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U.S. Department of State
93/05/21 Speech before 23rd African American Institute Conference
Office of the Spokesman

Address by
Secretary State Warren Christopher
before the 
23rd African-American Institute Conference

Reston, Virginia
May 21, 1993

The United States and Africa:  A New Relationship

Good morning, Maurice Tempelsman, Vivian Derryck, friends:  I welcome 
this opportunity to speak to you today about the Clinton 
Administration's approach to Africa.  I am especially pleased to be the 
first Secretary of State ever to address the African-American Institute.

Our Administration is well aware of  what you have accomplished, through 
40 years of dedicated work, in building better ties between America and 
Africa, and in helping the people of Africa build better lives for 

Next week, the second Africa/African-American Summit convenes in 
Libreville, Gabon.  Conceived by the Reverend Leon Sullivan, this Summit 
brings together Africans and African-Americans to form bonds of 
friendship, share ideas, and do business together.  I am pleased that 
our new Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, George Moose, will be 
leading the U.S. Government delegation.  Congressman John Conyers is 
leading the Congressional delegation to this important conference.

America and Africa are linked in so many different ways.

As the world's oldest democracy, we have an enduring interest in the 
success of the new democracies of Africa.  As a multi-racial society, 
the U.S. is especially encouraged by the approaching transition to 
democracy in South Africa.

And there are links of conscience--and links of cooperation.

When a child dies of hunger in Africa, that tragedy touches us here in 
America.  When American scientists seek a cure for AIDS, they carry the 
prayers and hopes of both Africans and Americans.  

When our Agency for International Development makes a substantial 
investment in child survival programs, that makes a difference in 
helping Africa to reduce infant mortality rates. And when the American 
company Merck provides a drug that frees millions of Africans from the 
devastating effects of river blindness, that action not only extends the 
frontiers of pharmacology, but it lessens the distance from America to 

That distance is also lessened by the end of the Cold War.  During the 
long Cold War period, policies toward Africa were often determined not 
by how they affected Africa, but by whether they brought advantage or 
disadvantage to Washington or Moscow.  Thankfully, we have moved beyond 
the point of adopting policies based on how they might affect the 
shipping lanes next to Africa rather than the people in Africa.  And 
that's an improvement.

In today's changed world, we can and will move to a productive new 
relationship with Africa.  The President and I are committed to building 
that new relationship based upon our common interests and our shared 
values.  The Clinton Administration will make Africa a high priority and 
give it the attention it deserves.

The Clinton Administration will provide strong and visible support for 
the movement to freedom in Africa--the movement toward democracies and 
toward free markets.  We will work with the nations of Africa to address 
the health, environmental and population issues that threaten lives and 
imperil sustainable development.  And we will help Africa build its 
capacity for preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution so that the 
people of that continent can live free of the terror of war.

Promoting Democracy And Human Rights

At the heart of our new relationship will be an enduring commitment to 
democracy and human rights--and that includes women's rights.  President 
Clinton has made it clear that promoting democracy and human rights is a 
pillar of American foreign policy.   And that pillar stands just as tall 
in Africa as it does in every part of the world.

It is democracies--not dictatorships --that offer the best means to 
defend human rights, to put African nations on the path toward progress 
and to address the vital social and economic concerns that cut across 
national borders.

The United States will work through our AID program and with the 
multilateral assistance and lending institutions to help Africa build 
its economic capacity.  Under the Clinton Administration, these global 
concerns will not be relegated to the footnotes of our foreign policy 
agenda.   Instead, they will be given top tier attention--the attention 
they deserve.

Today Africa has gained our attention and respect through the courageous 
efforts to build democracy and opportunity on that continent.  While the 
drive for democracy and free markets has attracted more recent attention 
in Eastern Europe and Latin America, the people of Africa are demanding 
their freedom as well.

