Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Discusses African Continent and U.S. Policy…

On Friday U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spearheaded a ministerial session of officials and leaders from within Africa to discuss ongoing issues and policy priorities from the perspective of the U.S.   [Speech Video and Transcript]

[Transcript] SECRETARY TILLERSON: Thank you. And good morning, everyone. It really is my honor to welcome all of you to the State Department this morning.

And we are grateful to see so many friends and partners here in the United States, and appreciate you traveling to be with us today for this event.

I have been very eager to host this ministerial meeting to bring together leaders from the continent to address our shared goals and, as I was sharing with the chairman of the African Union yesterday evening, I have not had the chance during my time as Secretary of State to travel to the continent.

In my prior life, I came to your continent a lot and I visited many of your countries. But I do look forward to coming early next year. We have a trip that’s in the planning now, so – but in the meantime, really did not want to wait that long to get this group together. So very eager to host this ministerial meeting and appreciate you all coming to address our shared goals and challenges, and I look forward to a full day of discussions on how we can work together to achieve those shared goals.

I know all of us are following very closely the events in Zimbabwe and they are a concern to I know each of you, they are a concern to us as well, and we all should work together for a quick return to civilian rule in that country in accordance with their constitution.

Zimbabwe has an opportunity to set itself on a new path – one that must include democratic elections and respect for human rights.

Ultimately, the people of Zimbabwe must choose their government. In our conversations today, we have an opportunity to discuss concrete ways that we could help them through this transition.

Our aim today is to expand and enrich the United States’ relationship with Africa along three fronts that we’re going to be discussing today: promoting trade and investment; encouraging good governance; and countering terrorism.

Let me briefly touch on how these issues will help us strengthen U.S.–Africa relations and our ties in the coming decades.

We’re going to begin today’s proceedings with a discussion on ways we can work together to expand trade and investment, and grow economic opportunities that benefit the people of Africa and the American people.

Trade and investment between the United States and African countries is growing. U.S. exports to Sub-Saharan Africa grew from $17 billion in 2010 to more than $25 billion in 2014. And last year, the U.S. direct investment in Africa grew to $57.5 billion – the highest level to date.

Our trade and investment is stronger than it’s ever been, and the United States sees even more opportunity ahead in the coming years.

Africa is a growing market with vast potential. Five of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies are in Africa, and consumer spending there is projected to exceed $2 million[1] by the year 2025.

By the year 2030, Africa is expected to represent about one quarter of the world’s workforce and consumers, with a population of more than 1.7 billion. By 2050, the population of the continent is projected to double to more than 2.5 billion people – with 70 percent of that population being under the age of 30. All of these young people will have expectations for entering the workforce. The challenge is how to prepare Africa with the appropriate education for its workforce, and to prepare economically and financially for this future, so our partnership can facilitate greater growth and prosperity for both the United States and Africa.

This administration seeks to refocus our economic relationship squarely on trade and investment – to encourage policies that increase openness and competition within Africa.

A more economically vibrant and competitive Africa will grow the middle class, increase standards of living, and make the entire continent more prosperous.

I am also pleased to welcome with us today USAID Administrator Mark Green, and I look forward to his comments on this topic shortly. We also look forward to hearing from private sector leaders, and are very eager to learn more about your views and priorities for expanding trade and investment. Through Power Africa, for example, the United States and its partners have helped the private sector bring 82 power projects to Sub-Saharan Africa.

But economic growth and lasting prosperity can only thrive in environments of good government – good governance.

So we are going to discuss at our working lunch today how a country’s success is firmly rooted in good governance, which fosters strong, accountable relationships between citizens and their elected officials, how that drives economic progress, and improves overall security.

Lasting peace and economic growth are undermined when governments fail to provide good governance, respect for human rights, or to uphold the law.

Peaceful, democratic transitions are important and contribute to stability. But democracy is not just about elections, and elections are neither the first nor are they the final step in the long road to building resilient democracies.

