Susan Rice: U.S. Fighting ‘Growing Terrorist Threat’ in Africa
National Security Advisor Susan Rice said the U.S. is working with its partners to fight a “growing terrorist threat” in Africa.
“With our partners, we’re facing down a growing terrorist threat. In Somalia, we continue to provide training, equipment, and funding to support the African Union’s Mission to root out al-Shabaab and strengthen Somalia’s security institutions. In the fight against Boko Haram, we are increasingly providing specialized advisers, training and equipment, and intelligence support to Nigeria and its regional neighbors,” Rice said at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference.
According to the Washington Post, Kenya has received $100 million in U.S. counterterrorism assistance this year.
Rice also said the U.S. is working to combat wildlife trafficking in Africa to preserve Africa’s ecology and to shut down the “illicit” transfer of funds to terrorist networks.
“Critically, we’re working with governments and community leaders to counter violent extremism before radicalization to violence can occur. In Nigeria, Niger and Chad, we’re increasing civilian security and building communities targeted by Boko Haram,” Rice said.
“We’re supporting efforts in Northern Mali to promote reconciliation and mitigate conflict, particularly in isolated communities and we’re working with governments to responsibly address legitimate grievances that terrorists might exploit, as in Ethiopia, where American legal advisers are training police and lawyers to better uphold the rule of law,” she added.
While Africans are building their own capacity to feed and care for their people, Rice said the U.S. government has stepped up its commitments to Africa across the board.
“Trade between Africa and the United States is far below where it should be. In 2013, total trade between the U.S. and all 49 countries of sub-Saharan Africa was only a little larger than our trade with the Netherlands,” she said. “So we’re taking steps to increase trade and investment with Africa, which supports jobs and growth in all our countries.”
Rice said the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum generated $33 billion in new commitments so President Obama announced a second forum for next year.
“Through our ‘Doing Business in Africa’ campaign, we’re working across the government to make it easier for American companies to strengthen their commercial ties to Africa,” she said.
Obama also announced more than $1 billion in new funding at the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi from the U.S. government and the private sector for entrepreneurs.
“Much of it focused on Africa. Beyond that, we’re investing in women and young people and entrepreneurs who have the hardest time accessing financing and business networks,” she said.
Rice said Obama’s “Feed the Future” initiative has invested more than $5.5 billion since 2010 to improve food security in Africa and other regions.
“We hope to see ‘Feed the Future’ institutionalized so that it continues to transform lives after President Obama leaves office,” she said.
Rice declared that Africa’s potential would never be fulfilled if “elites are skimming off the top” or if leaders “cling to power while they rob their people for personal gain.”
“Each time President Obama made that point on his latest trip, he was met with rousing applause,” she said.
Specifically, Rice said, the U.S. is advocating for women’s rights in Africa as well as equal treatment for LGBT individuals.
“The United States speaks out on behalf of Africa’s daughters and their right to grow up without being forced into early marriages, without being mutilated, without being abused,” she said. “We speak out for our African LGBT brothers and sisters and their right to equal treatment under the law. We speak out for Africa’s minorities and the right to worship freely and pursue one’s dreams.”
Rice also told the conference that Ebola is now under control.
“As of last week, there were only 5 cases, and we will not stop until we get to zero,” she said.