war in 1980, announced its intention to annex Chad. After French and Zairean forces had come to the aid of the Chadian Government, Libya, in 1984, agreed to remove its forces. However, it still has a number of troops in Chad.
Civil Wars
Far more disruptive have been the civil wars, which, in some cases also have prompted foreign intervention. Some civil strife results from efforts of ethnic or religious minorities to achieve independence or better treatment. From 1967 to 1970, Nigeria was torn by the war of the Biafran secession, a regional and ethnic struggle which ended after much destruction with the defeat of the secessionist rebels. In Sudan, the majority northerners--"Arab" Muslims, and the minority southerners--Africans, either Christian or animists--have been unable to agree on how to share power and resources. ..........The most enduring of the civil conflicts--between the Ethiopian Government and the Eritrean secessionists--ended in May 1991, when the Mengistu regime fell. The transitional government in Ethiopia and the provisional government in Eritrea have established a working relationship and have wisely deferred for 2 years the holding of a referendum on Eritrean independence. ..........Civil war has been raging in the two former Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique almost from the moment of their independence. In 1975, following the collapse of Portuguese authority in Angola, the Marxist Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) came into power, and soon received Soviet materiel and Cuban troops (eventually to number some 60,000). ..........Another resistance group, known as the National Union for the Total Liberation of Angola (UNITA), survived as the only alternative to the Soviet-bloc and Cuban-supported MPLA. UNITA at first received Chinese and South African support, while South Africa occasionally intervened with troops in the struggle. After the repeal, in 1985, of the Clark amendment prohibiting US aid to the anti-government forces, UNITA began to receive appropriate and effective support from the United States. This support was designed to convince the MPLA that there could be no military solution to the conflict and to negotiate seriously with UNITA on a political settlement. This policy began to bear fruit in April 1990, when direct talks commenced under Portuguese mediation. ..........The United States and the Soviet Union have worked together to support Portuguese efforts. Following several negotiating sessions, the MPLA and UNITA began intensive discussions in Portugal in early April 1991 on remaining issues relevant to a cease-fire signing, with a goal of resolving these issues by April 30. Until national reconciliation, which includes free and fair internationally monitored elections, is achieved, the United States will not recognize a government in Angola. ..........In Mozambique another Marxist group, the Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), came to power when Portugal gave up the colony in 1975. FRELIMO set up a one-party socialist state and established close ties with the Soviet Union. The 1977 Mozambican-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation was followed by an influx of Soviet, East German, and Cuban economic, military, and secret police advisers. Shortly after independence, the anti-government Mozambique Resistance Movement (MR), later called the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), came into existence with Rhodesian support. After Rhodesia became independent in 1980, the South African Government began providing RENAMO with logistical support and training. South African President F.W. de Klerk has stopped official support for RENAMO. Zimbabwean troops also entered Mozambique to protect the rail line from Zimbabwe to the Mozambican port of Maputo.
ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Uneven Distribution of Resources
Sub-Saharan Africa has considerable mineral resources, including bauxite, chromium, cobalt, copper, diamonds, gold, iron ore, and petroleum. It has a large supply of arable land and economically useful forest. And in most countries, there is a plentiful supply of labor. ..........But the resources are not evenly distributed. The chief food- producing areas form two belts, one across West Central Africa from Senegal to Kenya, another from southern Tanzania to the northern provinces of South Africa. The area of significant fisheries is limited to the Angolan, South African, Namibian, Tanzanian, and Kenyan coasts, and part of the coasts of Madagascar. The location of recoverable minerals is even more severely restricted: South Africa has the major deposits of chromium, industrial diamonds, and platinum group metals; Gabon and South Africa, of manganese; Zaire and Zambia, of copper. Nigeria, Gabon, Angola, Cameroon, and Congo are the major producers of crude petroleum, with Nigeria, in 1990, accounting for 62% of total Sub- Saharan African production and 3% of world production. In contrast, countries of the interior Sahel have no easily recoverable natural resources.
Natural Disasters and Political Turmoil
Natural disasters, civil strife, and international wars have inhibited economic development in many countries since independence. Drought is a serious threat to food production in many regions of the continent. In 1991, poor rainfall contributed to serious food shortages and economic paralysis across the Sahel, in the Horn of Africa, and in the southern region. Along with drought, the Sahel is experiencing desertification--the encroachment of desert on once useful grazing and agricultural land. In some countries-- notably Ethiopia, Chad, Somalia, Mozambique, Angola, and Sudan--civil strife has compounded the damage wrought by natural disasters.
Displaced Persons
Civil strife, warfare, and natural disasters have created a massive movement of population--the largest in the world today. Many of these persons are not refugees in the strict sense of the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees (which was designed chiefly for European political refugees), because they are fleeing natural disasters and are attempting to escape from violence and can return to their homelands only when conditions have returned to normal. In addition, many are easily assimilable in the host countries where the inhabitants are of the same ethnic background. But they do meet the OAU definition of refugees adopted in 1974, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has taken responsibility for assisting these refugees whose support greatly burdens the economy of the host states. ..........Of the 1990 worldwide total of about 15 million refugees, an estimated 5 million are in Africa, two-fifths of these in the Horn, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Sudan. There are some 400,000 Sudanese and 530,000 Somali refugees in Ethiopia, while Sudan hosts some 700,000 Ethiopians and 69,000 Chadians. The refugee total includes 1.2 or 1.3 million Mozambicans (mostly in Malawi), 400,000 Angolans (mostly in Zaire), 250,000 Burundians, and 225,000 Rwandans. Since June 1990, some 720,000 Liberian refugees (more than one-fifth of the country's population) have sought asylum in the neighboring countries of Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, and Sierra Leone.
