The United Nation’s Role in Africa

Tampa Bay Chapter was awarded a membership growth award for increasing its membership in 2012 by a whopping 280%.

Shortly after Kieran Dwyer, the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, gave a presentation about U.N. peacekeeping missions (watch video below), he said that the mission also receives “bad press” for some of its work in Africa. The phrase jumped out at me. Bad press is what happens when a …

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Is America Overly Paranoid About Terrorism in Africa? Does Fear Hinder Economic Partnerships?

Security and Economic Partnerships in Africa

In the last blog entry, I talked to Ambassador Vicki Huddleston who suggested that America should focus on training and supporting African forces so they can battle extremists in the Sahel. In the wake of the Boston bombings, questions have arisen about immigration and the process of assimilation in the United …

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What should the U.S. do and not do in Mali? Ambassador Vicki Huddleston Answers the Questions


When the French first intervened in Mali, Ambassador Vicki Huddleston penned an Op-Ed in the New York Times outlining reasons why the U.S. should assist France in fighting the terror group Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Huddleston was the United States ambassador to Mali from 2002 to 2005 and urged …

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Current Conflict in Mali: A Conversation with Ambassador Vicki Huddleston

The U.S. has stated early and often that the terror group Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that roams parts of the Sahel region including Niger, Algeria and Northern Mali is considered as a direct threat to its national security. Cautious of the fact that direct involvement has produced mixed results in the past in other parts of …

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No End In Sight: France’s Mali Military Intervention

French Mirage 2000 D aircrafts flying over Mali

The French took the plunge and began attacking Islamist militant groups in Mali this week after regional leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) hesitated for months. The instability in northern Mali dates back nearly a year and yet, until now, no agreement on a foreign intervention strategy …

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Building Bridges: An Ambassador Reflects on U.S.-Africa Relations

Amb. Ranneberger in Kenya

In the last blog entry, I wrote that Ambassador Michael E. Ranneberger was visiting the University of South Florida as part of an event sponsored by the Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies. Amb. Ranneberger gave a lecture titled “U.S. Foreign Policy in Africa: Lessons, Challenges, and Opportunities” through the center’s …

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U.S. Foreign Policy in Africa: A Lecture by Ambassador Ranneberger

Topic of Discussion: “U.S. Foreign Policy in Africa: Lessons, Challenges, and Opportunities”

In June, the Obama administration released an extensive document outlining its U.S. strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa. In it, President Obama points out that the continent is “more important than ever to the security and prosperity of the international community.” However, many argue that U.S.-Africa relations have not been prioritized. Cynics say that the U.S. only took notice of the importance of Africa once China made its presence known through business deals and bilateral partnerships. Trade between China and Africa in the past ten years grew rapidly to $160 billion in 2011 compared with only $9 billion in 2000.

Still, the U.S.-Africa strategy document includes many important passages which highlight the importance of good governance  and its role in economical growth.

“Strong, accountable, and democratic institutions, sustained by a deep commitment to the rule of law, generate greater prosperity and stability, and meet with greater success in mitigating conflict and ensuring security. Sustainable, inclusive economic growth is a key ingredient to security, political stability, and development, and it underpins efforts to alleviate poverty, creating the resources that will bolster opportunity and allow individuals to reach their full potential.”

 One of America’s most authoritative and influential voices on the continent in recent years has been Michael E. Ranneberger, the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya from 2006 to 2011. Ranneberger’s long list of U.S.-Africa foreign service includes: a role in U.S.-Somalia relations, service as the special advisor on Sudan in the Bureau of African Affairs from 2002 to 2004, and serving as the Ambassador to the Republic of Mali from 1999 to 2002.

Currently working as the Senior Policy Advisor to U.S. Central Command, prior to his new post, Mr. Ranneberger also served as the Africa Bureau’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary from 2004 to 2005. A member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister- Counselor, his career in foreign service spans back to his role in 1980s where he served as the Angola Desk Officer as part of a team responsible for negotiating independence for Namibia and withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola from 1981 to 1984. He was also the Deputy Chief of Mission in Maputo 1986 to 1989.

On Thursday November 8, Ambassador Ranneberger is scheduled to visit the University of South Florida in an event sponsored by  the Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies as part of a “Lecture Series on National Security.” During the event, he will speak about U.S. Foreign Policy in Africa under the title “U.S. Foreign Policy in Africa: Lessons, Challenges, and Opportunities.” I plan to attend the lecture and hope to ask questions about what lessons he learned from his past experiences as the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya and  Mali, and what he hopes to promote to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Africa. You can find interview with the Ambassador here.

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If Africans had a Vote, Obama would Win in a Landslide


The final days of the campaign for the 2012 elections are upon us. Speculation by pundits, a barrage of polls and heated political discussions dominate the media in America. In this spirit, a panel of professors from around the world gathered at an event hosted by USF World and co-sponsored …

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Mali’s Coup: Mutiny Within a Blink of an Eye Or A Ticking Time Bomb?


In the past two months, West Africa has witnessed an unprecedented security threat as several governments were caught in the grips of coups or attempted coups. As Guinea-Bissau soldiers arrest the nation’s Prime minister over a suspected coup, Mali’s new interim civilian president got sworn into office last Thursday, after a 27 days …

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Democracy in Africa: Not Always as Gloomy

Governance Trends in Sub-Saharan Africa

Senegal’s New President  Despite a notion that Africa continues to be the continent where autocratic regimes forcefully replace each other through bloody warfare, in the past two decades, according to the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, there is a significant increase in the number of democratic countries in the continent. …

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