Democracy requires the inclusive, peaceful participation of a nation’s citizens in the political process. That includes freedoms of expression and association, an independent press, a robust and engaged civil society, a government that is transparent and accountable to all of its citizens, and a fair and impartial judiciary. Corruption and weak governance, restriction on human rights and civil society, and authorities who ignore the rule of law and change their constitutions for personal gain are all obstacles to the development of prosperous, free societies. In fact, an African Union study estimated that corruption costs the continent roughly $150 billion a year.

This is money that should be used to create jobs, build schools and hospitals, improve security, and provide social services.

A quality basic education is another powerful contributor to economic growth and development – one that reduces poverty and provides children and youth the skills they need for gainful employment. We have worked with you to build the capacity for your national education system to offer quality education for more people, and we look forward to continued partnership to address low literacy rates, teacher shortages, and greater access to education across all of Africa.

We encourage our African counterparts to address these many governance challenges, and in doing so, unlock your country’s development potential. We look forward to discussing today specific ways to strengthen democracy and promote better governance over our lunch discussions.

The United States also stands with you as we work to defeat the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, which have taken so many innocent lives in Africa and across the world. That will be our final topic of discussion today.

We are particularly grateful for the work of African countries to expand multinational and regional cooperation to counter terrorism. The United States is committed to partnering with you to defeat ISIS, al-Qaida, and other terrorist groups across your continent.

Just last month, I announced that the United States pledged up to an additional $60 million in funding to support the G-5 Sahel Joint Force in counterterrorism efforts, and to bolster our regional partners in their fight to provide security and stability.

The United States, as the largest peacekeeping capacity-building contributor, is also helping over 20 African countries train, deploy, and sustain peacekeepers. This year, such efforts have already supported the training of more than 27,000 African peacekeepers to the UN and AU missions.

But we recognize that the force of arms alone is insufficient.

It is imperative that we work together, and with civil society, to address the root causes of violent extremism. To create sustainable peace, we must also combat marginalization, strengthen accountability, and create more economic opportunity.

Before I conclude, let me stress that the United States seeks greater support from our African partners on growing global security matters, including North Korea.

We appreciate the statements condemning the DPRK missile launches that many of your governments have made. But all nations must act to implement UN sanctions in full and cut off all UN-proscribed ties.

Further, I urge you to take additional measures to pressure the DPRK by downgrading your diplomatic relationships with the regime, severing economic ties, expelling all DPRK laborers, and reducing North Korea’s presence in your country in all other ways it may be found.

The DPRK presents a threat to all of our nations. Everyone – including each country represented here today – must play a part in this peaceful pressure campaign to convince the DPRK that the only way to achieve true security and respect from the international community is to abandon its current path and choose a meaningful dialogue about a different future.

The United States will continue to support your efforts to secure your citizens, encourage stronger institutions and better governance, and promote greater economic growth for each of your countries.

I really do look forward to our time together today and in particular to hear how you are working to address these challenges, and how we can learn from your experience and strengthen this already very fruitful partnership.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

[Transcript Link]

This entry was posted in North Africa, Secretary of State, Secretary Tillerson, South Africa, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Discusses African Continent and U.S. Policy…

  1. ZurichMike says:

    It is dizzying how much Trump and his team are engaged and doing things. Imagine how much they could really get done if they had REAL support of the Republican-led House and Senate.

    Liked by 23 people

    • Pharnham says:

      I sympathize with your sentiment, however I’m still unconvinced that any regime using the terms “terrorism and violent extremism” rather than “Islamic Jihad” is actually mentally capable of defeating it.


      • ZurichMike says:

        Classic troll: Agree with “sentiment” and then post false facts without attribution or citation.

        Do an internet search for “Trump radical Islamic terrorism” and you’ll see he mentions that all the time.

        HuffPo is missing an idiot.

