Obama unveils new Africa strategy, focused on trade, investment


US President Barack Obama's global popularity has slumped in the three years since he took office said the latest Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project on June 13, 2012, but he still garners high approval ratings in Europe and Japan.



JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — President Barack Obama has unveiled a new US strategy for sub-Saharan Africa, focused on boosting trade and investment on the African continent.

The White House said its new US Strategy Toward sub-Saharan Africa is "a proactive and forward-looking vision grounded in partnership."

The strategy focuses on Africa's economic potential, while also highlighting issues related to security and good governance.

Obama said he will work with Congress to develop preferential trade agreements with African countries. The US will also continue to fight Al Qaeda and its affiliates based in Africa, he added.

"As we look toward the future, it is clear that Africa is more important than ever to the security and prosperity of the international community, and to the United States in particular," said Obama, who was born in the US to a Kenyan father.

More from GlobalPost: Africa Inc: Doing business in Africa

Africa's economic potential is something that China has already embraced, with Sino-African trade rising to $120 billion last year.

Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to reach 6 percent this year.

A new GlobalPost series, "Africa Inc.", chronicles Africa's increasing economic clout, focusing on what makes its economies some of the world's fastest growing and most dynamic. 

"Watch out Asia’s tigers. Make way for Africa’s lions," wrote Africa editor Andrew Meldrum.

More from GlobalPost: Activists question Obama's AIDS plan

The BBC said the new White House strategy on Africa is partly aimed at encouraging Americans and Africans to do business together — for the good of a flagging US economy.

According to Agence France-Presse, some African countries already enjoy preferential trade deals with the United States, through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

At an Agoa forum in Washington today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Africa was the "land of opportunity."

"I want all of my fellow American citizens, particularly our business community, to hear this: Africa offers the highest rate of return on foreign direct investment of any developing region in the world," she said, AFP reported.

More from GlobalPost: South Africa seeks an entrepreneurial revolution