News Tech

Press Briefing on U.S. Policy in Africa with Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs

Press Briefing on U.S. Policy in Africa with Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs




TRANSCRIPT: Press Briefing on U.S. Coverage in Africa with Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, Tibor P. Nagy, Jr.



Audio File:


Tibor P. Nagy, Jr. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African
By way of Teleconference, Kenya
December 7, 2018



OPERATOR: Women and gents, thanks for standing by. I’ll now flip the convention over to our host, Brian Neubert. Please go forward, sir.



MODERATOR: Good afternoon to everybody from the U.S. Division of State’s Africa Regional Media Hub. I’d wish to welcome our individuals dialing in from throughout the continent and thanks all for becoming a member of the dialogue. Immediately we’re very happy to be joined from Nairobi, Kenya by the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, Tibor P. Nagy, Jr. Assistant Secretary Nagy will talk about U.S. coverage in Africa, in addition to outcomes on his present journey via the area.



We’ll start immediately’s name with opening remarks from Assistant Secretary Nagy, after which we’ll flip to your questions. We’ll get to as lots of your questions as we will within the time allotted for this name. At any time through the query and reply interval, you possibly can press *1 to hitch the query queue. We’ve got numerous your questions that you simply’ve despatched prematurely. In case you’d wish to comply with the dialog on Twitter, use #AFHubPress, and you may comply with us @AfricaMediaHub. As a reminder, as we speak’s name is on the report, and with that I’ll flip it over to Assistant Secretary Nagy. Go forward, sir.



ASST. SEC. NAGY: Thanks a lot, Brian. Good afternoon, everyone. Bonjour, tout le monde. It’s a pleasure to be with you. I’m within the strategy of concluding my second African journey. This time we visited Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, apparently, and we’re ending up in Kenya. We shall be returning to Washington over the weekend.



I particularly needed to return out to East Africa second; when you keep in mind, my final journey was to West Africa, however I needed to go to East Africa to – primary – personally see a number of the constructive and really thrilling developments happening within the Horn of Africa, because of the opening in Ethiopia each for his or her exterior relations and a few of the inner opening that Prime Minister Abiy has been pursuing. And in addition, past that, I needed to go to conventional U.S. companions, comparable to Kenya and Djibouti, and try the shut partnerships and bilateral relations that we have now.



And I’ll be joyful to reply your questions in a minute, however I’ve been simply so inspired by what I’ve seen, the constructive modifications happening, and for the primary time in my profession, to have the ability to interact immediately with the management of Eritrea about the potential of a lot better relations sooner or later. So I don’t need to monopolize the time; I needed to provide it to you. With that, I’ll cease and I’ll be delighted to take your questions. Thanks.



MODERATOR: Thanks, Assistant Secretary Nagy. We’ll start the query and reply portion of the decision. Once we name on you to ask a query, in case you might present your identify and affiliation, and restrict your self, in the event you would, to at least one query overlaying the Assistant Secretary’s journey, in addition to Africa coverage.



For these of you listening in French or Portuguese, you possibly can proceed to ship questions by way of e mail to [email protected] As I stated, we’ve a lot of questions acquired prematurely. You talked about, sir, your go to to Eritrea and we’ve got a query from Radio France Worldwide in Kenya, asking: Did you increase the dire human rights document with the Eritrean authorities, and what was their response?




ASST. SEC. NAGY: We mentioned the complete vary of pursuits between the 2 nations, each externally and internally. I’m not going to enter any specifics, however relaxation assured that the human rights issues are very a lot part of U.S. consideration in our bilateral relationship with Eritrea.



General, let me say this about Eritrea: our intention is, hopefully, to get to the purpose the place our relationships with Eritrea are simply as heat and cordial as our relationships with Ethiopia, as a result of each nations are vitally essential. In lots of respects they complement one another, so that’s the aim that we’re pursuing. Will probably be step-by-step. It should clearly take time, however we felt that this preliminary opening dialogue was essential. Thanks very a lot.



MODERATOR: Our subsequent query, once more prematurely, comes from Geoff Hill. He’s with the Washington Occasions and is presently in Poland on the COP24 conferences. He notes that the USA, India, and South Africa have all said they’ll proceed to make use of coal for power manufacturing, however in search of to burn it cleaner. And his query is, will america share its know-how in clear coal know-how?



ASST. SEC. NAGY: Okay, on that one I’m sorry. I’m not an professional on power coverage. I comply with African points very intently, so I don’t need to be misinterpreted or go off within the flawed course, so on that one I should – within the phrases of American soccer – punt. Sorry.