        Liked by 15 people

        • Sporty says:

          I can’t help to wish the term radical was jettisoned. It’s just plain Islamic terror.

          Liked by 4 people

        • Pharnham says:

          You’ve gotten rather personal here. What false facts am I posting? The fellow above didn’t say anything about Islam or Jihad, but rather used the unspecific “terrorism and violent extremism” terms.

          Why the animus? I haven’t said anything untoward or controversial.


          • Cuppa Covfefe says:

            No, just false.

            Liked by 3 people

          • A.D. Everard says:

            From the speech above: “The United States is committed to partnering with you to defeat ISIS, al-Qaida, and other terrorist groups across your continent.”

            Naming names. Also: “Just last month, I announced that the United States pledged up to an additional $60 million in funding to support the G-5 Sahel Joint Force in counterterrorism efforts…”

            Liked by 1 person

            • Pharnham says:

              Fair enough. But I’d like to see some real focus on precisely what we are attempting to defeat. If you are reluctant to name your enemy … and Isis and Al Qaeda are subsets of the enemy, defeating only those two does not defeat the enemy … than you can’t expect to prevail.

              An acknowledgement needs to be made that what we fight is not this or that group, but a religious ideology that seeks our destruction. Islamic Jihad.

              Liked by 1 person

              • A.D. Everard says:

                Remember too that the msm is very deliberately under-reporting any positive action of this administration. There is so much going that is outright ignored in the news.

                Liked by 5 people

                • Pharnham says:

                  I voted for Donald Trump, and I’m a strong supporter of this administration. I also voted for Ronald Reagan and was a ridiculously over-the-top supporter in those days. No regime is perfect, and I think it’s well for free people to regard their rulers as fallible.

                  I don’t think our current regime is perfect in all cases, and I’m particularly disappointed in what I see as a softening of the “plain talk” we loved from President Trump when it comes to Islam. The regime seems to be softening a bit, and we can’t beat them if we go all wobbly.

                  We now have millions of Jihadis in America, concentrations in Michigan and Minnesota alone big enough to take control of state governments. This is not time to go limp.

                  Liked by 2 people

              • piper567 says:

                Pharnam…I have noticed that Trump modifies his terminology depending upon his audience.
                I do no think it would make friends, for example, for him to speak of Islamic terrorists in front of Muslims. Not so much that we are making friends here, but it would be nice if such an audience at least listened, if the content of what he was saying wasn’t rejected due to terminology.
                In front of a rally crowd, he needn’t modify his speech, but I happen to think people all over the world heard him say he would bomb the sh!t out of ISIS…so, his message gets out both ways.
                He is diplomatic when it is called for.
                And he may have support from some Islamic folks bc he was not overt in his language.


          • ZurichMike says:

            Read the article. He used the word terrorism. Not all terrorists are Muslim. Lord’s Resistance Army? And is this really all you have to say about his speech or policy being announced? This article is about Africa and what the US will be doing on that continent. You attempt to distract and diminish by focusing on a single phrase, and then play the victim card.

            Classic troll, part 2.

            Liked by 2 people

        • TomF says:

          Good spot Mike.
          Following his previous posts on this thread makes it pretty obvious


          • Pharnham says:

            My reading of the posting guidelines here indicate that your post, since it is designed to inflame and contains no relevant content, is a violation of blog policy.

            I’m not inclined to report violations, people being as they are, but it would be nice if you could refrain from the personal invective and challenge me on the points. I wasn’t aware that being anti-Jihad made anyone a “troll.”

            As I understand it, a troll is someone who calls other people names and such, rather than engaging in substantive conversation.

            Liked by 2 people

  2. lastinillinois says:


    Oh boy!

    Is the Trump Admin about to take ‘the Africa issue’ away from the Dems?

    The Dems have been using ‘africa fixes’ to get black votes for decades –
    Are we about to witness a significant percentage of the black vote leave the Dem party?!?!?!

