What We’re Reading 8/10/09

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Secretary Clinton in Africa

New York Times: Clinton Praises Angola, but Urges More Reform
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a gentle nudge to Angola on Sunday, urging the up-and-coming nation, a major oil producer, to push harder to democratize. She says the country needs to hold presidential elections and investigate human rights abuses. The Times writes that Angola is a crucial battleground in the contest for influence in Africa between the United States and an increasingly powerful, resource-hungry China.

Washington Post: Clinton Hails Zuma’s Policies on HIV/AIDS
Secretary Clinton on Friday welcomed the new South African government’s approach to fighting HIV/AIDS. Her visit underscored a new juncture in U.S.-South African relations after years of tensions over AIDS, the Iraq war and other issues. Clinton wants to improve ties with a country regarded as Africa’s economic powerhouse, and she and the South African foreign minister agreed to work together more closely on such areas as climate change and nuclear nonproliferation.

Other news

Washington Post: Senator Richard Lugar: Restoring USAID’s Capabilities
Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) writes that “the institutional atrophy and loss of expertise at the U.S. Agency for International Development has led to a proliferation of aid programs across the government with little coordination” and that, without reform, the administration’s pledge to double foreign aid would be useless. He that the bill he and Senator John Kerry recently introduced would give USAID the lead role in American foreign assistance in the field.

New York Times: A Real Bill for the Climate
The New York Times reports that the atmosphere in the Senate surrounding the energy bill is “just short of mutinous.” The mandatory cap on emissions has virtually no Republican support and there is talk of a turf war between two key Democrats, Barbara Boxer and Max Baucus. The Times editorial board writes that this country needs not another energy bill, but a climate bill committed to reducing emissions in a way that engages the whole economy and forces major technological change.

New Vision (Uganda): No AGOA Extension Deal in Sight
African nations exporting to the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) should boost sales rather than pushing to extend the agreement, US trade representative Ron Kirk said. The deal is due to expire in 2015 and African governments have asked for the term to be extended and listed products increased. At the AGOA forum in Nairobi last week, Kirk said that countries should instead focus on addressing infrastructure, tariff barriers and government and legal reforms.

-Grace Lamb-Atkinson

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