Listen to the words of President Chiluba of Zambia:

     We know what is right.  Democracy is right.  The greatest lesson we 
can learn from the past 27 years is that freedom is at the core of every 
successful nation in the world and in Africa today.

The people of Africa know where their future lies:  not with corrupt 
dictators like Mobutu, but with courageous democrats in every part of 
the continent.  From Senegal to Benin, from Madagascar to Mali, African 
nations are building strong democratic institutions.  They recognize 
that democracy offers the only framework for tolerance and harmony 
because it safeguards individual rights and provides essential 
protection for minorities.

AAI has played an extraordinarily useful role in promoting democracy.  
You have monitored elections, trained officials, and provided civic 
education.  You understand that democracy must work not only on election 
day--but every day--through a vibrant civic culture and a commitment to 
free and open debate and the rule of law.

Democracy worked on election day last September in Angola.  But since 
then, the people of Angola have been denied the benefits of their 
participation in that election process.  President Clinton acknowledged 
the importance of that free and fair election when he announced this 
week that the United States now recognizes the Government of Angola.

We intend to remain actively engaged in promoting a negotiated 
settlement between the Angolan government and UNITA--a settlement that 
will enable all the people of Angola to enjoy the benefits of democracy.  
U.S. recognition is designed to help achieve that goal and to encourage 
UNITA to join the process of peace and reconciliation.  As President 
Clinton said, we hope UNITA will be a part of the government we 
recognize.  We continue to believe that there can be no military victory 
in Angola.  And I want to emphasize that the United States will not 
support those who pursue a military solution.

Now South Africa stands on the verge of its own transition to non-racial 
democracy.  The United States supports that peaceful transition.  We 
oppose those who seek to derail the negotiations and we reject those who 
resort to violence.

We hope that within a short time, a date will be set for a truly 
democratic election in South Africa.  That election will echo around the 
African continent and across the world as a roaring triumph of human 

The credit for that monumental achievement will belong most of all to 
those in South Africa who dedicated their lives--and in some instances, 
gave their lives--so that a new day of freedom would dawn.  Credit will 
belong to Nelson Mandela, who walked out of prison after 27 years--
unconquered, unbowed, standing tall in his belief that the people of 
South Africa could still build a future based upon the inherent worth 
and dignity of every human being.  

Credit will also belong to F.W. De Klerk, whose vital contribution can 
be measured by how far his views have evolved, and by how far a majority 
of white South Africans have come with him.  

The transition to non-racial democracy in South Africa is also the 
product of principled opposition to apartheid in the international 
community.  In the finest American political tradition, a coalition of 
conscience in this country has carried out a long and uplifting campaign 
against the apartheid system half a world away.  Our own sanctions have 
played an important role in the progress made to date.

The installation of a non-racial government in South Africa will 
resonate with every American, but especially with those in cities and 
towns across the nation who joined the effort to bring an end to 

In sharing the spirit and lessons of our own civil rights movement, we 
are certainly not saying that America has found every answer or that we 
have yet formed a perfect union here in the United States.  But we are 
committed to the basic principle that human rights are universal--that 
every citizen in every country ought to be judged as an individual, 
irrespective of race or economic condition.

South Africa's successful transition is important for Africa, the United 
States and the world.  The United States will help--and we expect the 
other industrial democracies to help as well.  Once a Transitional 
Executive Council has been put in place--and once a date for elections 
has been set--we will work with our G-7 partners to help South Africa 
re-enter the global economy.  We have urged the World Bank and the 
parties in South Africa to begin planning now the projects that will 
translate into economic growth.  Similarly, the American business 
community should be a part of the effort to help the people of South 
Africa build a strong and vibrant economy once the progress toward 
democracy is irreversible.

Unfortunately, South Africa has had no monopoly on the violation of 
human rights on the continent.  American policy must reflect that 
painful fact.  We cannot hold Africa to a lesser standard for human 
rights than we apply to other parts of the world.  I want to make clear 
that the United States will take human rights into account as we 
determine how to allocate our scarce resources for foreign assistance.  