    Now is the time to make this move, with the Dems in complete disarray.

    If only the Repubs were actually an opposition party, they would be SO MUCH benefiting from the Trump Admin, for decades to come.

    Expect the Dems AND Repubs to up their assault on the Trump Admin now …….

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Molly says:

    David Wilezol is an amazing speechwriter and Tillerson’s delivery is always spot-on, imo. Very interesting speech. I hope the DPRK action point is taken seriously and followed through.

    My favorite … “In fact, an African Union study estimated that corruption costs the continent roughly $150 billion a year. This is money that should be used to create jobs, build schools and hospitals, improve security, and provide social services.”

    Sounds so simple.

    Liked by 12 people

  4. zephyrbreeze says:

    ?Democracy requires the inclusive, peaceful participation of a nation’s citizens in the political process. That includes freedoms of expression and association, an independent press, a robust and engaged civil society, a government that is transparent and accountable to all of its citizens, and a fair and impartial judiciary.

    Civil society and social capital. Civil society builds social capital. Civil society is the third branch of society.

    If a country is only dominated by government and business, you get China. China doesn’t tolerate civil organizations.

    Civil organizations hold the answers. Churches make up 46% of civil society here in the US. As church attendance decreases, government steps up to fill the breech.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. hugofitch1 says:

    Good luck to T-Rex, but it’s hard to overlook the IQ elephant in the room.

    Borderline Deficiency (IQ 70-80), Moron (IQ 50-69), Imbecile (IQ 20-49) and Idiot (below 20). Mental deficiency is now generally called mental retardation.
    IQ Classifications –

    Liked by 3 people

    • Pharnham says:

      My observation of Americans tends to dispute the implicit assumption of your post. If high IQ is required to be a democracy, we wouldn’t have one here. I don’t think the failure of democracy in non-European cultures is due to relative IQ, but rather to tradition and culture.

      I think the Western notion that Democracy is so obviously superior to other forms that every culture in the world will readily adopt it … assuming proper economic conditions … is laughably naïve. It’s just Western cultural conceit.


      • hugofitch1 says:

        I don’t know if inferior cultures fail to foster high IQ citizenries, or if inherent traits of a given homogeneous population result in a low average national IQ, but the numbers are what they are. I do have no doubts about there being a corollary between Somalia’s 0.285 HDI and its 68 average IQ.

        I can’t imagine a form of governance you’d consider superior to the representative republic we have here in the US.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Pharnham says:

          I don’t believe relative IQ matters for much at all. What it means is that if you took 10,000 Africans and 10,000 Americans and put them all together you’d get 20 brain surgeons and most of them would be white.

          The remaining 19,980 people of both colors would still be dumb as rocks.


      • Carrie2 says:

        Pharnham, unfortunately many have heard we are a democracy for way too long because WE ARE A REPUBLIC by, for, etc. the People and democracy is not any of that. Might want to look up the video explaining the various types of governances there are and how fortunate our Founding Fathers gave us a Republic for freedom and futures and we do not and will not lose that Republic. We are free citizens and Congress has forgotten they were elected/hired to represent us instead of representing themselves and telling us what to do or accept. WRONG! and now they are learning we are a whole lot smarter than they and they are becoming more and more desperate. As I have said before, no candidate who has already had 2 terms should ever be re-elected again, so we need to start looking for real patriot candidates to replace the many, many gaps coming in 2018 for a new fresh start of a decent Congress and no hiding or protecting those like Franken and so many others and paying out our taxes to cover for them. We want that money reimbursed to our account and the names of all violators so they can be removed. So don’t smooth over Franken and none of the others, because we won’t allow it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Beenthere says:

      Your charts are a crock full of shi$!

      How can practically a whole continent be literally retarded? The sponsors of the 2nd referenced chart is the American Psychological Association & we all know how progressive they are!———– It’s been proven time and time again that progressives are inherently racists!!

