In her 10-day 9-country African tour, U.S. Secy of State Hillary Clinton stopped in Senegal and met with presidents and business leaders in Uganda, South Sudan, South Africa and Kenya. Talks focused on terrorism, Chinese trade with Africa and democracy.
Mrs. Clinton was also scheduled to attend a state funeral for Ghana’s President John Atta Mills who died on July 24.
In Malawi, Clinton advised President Joyce Banda to continue making the country more investment-friendly. Accompanying Mrs. Clinton were 10 U.S. business execs from Wal-Mart, Caterpiller, FedEx, GE and Boeing, among others.
In South Africa, in an address to the U.S.- South Africa Business Summit, Clinton predicted “massive new opportunities” on the continent for American business and jobs. The U.S. is Africa’s second largest trade partner after China, which has been building schools, roads and other projects in exchange for access to Africa’s consumers and its natural resources.
But Clinton tipped over a can of worms when she attempted to portray the U.S. as “standing up for democracy and universal human rights even when it may be easier or more profitable to look the other way… Not every partner makes that choice but we do and we will.” The other “partner” was clearly China.
Her remarks prompted Chinese state media to attack a hidden U.S. agenda "aimed … at discrediting China's engagement with the continent and curbing China's influence there".
"Whether Clinton was ignorant of the facts on the ground or chose to disregard them, her implication that China has been extracting Africa's wealth for itself is utterly wide of the truth," the Xinhua agency said.
“Leaving aside for a moment the morally superior tenor of the US secretary of state's speech,” wrote Jayoti Ghosh, a blogger for the British Guardian newspaper, “how true are her statements, especially coming from the representative of a country that has systematically exploited global resources for the better part of the past century, and supported dictatorships in that enterprise?”
Mrs. Clinton concluded her South African visit with a trip to former president Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel. They reminisced and had a private lunch.