Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is embarking on her biggest international trip yet: Africa. Seven countries in 11 days. Issues as diverse as economic entrepreneurship and gender-based violence.
Hillary Clinton’s trip to Africa will be her biggest international yet as secretary of state. The trip, which was to begin with Clinton’s scheduled departure Monday evening, comes just three weeks after President Obama’s trip to Accra, Ghana. She will highlight many of the themes he struck.
The State Department notes it is the earliest trip by a secretary of state and a president to Africa of any previous U.S. administration. In an administration that prides itself on a plethora of “priorities,” officials say they are putting Africa toward the top of the list.
The secretary opens her Africa trip in Nairobi, Kenya, at the U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, delivering a speech Wednesday at the forum’s ministerial opening ceremony.
In Kenya, she plans to meet with President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, encouraging them to proceed with their intention to rewrite the country’s constitution. The East Africa country was hit with a wave of violence two-and-a-half years ago following flawed presidential elections.
In Nigeria, Secretary Clinton will see what the State Department calls “probably the most important country in sub-Saharan Africa.” With 140 million people, it is a major source of petroleum imports for the United States. The secretary will discuss security in West Africa, democratic development, fighting corruption and promoting economic development with the Nigerian government.
In Liberia, founded by slaves from the United States, Clinton will reaffirm U.S. support for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the only female African president. Besieged by violent conflict for 20 years, the West African nation, still fragile, now is strengthening its democracy, and Clinton will highlight development assistance.
Last stop: Cape Verde, which the State Department calls “an African success story.” The island nation, off the coast of West Africa, is democratically run and well-managed.