Africa, Meet Secretary of State John Kerry

Leslie Pitterson, writing at Ebony, explains why the current Massachusetts senator could be the right diplomat for improved relations with the continent.

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John Kerry (Getty Images)

Leslie Pitterson, writing at Ebony, explains why the current Massachusetts senator could be the right diplomat for improved relations with the continent.

... While Africa's economic growth has weathered the financial crisis, the US has not rebounded at a comparable pace. The lingering effects of the crisis have hindered American investment on the continent, causing the US to fall far behind Africa's largest investors, China and India. Still some US businesses have committed to significant investments. Earlier this year, Hilton announced its plans to expand its hotel chain with locations in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Ghana. While private US businesses face more domestic regulation on their investments, the US needs for its policymakers to seek to strengthen its economic policies in Africa.

As a supporter of extending the African Growth and Opportunity Act, Kerry was part of the effort to provide 200,000 African workers with jobs. As Secretary of State, Kerry's main challenge will be seeing beyond Foggy Bottom's penchant for viewing Africa through a humanitarian lens to seeing it as a major economic partner.  

Addressing Africa's growth as well as its conflicts could be a chance for the US to turn the page in its dealing on the continent. While he may not be the nominee that some progressives hoped for, Kerry could be the quiet diplomat that US relations with Africa needs.

Read Leslie Pitterson's entire piece at Ebony.

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