      These ding dongs don’t know how to assess. An example, my daughter had a language disability. She was tested & assessed to have an IQ of 70 at 7 yrs of age. Majority of IQ tests are language based. Of course her scores would be low. Eventually she took appropriate IQ tests that was not language based & scored over 120.

      Again I will say this. Your referenced charts are racist!!!!


      • hugofitch1 says:

        This is the source of the world IQ map:

        These numbers came from a work carried out from 2002 to 2006 by Richard Lynn, a British Professor of Psychology, and Tatu Vanhanen, a Finnish Professor of Political Science, who conducted IQ studies in more than 80 countries.

        Richard and Tatu argue that differences in national income are correlated with differences in the average national intelligence quotient (IQ). They further argue that differences in average national IQs constitute one important factor, but not the only one, contributing to differences in national wealth and rates of economic growth.


        • trialbytruth says:

          So they argued that the chicken and then egg were both first.

          Regardless this chart is he ghly suspect. IQ testing theoretically measures a persons ability to learn. The scale is adjusted according to ones age. The the theory being the older you are the more exposure to problem solving(organic education). If one is is ending 90% of ones day working for food, it is safe to assume one has little time to contemplate how a clock works.

          In other words what kind of cockamamie methodology was used to create these results.


          • Beenthere says:

            Thank you for your common sense.
            People will cite any chart/study to justify their racism.


          • The most valuable thing I learned from a college statistics class is one can make them fit most any proposition. What that chart implies to me is that climate and inbreeding influence IQ. Cold climates exercise a survival-of-the-fittest winnowing that tropical ones do not. Areas often invaded and colonized dilute that affect, it would seem.


    • Carrie2 says:

      hugo, and unfortunately many muslim children have a very low IQ and it has been found difficult to teach them or for them to learn, so they wind up on our welfare. Must remember that a muslim must marry 1st cousin and after 1400 years this is the result. And, definitely have to close down the sharia areas, but then I would like to see all muslims removed and now that their country has been taken back and is rebuilding, they can go back and learn to work to build a better society with their belief system via the Qu’Ran because that society is not wanted nor needed on our soil to try and destroy our America.

      Liked by 2 people

    • auntiefran413 says:

      Is this possibly a genetic deficiency caused by inbreeding? I know nothing of the culture of these nations.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. daughnworks247 says:

    I like our T-Rex. Yes, I know so many of you think he’s not in our camp but most of the tumult is due to media.
    Next time you begin to doubt Rex, take a note how many times Elaine Chao has been criticized by the MSM. Remember our Sec of Transportation, the turtle’s wife?
    Why do you suppose that is???

    Liked by 1 person

  7. wodiej says:

    People in Africa have a distorted view of God. If you believe in a false God, your life will not be blessed. They support marriages to cousins and also a man having more than one wife. Interbreeding causes low IQ. Although what Trump and Tillerson are trying to do is admirable, it’s success will be dependent on many things.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. hellinahandbasket says:

    Africa “…population of more than 1.7 billion. By 2050, the population of the continent is projected to double to more than 2.5 billion people…”
    Well, there’s your problem right there. Growth rate which is DOUBLE the world’s rate.

    The world population from 1950 to 2030 is estimated to triple (over 80-years), but Africa’s will DOUBLE in 20-years. The more backwards/3rd-world a continent, the faster its population rises. Which we can see here on our streets of Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Los Angeles etc – welfare recipients with 5-8 children. The well-to-do resident of say, Manhattan, have at the most 1-2 kids.
    The more advanced a civilization, the slower its growth = to get a handle on poverty and pestilence, curb its growth. This observation seems like a no-brainer to me…?
    Can you imagine if the continent of North America DOUBLED its population in 20-years?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bugsdaddy says:

    I love the Eagle, Globe and Anchor on the T-Rex back. We (marines) will certainly have his back!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Robert W. says:

    ZurichMike called it the first time…. Pharnham is definitely a troll….


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