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March 1, 2010

LKL Blog Exclusive: US & Africa closer than you would think!

Posted: 11:23 AM ET

This is a LKL Blog Exclusive by Frederick Nnoma-Addison, President & CEO of the Washington, DC based Africa Media-Image Project, an African interest news and media production organization working to bridge the information gap between the United States and African countries. He is the Author and publisher of a book that celebrates 50 years of U.S. – Ghana/Africa relations.

With several 10-hour direct flights to many capital cities on the continent, Africa isn’t as far from the U.S. as many Americans perceive it to be. The flight time from Washington, DC to Accra, Ghana is the same as that from Washington, DC to Honolulu, Hawaii. This comparison of physical distances also holds true for the virtual distances between the two regions, thanks in part to free markets and a globalized economy. Today we in America are able to patronize African coffee, jewelry, clothing, chocolates, roses, crude oil and thousands of other products as though they originated from our backyards while those in Africa benefit from U.S. government and private sector investments on a daily basis. As individuals and nations we are more closely linked than stereotypes would have us believe.

U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa has more than doubled since the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into law in 2000. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce (2008 report), U.S. imports from sub-Saharan Africa alone exceeded $86 billion, more than quadruple the amount in 2001. During the 2009 AGOA Forum in Nairobi, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledged the interdependence between the United States and Africa with the following words, “America is Africa’s largest trading partner.”

The now outdated concept of a distant, so-called 3rd world (mostly used to describe Africa), is just one example of how people in economically advanced countries like the United States view themselves as being separated from Africa and the rest of the world. Of course skewed news media coverage of the African continent is partly responsible for this mindset. A paragraph from President Barack Obama’s Accra speech, July 11, 2009 accurately highlights the new realities of international relations and the bonds we share as individuals and nations in a much smaller, global community.

(read more)

For more information on the 50 years of U.S. – Ghana/Africa relations, click HERE

Filed under: Africa • International • LKL Web Exclusive


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AFROCENTRIK ASIATIK BLAK MAN   March 1st, 2010 2:25 pm ET

AMERICA AND AFRIKA ARE NO CLOSER THAN WHAT THEY WERE FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME. IF YOU READ THE COLUMN, WE GET SO MANY RESOURCES FROM AFRIKA IN WHICH THEY PRODUCE. WE NEED THEM MORE THAN THEY NEED US. OR LIKE THE DIAMONDS IN SOUTH AFRIKA. THE EUROPEANS AND THEIR COMPANIES LIKE DE BEERS HAVE TAKEN OVER ALL THE DIAMOND MINES THERE. THEY GIVE MAKE BILLIONS AND GIVE NOTHING TO AFRIKA. AMERIKA AND ANY OTHER NATION DEALS WITH AFRIKA ONLY IF THEY CAN BENIFIT FROM THEIR BUSINESS TOGETHER. IF THERE IS NOTHING IN IT FOR US, WE WOULDN'T HAVE ANY PART OF AFRIKA.


Joe G. (Illinois)   March 1st, 2010 5:25 pm ET

It’s not important to name one country being friend of another.. Unless it’s war time or wanting something in return. Which one is it? Is Africa willing to buy and keep buying US. Bonds?


Cajazz76:24:8   March 1st, 2010 5:28 pm ET

I envision soon an Afrika whose shore's are filled to capacity with the sick and the tired and the poor; driven by their own ignorance from their homeland with the fear that a black man will enslave them to a world of sane reason and common decency.

Driven by their malice and contempt and the spurring on of Fox News Punditry and the maligned loser's of a recent past eight year's of ineptitude and ignorance and illegitimate reasoning and decision, are the new WHITE HOPE Afrika needs. Sarah Palin, there is a following you should seek out...just do it offshore of the U.S. A. and preferably before you or they get to Afrika. Litter laws are in place in Afrika.


Rose   March 1st, 2010 7:13 pm ET

Democracy is something that Africans have had to fight for against the US and other Western countries. This was the case in South Africa, where the US, Britain and other nations supported the apartheid system until its downfall in 1994.

South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, was branded a terrorist by US and British leaders during his 27-year imprisonment. It was only in 2008 that the US removed Mandela from its State Department terror watch list! It waived travel restrictions to members of the African National Congress. Finally.

The dominant view is that the US was on the right side in South Africa, that it opposed apartheid. But nothing was further from the truth, particularly when Reagan was president. Reagan labeled Mandela’s African National Congress a notorious terrorist organization, while continuing Washington’s support for the apartheid regime. In 1981, Reagan explained to CBS that he was loyal to the South African regime because it was “a country that has stood by us in every war we’ve ever fought, a country that, strategically, is essential to the free world in its production of minerals.” – A country that was the antithesis of what democracy is about, an outward promotion of racism.

But even as the majority of the American people came to oppose South Africa’s apartheid regime, Reagan stood by that regime. African American leaders and organizations pressured Congress to take action and ultimately it passed sanctions against South Africa. True to form, Reagan vetoed the bill. But to Reagan’s shame, Congress overrode the veto.

