In keeping with the spirit of the Djibouti process, this is an opportunity for the former Somali military leaders to contribute to the rebuilding of their nation.
Washington, DC (Vocus) August 4, 2009
The US African Chamber of Commerce congratulates Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who is leaving for the African Trade Summit. The Washington DC-based USACC supports the relationship between the United States and nations of the African continent in their partnership toward stronger global economic ties and partnership.
The trip comes at an opportune time for African stakeholders as congress begins deliberating whether to harmonize its various trade preference program (including AGOA) into one program. Under the proposal, developing countries, such as Laos and Bangladesh that are currently paying duties on products would no longer do so going forward. In other words, African-based exporters to the United States currently enjoying duty-free access (and price advantage) could have new competition very soon.
While Asian stakeholders have been very active in making their desires know to congress and key officials in the Obama Administration, Washington is still waiting to hear the response from the African Colleagues. This would be an opportune time to voice opposition to the harmonization proposal (and thereby protect African Export Market Share) as the Secretary will be there in person and receptive to the Message.
President of the USACC Martin Mohammed says that America needs to engage Africa in the promotion of mutual trade in light of the accelerating growth and global strength of the emerging African markets. Mr. Mohammed is quick to note that in light of Africa's initiative in forging partnerships with China, the United States must initiate proactive steps to engage in a new vision toward Africa, i.e., moving away from the stereotypical stance of Africa as being dependent of US aid but rather, engaging that continent in utilizing its market strength and impact in the global economy.
Secretary Clinton is scheduled to meet the Somali president in Kenya. The USACC believes that part of the process of forging relations with Africa is not to ignore the desperate political, economic, and societal conditions of Somalia and the Somali people. The US must be careful not to mix humanitarian aid to Somalia with its political agenda for that besieged land.
The forthcoming meeting sponsored by the United Nations in Washington DC between the UN and the Somali military leaders as central to bringing back stability in Somalia by bringing back Somali warlords, will never be accepted by the Somali people, especially those who have fled that war-ravaged land and are now residing in the US and various regions of the world. The US-led Ethiopian Initiative has brought this condition and to continue this path will not only exacerbate the political problems in Somalia but affect the Horn of Africa region.
Mohammed in convinced that the solution must include a dialogue between various factors in Somalia to take place in Somalia and not in Kenya. Kenya, according to Mohammed, has become the "Somali Political Misery Broker."
UN Special Representative for Somali Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah needs to be fired for increasing political instability in Somalia and spending millions for Somali warlords. He recently said "In keeping with the spirit of the Djibouti process, this is an opportunity for the former Somali military leaders to contribute to the rebuilding of their nation."
Engaging the former leadership of the Somali forces is expected to enable them to share their institutional memory and know-how with the current leadership. The United States must engage such regions as Somali land and the autonomous region of Punt land and see how they have solved their problems with out going the costly route of negotiations in Kenya.
The USACC believes that helping the Somali people must not involve providing ammunitions to the already weak government of that land because in so doing, it will run the risk of landing those same weapons to the opposition.