BREAKING: DRC Resolution Passes

Today, HRES 131, a resolution "Concerning the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the need for international efforts toward long-term peace, stability, and observance of human rights" passed the Africa Subcommittee under unanimous consent and takes an important and positive step forward in efforts to raise awareness on the ongoing crisis in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region of Africa. With 56 Democrat and Republican House members as cosponsors, the legislation now heads to the full House Foreign Affairs Committee for consideration. 

Adding U.S. Jobs through Exports to Africa

Last week, the Africa Subcommittee held a hearing to examine H.R. 1777, the "Increasing American Jobs Through Greater Exports to Africa Act of 2013," currently sponsored by Reps. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.).
 
The hearing focused on the need to develop a comprehensive U.S. strategy for public and private investment, trade and development in Africa. The bill, which was previously introduced in  is a positive step forward for efforts already underway in the House and Senate to enhance U.S.-Africa trade and investment relations.

“Seven out of the 10 fastest growing economies are not in the Americas…they are in Africa! The United States will move forward by helping Africa to move forward,” said Rep. Rush, an original bill sponsor.

“We can help foster and sustain economic and business investment, and trading climates that encourage more U.S. businesses to conduct business in Africa and with Africans. By dramatically increasing the scale and scope of our public and private investments in (and our trading with) Africa, the U.S. people and government can contribute much more meaningfully to Africa’s positive transformation and the mutual expansion of the American and African middle classes.”

Nations around the world have taken notice of the trade and investment opportunity throughout the continent and are engaging with African nations to provide goods and services to bolster and improve their own economic condition as well as relations. The U.S. can play a critical role by first considering this measure and other pieces of legislation that recognize the many opportunities to invest in Africa. With rapidly expanding African markets, U.S. business and technical know-how is a comparative advantage for a continent ready to improve infrastructure and spur growth.
 
These are the opportunities that can and will prove transformative for the U.S. economy and the billion Africans eager to be full participants in a global marketplace. Africa is no longer interested in development aid alone.  What must be recognized is that Africa itself is in transition and seeks partners that want to provide opportunities for trade, economic growth and investment.

Shifting Order: Aid to Africa



Last week, The Economist published the above graphic illustrating aid flows to Africa from China and overall development assistance. While Western nations have provided increasing levels of aid to Africa for some time, this trend in recent years is undergoing a re-balancing of sorts where countries like China and India have increased or intend to increase their foreign aid outflow. In 2011, the news magazine reported "a proposal by India to set up its own aid agency to distribute $11 billion over the next five to seven years." This is similar to news from the recent visit by China’s President Xi. When in Africa on his first overseas trip, it was suggested that a new BRICs development bank would be set up in South Africa. With respect to India, a country that has been one of the world's largest recipients of foreign aid, it would be a seismic shift and a new world order if the West is no longer alone in foreign aid transfers to developing nations.
 
In the case of China and in recent years, the story is much the same. Despite difficulty in knowing exactly how much China has committed to African nations and where that aid goes, the Center for Global Development reports China has committed approximately $75 billion between 2000 and 2011 to Africa. That's roughly 85 percent of what the U.S. committed to over the same period. The two primary areas where China has focused its attention the most are in transport and energy.
 
While speculation abounds as to China's true aims, one perspective (reported by CGD) is worth considering: "Chinese aid, which focuses on overlooked areas like infrastructure, rather than education or health, is actually complementary to the West’s."

House Africa Subcommittee


The Subcommittee has been busy with a series of hearing across its broad jurisdiction over the last several weeks.
 
MAY 15, 2013
Subcommittee Markup: Concerning the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the need for international efforts toward long-term peace, stability, and observance of human rights.

MAY 7, 2013
Subcommittee Hearing: Increasing American Jobs through Greater Exports to Africa
 
To learn more and to watch past and upcoming committee hearings, visit http://democrats.foreignaffairs.house.gov/


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