Africa

A New Partnership

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Nowhere in the world is development such an important part of U.S. engagement efforts as it is in Africa, and the changing tide on the continent requires a new kind of partnership. Today, Africans are the architects of their development, not just beneficiaries. Donors support their plans, they do not dictate them. Citizens demand democracy, not autocracy, and they are seizing the opportunities that come with better education, better health, and better public services.

Taking advantage of this changing landscape requires a new model for development, one built on expanding and deepening partnerships with African governments, businesses, universities, and civil society—as well as with the new generation of African leaders, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and innovators, who are leading the transformation of their societies. This new model is at the core of USAID’s approach in Africa, which seeks to end extreme poverty by investing in Africa’s greatest resource—its people—to sustain and further development, opportunity, and human rights for this and future generations. Across the continent, we are implementing major initiatives to improve health, food security, electricity access, trade, and resilience that are underpinned by commitments to good governance, education, gender equity, and the environment. These programs are driven by a culture of innovation powered by efforts like USAID’s Global Development Lab, which brings together a diverse set of partners to discover, test, and scale breakthrough solutions to chronic development challenges.

But Africa is not a monolith. Each of the 42 countries where USAID works is unique and requires unique support—the devastation in the Central African Republic and the rising prosperity in Tanzania; the violent political crisis in South Sudan and the peaceful political transition in Senegal; the fragility of Niger and the anchor of South Africa. While the governing principles of our work apply across the continent, our strategies are tailored to each country’s singular challenges and opportunities. We are committed to continuing to work together with Africans to advance this new model of development to realize the promise of a more peaceful, more productive, more prosperous 21st century Africa. Together, we are:
  • Boosting agricultural productivity through the Feed the Future Initiative by addressing the root causes of chronic hunger and poverty and spurring economic growth in a region with incredible resources and arable land
  • Strengthening health systems through the Global Health Initiative so that countries can help their children survive, overcome the ancient threat of malaria, give mothers the support they need to give birth safely and turn the tide against the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the continent
  • Supporting democracy, human rights, and good governance to help governments fight corruption, expand space for civil society, help citizens choose their leadership and strengthen the trend toward democratization in Africa
  • Increasing resilience to climate shocks by helping communities adapt to erratic rainfall and longer, harsher droughts—weather effects we know will hit Africa hardest
  • Leading quick responses to humanitarian crises to save lives and help prevent instability and loss, critical in a region prone to destabilizing droughts and food emergencies

These efforts reap dividends for both Africa and the United States. As we support the development of Africa’s economic growth, it can generate new export markets and tap into a common market that will one day outpace India or China. At the same time, USAID's work in preventing conflict and violent extremism reduces political instability that can threaten U.S. national security. And above all, our support of democracy, opportunity and freedom from poverty and disease represents this country’s most cherished values.

Our continued commitment contributes to positive change:

  • Child mortality in Africa has dropped by nearly a third over the past 20 years, thanks in large part to U.S. support of vaccine research and distribution.
  • The number of people newly infected with HIV is decreasing for the first time since the HIV epidemic struck, a trend driven by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
  • Ten African countries, including Rwanda, South Africa and Zambia, reduced the number of malaria cases and deaths by over 50 percent in the last decade, accelerated by the efforts of the President’s Malaria Initiative.
  • The continent's primary school completion rate as increased from 53 percent in 1993 to 70 percent in 2011.
  • Over the past ten years, personal income hs increased by more than 30 percent.

Last updated: July 14, 2014

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