No surprise from a man who opposed Civil Rights in the US. Sarah Palin, the Tea Party mentality and many right wingers in the US look up to the Reagan era with fondness. Their vision of a closeness with Africa would be similar to a welcoming party at the harbor, waiting for the next slave ship to arrive.


Jim Carroll   March 1st, 2010 7:22 pm ET

GET TOUGH, MR. PRESIDENT. TO HELL WITH THE DEVIL DAMN
DO NOTHING REPUBLICANS. PASS THE HEALTH-CARE BILL
BY HOOK OR CROOK. GET IT DONE! GET IT DONE! GET IT DONE!

PLEASE, CNN NEWS–NOW THAT YOU'VE HAD YOUR WEEK
ALONG WITH THE REPUBLICANS BASHING THE GOVERNMENT.
WHY NOT SPEND A WEEK POINTING OUT ALL THE GOOD THINGS
THE GOVERNMENT DOES? SEE LIST BELOW. JACK CAFFERTY'S BIG, ARROGANT MOUTH HAD NO SOLUTIONS AS PROMISED. HE IS JUST ANOTHER REPUBLICAN IDEOLOGY. HE ONLY READS COMMENTS FROM HIS BLOG THAT HIS STAFF WRITES TO REFLECT HIS OWN VIEWS. HE REFERS TO OTHERS AS CLOWNS; HE COULD APPLY THE SAME WORD TO HIMSELF. See list atinternetfreepress.com


A. Smith, Oregon   March 1st, 2010 7:59 pm ET

Africa is the richest continent on earth with more enormous natural resources than any country on the face of the earth. And look at the depth of poverty, famine, starvation and diseases which mark that vast country!

Nation after nation has stolen and grabbed many trillions worth of Gold, Diamonds, Oil, Uranium and nearly all of the strategic rare earth minerals that are only found in Africa. The African nations received next to nothing in return. Meanwhile, american taxpayers are soaked huge amounts of money for those thefts. Treating the resulting waves of diseases, dealing with the problems of starvation and famine which are routinely sweeping thru parts of Africa 24/7 365 days a year.

Africa is the poster child of the Republican Party's goal of Corporate Business and what that leaves the people Then and NOW.


A. Smith, Oregon   March 1st, 2010 9:41 pm ET

I wish Wolf Blitzer would stop reporting the floated speculation by the Dubai Police chief as if it were gospel. Previously they said the terrorist Hamas leader was electrocuted, then electro-shocked and suffocated, now yet another 'theory' is being floated as being injected with an extreme short acting muscle relaxer then suffocated.

Extreme short acting drugs are almost all immediately broken down in the body into inert molecules which makes them nearly impossible to detect within moments in someone's body.

Reporting all of the floated speculations by the Dubai Police chief who is obviously mouthing the sentiments by his Arabic financial clients that are gravely needed to help keep Dubai financially in the black and expanding is nothing short of Propaganda and not reporting!


Jessie from Auckland, NZ   March 1st, 2010 9:44 pm ET

Interesting article and yet, I thought Africa was being forgotten. Have to tread carefully.


Cindy   March 1st, 2010 10:15 pm ET

Larry, since the section on the whale is not properly functioning, I will post here that I appreciate your taking a break from the discussion of the whale and taking a few minutes to remember Dawn. It sounds as though she was a wonderful person doing what she loved to do and remaining true to herself. Condolences to her family and friends.


Cajazz76:24:8   March 1st, 2010 10:51 pm ET

@caj

You getting ready to make a trip? I just spent a week on a boat, don't think Africa is in the cards for me right now. On the other hand, I do remember a few wonderful night's in Mombasa.... Wayusi..wopun Daisai...yea! Bebe!


Navajo Joe   March 1st, 2010 10:57 pm ET

Like my Indian trick, caj? Had to get you back, new day in town.


hideaki nagano   March 2nd, 2010 1:38 am ET

I think signal,moderate commet.


Theresa   March 2nd, 2010 1:35 pm ET

I've never been to Africa -don't know if I ever will. I think though if a person can afford it–everyone should visit a different culture to realize everyone has the same basic needs. When my daughter lived in S. Korea I was fortunate to make a trip. I had a great time–visiting a beautiful old palace, touring templess, able to watch a Korean artist doing traditional Korean painting. The best thing was being invited to my daughter's friends homes totaste traditional Korean cooking & learning how the typical Korean lives. Vacationing a different country & staying on a resort compound ,never leaving that area teaches noone how the country's citizens live.


Betty Waite   March 2nd, 2010 11:53 pm ET

Larry: My heart is aching tonight with the news another precious child , in San Diego CA, has been lost at the hands of a previously convicted child molester. Many of your CNN and HLN anchors such as Jane Velez-Mitchell and Nancy Grace are also duly disturbed by this. I worked in the court system myself for many years: Probation office,district atty's ofc. superior court and district court of appeal . I ,too, was told at one time that rapists/murderers could not be rehabilitated. This seems to be true, so why then would it be so inhumane to have castration as a punishment for these scumbags who bring so much sorrow to so many people? The mood Californians are in at the present time, if former Governor Brown would like to be reelected to governor of our state, let him propose this to the general population. At least let's have some real discussion on the subject and see how people really feel about it. Laws are made to be broken, but they're also made to be changed.


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