Inefficient Government Policies
Natural and man-made economic difficulties have been exacerbated in many countries by government policies that work against the development of free markets which attract foreign investment. The newly independent countries all adopted plans for economic and social development, making use of the UN agencies concerned with economic development, intra-African agencies, and bilateral assistance. Many countries--not only those with an avowed Marxist-Leninist leadership--adopted central planning with government monopolies and regulated prices. The emphasis was often on industrial development. ..........Unfortunately, this was accompanied in many countries by a bias against agriculture. Instead of encouraging agriculture as a means to finance development and free markets, high export taxes were levied, food prices were kept artificially low (a subsidy for city dwellers), the prices of agricultural exports were set by the government, and exchange rates were kept high (which made the products less attractive to export). These were powerful disincentives to production, and the program of low prices and high taxes was self-defeating. Since independence, food production per capita in Sub-Saharan Africa has fallen. Food imports and food assistance have increased significantly to feed a growing population. ..........While food production declined, population grew rapidly-- some 3.2% annually in the 1980s, the result of continued high fertility rates and of a reduction in the annual death rate because of improved public health and sanitation. ..........On a more positive note, by 1991, almost all African countries were firmly embarked on more market-based economic reform programs. Working with the international financial institutions and bilateral donors, reforms were already beginning to pay off in a few countries.
Poverty
Because of the problems previously noted as well as lower commodity prices, Sub-Saharan Africa, though it shared in the general economic progress made by the developing world since 1960, lost ground in some respects and could not sustain the growth into the 1980s. As measured by the World Bank, Sub-Saharan Africa had a disproportionate amount of poverty in 1988: While the average per capita income in all low- and middle-income countries was $799, in all of Sub-Saharan Africa, it was only $346. ..........There are other indications that Sub-Saharan Africa is lagging behind other developing regions. The major educational objective of all African states has been to increase primary school enrollment. But although the enrollment rate of 55% achieved in 1985 was double that of 1965, Africa, in this respect, still lags behind other developing regions. Life expectancy at birth of 50 years (though having risen by nearly 25% since 1965) remains the lowest in the world. Per capita calorie consumption--at 2,011 the lowest in the world in 1988--actually fell from the 1965 level. And per capita GDP (a good indication of the problems) was nearly flat in the 1970s and declined by 1.2% in the 1980s.
Foreign Debt
Beginning with the worldwide recession of the 1970s, Sub-Saharan Africa acquired a serious burden of foreign debt, mostly to other governments and official international financial institutions. In the 1980s, debt payments ranged from 30% to 80% of exports. ..........Whether total external debt in Sub-Saharan Africa measured as a percentage of GDP (97%) or exports (362%), the continent ranks as the most heavily debt-burdened. Debt rescheduling and special programs for the poorest countries have helped, however, to keep total debt service requirements below those in some other regions.
Cities With More Than 1 Million Inhabitants
Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire Accra, Ghana Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Douala, Cameroon Kinshasa, Zaire Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa Nairobi, Kenya Lagos and Ibadan, Nigeria
Early American Consulates in Africa
Gambia. A US consular post was established at Bathurst in British Gambia with the appointment of W.M. Haxton as consul on October 17, 1834. Closed in 1900, the post was not re-opened until 1950, when it was included in the consular jurisdiction of Dakar, then- French West Africa. Zanzibar. The first US consul to Zanzibar was appointed on March 11, 1836. The Consulate was closed in 1915 and not re-opened until 1961. Angola. In 1853, the US Government appointed a "United States Commercial Agent" to guard against illegal slave trade. Guinea-Bissau. Original US consular representation was established in 1859, when the first consul was appointed. (###)
Captain Paul Cuffe, 1759-1817
Paul Cuffe, born on January 17, 1759, was the son of Cuffe Slocum, a slave. His mother, Ruth Moses, was a Wampanoag Indian. Paul changed his name to Cuffe, basing his identity on African and Indian descent. He became a farmer-mariner but accumulated property primarily in shipping. ..........Beginning with small open fishing vessels for local trading, Cuffe became captain of a succession of boats and ships used for fishing, trading, and whaling in places such as Chesapeake, the West Indies, Europe, and Cape Horn. He owned one-third of his largest ship Alpha (268 tons), which he sailed to the Baltics for Swedish iron and Russian hemp. His prize ship, Traveller (109 tons), was built in 1807 and used for trading to Europe and on African colonization voyages. Cuffe also made one trip on the Traveller to investigate the possibility of establishing a settlement for freed American slaves.
Organization of African Unity
The Organization of African Unity (OAU) is the most prominent and encompassing organization on the African continent. Founded in May 1963, it includes all independent African states except the Republic of South Africa and Morocco.
Members
Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe. (###)