President Bush‘s speech to U.S.-Africa Business Summit attendees last week in Washington highlighted the administration’s long-term interest in supporting Africa, according to Vince Farley, former diplomatic adviser on Africa to President Carter at the Carter Center and a U.S. Department of State veteran.
But Mr. Farley, now an Atlanta-based consultant on African affairs, said the president’s call during the speech for Congress to appropriate billions of dollars for health, counter-terrorism and education programs in Africa highlights an ongoing debate over whether such monies are available.
Mr. Bush, who is to depart in early July on a tour of the continent, pledged $15 billion in January to help fight HIV/AIDS infection in Africa. His speech at the summit called for $100 million to develop counter-terrorism initiatives and another $200 million for education initiatives in Africa.
“Given the pressures to reduce current expenditures, one wonders if Congress can really appropriate such funds right now,” Mr. Farley told GlobalFax during an interview at the Washington summit.
Mr. Bush also called for Congress to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act beyond 2008 to 2018. The trade agreement provides duty-free access to the U.S. market for approximately 6,500 African products.
Mr. Farley highlighted AGOA as a major, and still as-yet untapped, opportunity for U.S. importers.
Currently, he said, approximately 500 of the 6,500 specified products are being exported from Africa under AGOA, which represents a major opportunity for increased imports and joint ventures on the continent.
For additional information about the summit, organized by the Corporate Council on Africa, visit www.africacncl.org Contact Mr. Farley via email at email@example.com