The promotion of democracy is central to the goals of the Clinton 
Administration.  That is why President Clinton chose to invite the first 
President of a democratic Namibia, Sam Nujoma, as the first African head 
of state to be received at his White House.

Sustaining Africa's Capacity for Development

It is the democratic nations of Africa, reflecting the will of their 
people, that are best positioned to make the kind of economic changes 
that improve the lives of their citizens.  The development challenge 
facing most African nations remains imposing, but it is within the 
capacities of free market democracies to overcome.

Economic crises still afflict many of the continent's nations.  For many 
countries, per capita incomes have been stagnating or even falling; 
trade and investment flows have remained weak; debt burdens stunt the 
prospects for new growth.  Drought, famine and civil war have turned 
crises into calamities; no region of the continent has been spared the 
ravages of man or nature.

This is why the trend toward democracy in Africa must be reinforced by 
sustainable economic development.  The peace and stability that 
democracy brings can also lead to desperately needed private investment-
-and with it, development capital, technology transfer and technical 
expertise.  The trend toward disinvestment in Africa will only be 
reversed when Africa makes itself a more attractive place for new 
capital.  Applying the rule of law, reducing corruption, assuring the 
remittance of profits, and building more skilled workforces--all of 
these will help give Africa a far greater role in the global economy.

The first responsibility for building that capacity, of course, rests 
with African countries themselves.  But the developed nations of the 
world--including the United States--share a responsibility to help.  For 
the coming fiscal year, we are requesting bilateral development funding 
for Africa of $800 million.  In addition, we will continue to provide 
over half a billion dollars in humanitarian and other assistance to 

The United States and the international community will be more willing 
to support the economies of African nations that have embarked on 
serious reform.  We are working with other creditor nations to provide 
additional debt reduction for countries cooperating with IMF adjustment 
programs.  The Administration is requesting congressional support to 
enable the U.S. to participate in a multilateral debt relief effort.  
This new initiative would reward those poor countries implementing 
difficult reforms.

New trade policies will also help African nations to compete in global 
markets.  Protectionist barriers still impede Africa's competitiveness 
and prospects for growth.  Africa has much to gain from a successful 
conclusion of the Uruguay Round negotiations that the U.S. is pushing 
with all its might to complete by the end of this year.

Africa's economic future is inseparable from its environmental future.  
An Africa that is yielding to the desert sands and to the scrub, and an 
Africa whose soil is eroding, is an Africa diminishing its capacity to 
feed itself.  An Africa that is losing its forests and renewable water 
supplies is an Africa that is compromising its ability to meet its basic 
needs for the future.

One African leader has said that the problem of soil erosion has become 
so serious that his country, when viewed from space, appears to be 
bleeding into the ocean.  We must help to heal these environmental 
wounds.  To that end, AID will spend at least $70 million on 
environmental and natural resource projects in Africa this year.

One environmental challenge in which the U.S. was particularly helpful 
was the devastating drought in southern Africa.  Working with interested 
nations and with the donor community, the U.S. provided close to $1 
billion to respond to this catastrophe.  Today, the threat of famine is 
gone and the countries of the region are harvesting a good crop. 

Sustainable development cannot be accomplished without a renewed sense 
of urgency about population growth rates that will double the size of 
many African nations in 15-20 years.  Rapid population growth imperils 
efforts to combat poverty and to protect the environment.  No longer 
will the United States pretend--as we have done in recent years--that 
this problem does not exist.

Instead, we will work in partnership with nations in Africa and 
elsewhere to provide a full range of family planning and reproductive 
health services, and we will work to improve the status of women in 
Africa and worldwide.

Resolving Conflicts in Africa

Let me be clear:  The Clinton Administration's new relationship toward 
Africa will differ in important respects from the approach of the past 
12 years.  At the same time, I salute former President Bush for 
launching Operation Restore Hope--a military mobilization for a mission 
of mercy in Somalia.  What a proud moment it was to see American 
soldiers help to feed starving children in a place far from our shores 
but clearly close to our hearts.

