USAID Southern Africa Regional Regional Development Cooperation Strategy 2011-2016 ““

In Congressional Testimony on the U.S. Policy in sub-Saharan Africa, Assistant Secretary of State, Johnnie Carson, stated that the U.S. Government (USG) has a “fundamental interest in promoting democratic institutions and good governance, peace and stability, and sustained economic growth across sub-Saharan Africa.”1 While in many respects Southern Africa has made significant inroads on these issues, it is a region of contradictions. The USG heralds South Africa as a keystone of economic strength and political stability for the continent, while viewing Zimbabwe as a threat that may become a model for unchecked executive power throughout the region. South Africa also faces challenges of one-party dominance regarding current, pending legislation that could significantly decrease political space and freedom of expression. As a whole, Southern Africa provides significant economic potential to the United States through its trade facilities, but is also the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS pandemic with nine of the 10 highest HIV prevalence rates in the world. Given these complexities, countries in Southern Africa cannot take a silo approach to development challenges. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mentioned in her recent remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations, “Few, if any, of today’s challenges can be understood or solved without working through a regional context.”2

Last updated: December 03, 2015