ADDIS ABABA - Rwanda is one of the few African countries that have successfully applied development approaches that have paid off, diversifying economies and creating jobs in different sectors with an aim of reducing poverty.
This was said by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, during her visit to the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Clinton, who was on an African tour that took her to several countries, including Zambia and Tanzania, said that the continent is facing a huge challenge of creating jobs and opportunities for its young people but noted that several countries have taken the right path.
“Countries such as Zambia, Mali, Ghana, and Rwanda have had strong successes with their approaches to development,” Clinton said.
“They have diversified their economies and created jobs across many sectors, which has helped to decrease poverty,” Mrs. Clinton said.
The Secretary of State pledged the commitment of her government to continue supporting Rwanda and the other countries to build on the achievements they have registered mainly in infrastructure and agriculture.
“They have continuously reinvested in the foundations of their economies, building roads and power plants and expanding access to financial services so that more people can start or grow businesses,”
“Based on lessons we’ve learned from our work around the world, the United States wants to deepen our partnerships with countries that take a broad-based, inclusive, sustainable approach to growth,” she noted.
Clinton noted that much of the development work that the US supported in the past provided “only temporary aid” and not the foundation for lasting change that helps people permanently improve their lives and communities.
She, however stressed that the Obama Administration is taking a different approach.
“Our goal is to help countries’ economies grow over time so they can meet their own needs,” she said adding that;
“Ultimately, we believe that the most effective development programs are ones that put themselves out of business because they spark economic activity, they help create strong institutions, they nourish a private sector that, once unleashed, will create more jobs”.
Mrs. Clinton hailed the African Union for the commitment it has shown in addressing the challenges of the continent. She, however, urged African states to take stronger action against Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
“I urge all African states to call for a genuine ceasefire and to call for Gaddafi to step aside,” the US diplomat said.
“Your words and your actions could make the difference in bringing this situation to a close and allowing the people of Libya … to get to work writing a constitution and rebuilding their country”.
She noted that while the US is committed to continue supporting development efforts on the continent, African partners should play their part by increasing transparency, strengthening tax systems and fighting corruption, among other things.
Mrs. Clinton commended African countries and institutions working to accelerate economic integration, such as the East African Community, adding that last year, the US became the first country to nominate an ambassador to the EAC.
“….we are pursuing a partnership to help build a customs union and a common market and we applaud the efforts that began with the meeting in South Africa, last week, to discuss a tripartite free trade agreement that will lower trade barriers across dozens of countries,” she said.
The Secretary of State highlighted a program by the US Government dubbed “Feed the Future”, a US$ 3.5 billion food security initiative that will benefit 20 countries, including 12 on the African continent.