Jendayi Frazer speaks about a "transformative U.S.-Africa policy" on April 7, 2009.
Photo by Michael Casey
"Frazer offers lessons on transformative U.S.-Africa policy"
April 8, 2009
Author: Beth Maclin, Former Communications Assistant, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
The Bush Administration made a mistake not enforcing a no-fly zone over Sudan in response to the conflict in Darfur, according to Jendayi Frazer, former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, but she hopes President Barack Obama will fulfill the policy he campaigned on and enforce one.
"I think we made a mistake in not trying to put a no-fly zone in place," she said at Harvard Kennedy School's John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum on April 7, 2009. There was concern that a no-fly zone would impede the work of humanitarian organizations in Darfur; however, since Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir expelled most of those organizations, some view the argument as moot.
"I think you can do a no-fly zone. I think it's feasible," Frazer said.
In spite of this policy failure, Frazer saw several U.S. policies put in place toward Africa that she views as being transformational while serving as assistant secretary (2005-2009), senior director for African Affairs at the National Security Council (2001-2004), and ambassador to South Africa (2004-2005). In her address, "Solutions: A Transformative U.S.-Africa Policy," she offered lessons learned - in terms of health, economic development, conflict resolution, and governance - for the new Obama administration as it crafts its policy toward Africa.
The event was cosponsored by Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Institute of Politics, Harvard University African Student Association, and Harvard College Black Student Association. Belfer Center Director Graham Allison, who moderated the event, welcomed Frazer home to Harvard Kennedy School, where she was an assistant professor of public policy and a Belfer Center faculty affiliate.
She emphasized the need for collaboration and active dialogue with the "African leaders on the ground," a philosophy she sees as a cornerstone of the Bush administration's policy.
"In the past there was a tendency to try to work Africa through Europe," Frazer said. "Where as I felt we should just work Africa directly."
Frazer highlighted the "President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief," commonly known as PEPFAR, attributing its success to the fact that it was based on an African model. "We had something that we knew worked - coming from Africa, developed in Africa," she said.
The Plan, launched in 2003, expanded on Uganda's ABC prevention and treatment model: "Abstain, Be faithful, use Condoms." Between fiscal years 2004 to 2008, the U.S. has spent more than $18 billion on this effort. Frazer said the Bush administration's policies were successful in treating HIV/AIDS, but more needs to be done in terms of prevention and suggested that Obama should focus on that.
In terms of economic development, she said the Obama administration has to make sure African leaders are not on the sidelines in the policy-making process, noting diversification of trade and greater foreign investment as crucial aspects of a comprehensive development policy.
Frazer attributes the Bush administration's success in attaining resolutions to the six major African wars happening in 2001 to the role of African mediators in the peace processes. She said that for every crisis, the Bush administration worked with African mediators and the sub-regional organizations and trained African peacekeepers. She also noted the increase in and continued need for better governance by African leaders as a means of responding to crises.
Frazer also sees the establishment of institutions and the historic level of funding as key parts of the Bush administration policy's transformational legacy.
To watch Jendayi Frazer's address, go to: http://www.iop.harvard.edu/Multimedia-Center/All-Videos/Solutions-A-Transformative-U.S.-African-Policy
For more information about this publication please contact the Belfer Center Communications Office at 617-495-9858.
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