Certainly America was not alone in that effort.  Other nations--
including many in Africa--were instrumental in providing relief.  While 
serious problems persist in Somalia, the efforts of the international 
community have alleviated the worst suffering and provided the 
opportunity to rebuild that nation.  Somalia's experience reminds us 
that the international community can respond compassionately and 
effectively.  But it also reminds us that we must not wait until 
thousands upon thousands of people have succumbed to starvation.

Now we need to apply these lessons in Sudan.  The civil war in Sudan has 
resulted in terrible suffering and appalling violations of human rights.  
The U.S. is working with governments in the region, the UN and others to 
bring the fighting to an end.  We must do whatever we can to ensure the 
delivery of adequate relief supplies to stem this tragedy, especially as 
the rainy season begins.  

In Liberia, where brutal conflict has raged, we support the efforts of 
the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore peace.  
We seek a negotiated settlement leading to full disarmament of all 
warring factions; free and fair, internationally-monitored elections; 
and the establishment of a democratic government.

But Liberia's future will be determined in Monrovia, not in Washington.  
Only Liberians can create a real and lasting peace.  Only Liberians can 
heal the deep scars in Liberian society.  And only they can determine 
who will lead them in the future.

Liberia's suffering must be brought to a swift and peaceful end.  That 
country deserves a better fate, like the future now dawning to the east 
across the continent in Eritrea.  The intertwined tragedies of Eritrea 
and Ethiopia are now happily receding into history, we hope, never again 
to be repeated.  After thirty years of civil war, an independent Eritrea 
has emerged, aided in part by peace talks sponsored by the Carter Center 
in Atlanta.

Just last month, Eritreans voted overwhelmingly for independence from 
Ethiopia in a UN-monitored referendum.  On April 27, Eritrea declared 
its independence--and the United States recognized it that same day.  
Alongside a newly democratic Ethiopia, this new nation of Eritrea can 
take its rightful place as a beacon of hope astride the Horn of Africa.

I have spoken of American efforts to end some of the military conflicts 
in Africa, but our most enduring contribution may be assisting Africa to 
build its own capacity for conflict resolution and peacekeeping.  The 
United States is working closely with the Organization of African Unity, 
providing support for peacekeeping in Rwanda and training for election 
monitors elsewhere.  As the OAU prepares to observe its thirtieth 
anniversary, it is important not only to recognize what that 
organization has done, but to focus on how it can play a greater role in 
preventing and stopping wars on the continent. 

I also want to acknowledge the often-overlooked involvement of Africans 
as peacekeepers abroad.  Nigeria and Kenya have been active in the 
former Yugoslavia--Cameroon in Cambodia--Ghana and Sierra Leone in 
Lebanon:  These and other African nations are making the world safer 
through their peacekeeping efforts.

The OAU and other African organizations need to step up mediation and 
preventive diplomacy to give people in Africa the chance to live free of 
war.  In the exercise of creative, often life-saving diplomacy, Africa's 
destiny will be shaped by Africans.

A New Relationship

Today I have outlined the basis for a substantially new American 
relationship with Africa.  It will be a new relationship in which 
Americans can assist Africans in building democratic institutions and 
laying the foundation for economic growth, but in which our role is to 
enhance--not to erase--African solutions.

It will be a new relationship grounded in our firm belief that while 
dictators in Africa are not yet extinct, the future lies in free 
elections and free institutions.

It will be a new relationship reinforced once a new South Africa has 
moved from repression to democracy.

The people and governments of Africa are moving toward democracy and 
free markets with a growing conviction that they are on the path to 
progress.  They are embarked on a uniquely African journey, as awe-
inspiring as anything on this continent of such breathtaking beauty.

It is a journey worthy of America's respect and support--and that 
respect and support is what I pledge today.  Thank you.


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