MODERATOR: Sure, sir. Thanks. We’ve a minimum of one query from the U.S. Embassy listening social gathering. I’ll ask you to introduce your self and your outlet and ask your query. Go forward. Do we have now Hilda on the road with the listening celebration on the embassy?



QUESTION: Sure, are you able to hear us?



MODERATOR: Go forward.



QUESTION: My identify is Joseph Muraya from Capital FM Kenya. My query is, Kenya is at present concerned in a serious crackdown on graft. Has the Assistant Secretary engaged the [INAUDIBLE] on that and on efforts [INAUDIBLE] and the way does Kenya as a rustic – can it do?



ASST. SEC. NAGY: Completely, what I need to speak to you about is we mentioned with the Kenyan authorities, on an ongoing foundation, the entire challenge of graft and corruption. It’s of key significance to america, and it’s of key significance to your president’s administration. Each side are taking a really lively and dynamic strategy. There have been some actual, actual vital actions on the a part of the federal government lately, and we very a lot sit up for partaking on this future as we go ahead within the political development and good governance. Thanks very a lot.



MODERATOR: Thanks, sir. As a reminder to all members, you’ll be able to be a part of the query queue by urgent *1 in your telephone. For those who’re listening on a speaker telephone you might have to select up the handset with a view to press *1 and be a part of the query queue. We’ll proceed with questions we now have acquired prematurely, the subsequent query coming from right here in South Africa, from Bloomberg. Prinesha Naidoo asks concerning the Africa Progress and Alternative Act eligibility assessment and want to ask you, sir, when that evaluate can be made public. When is the announcement anticipated?



ASST. SEC. NAGY: Sorry, I want I might reply to that with a selected date, however that I have no idea. We’re completely discussing some subsequent steps after AGOA, associated to pursuing probably some free commerce agreements, some bilateral free commerce agreements, that may be complementary to the Africa-wide continental free commerce settlement. However so far as the precise date goes for the evaluate, I have no idea that right now. Thanks.



MODERATOR: Thanks, sir. We’ve got one other query from the listening get together on the embassy. We’ll return to Hilda and have your journalist introduce themselves and their outlet and ask their query. Go forward.



QUESTION: My identify is Joseph Muraya from Capital FM, Nairobi, Kenya. My query is, the U.S. has been serving to Somalia to offer it stability. Are we gonna see extra effort from the U.S. to that – the Al Shabaab’s militants’ proceed to pose a critical safety problem to Somalia and the area.



ASST. SEC. NAGY: Sure, thanks very a lot for that query. Peace and stability in Somalia are essential to america. We all know that they’re critically essential to Kenya, as a result of, in fact, of your widespread shared border, and we definitely acknowledge and thank Kenya for its energetic combatting of Al Shabaab, and we additionally acknowledge the sacrifices that the Kenyan individuals have needed to make due to their brave battle.



Sure, america will proceed to pursue making an attempt to convey peace and stability to Somalia with our regional allies, and naturally the brunt of the sacrifice, sadly, is being taken by the African neighbors, whether or not it’s Kenya, whether or not it’s Ethiopia, and naturally the courageous AMISOM troopers, who’re confronting Al Shabaab day by day.



As with such issues, in fact it comes, on the finish, to the Somali individuals to be fixing it most readily, and we’re, in fact, supporting the Somali authorities. We’re doing coaching. We’re serving to get up the Somali Nationwide Military after which working with different like-minded and events to assist Somalia economically, and since the secret’s, in such efforts, you could confront the combatants, you’ll be able to eliminate the combatants, however then the query is, then what? What fills the vacuum? As a result of when you merely eliminate the dangerous guys, in case you don’t then present authorities providers, you don’t present safety to the individuals, then sadly a brand new group of dangerous guys will stand up, which is what has occurred in Somalia earlier than. So we – all of us within the worldwide group – and once more, thanking Kenya for its sacrifices and efforts, we need to ensure that that doesn’t occur this time. Thanks.



MODERATOR: That is Brian Neubert on the Media Hub, once more, asking a query that we acquired prematurely, this one from Radio France Worldwide in Paris. One is a follow-up to what you have been simply addressing, sir. Might you touch upon the current announcement of the everlasting presence of the USA in Mogadishu, and the importance of that announcement the day earlier than yesterday?



ASST. SEC. NAGY: Thanks very a lot. I feel it’s a really vital announcement, as a result of lastly we’ve got what we name a U.S. Ambassador on the bottom, the very distinguished Ambassador Don Yamamoto, who was, in sensible phrases, my speedy predecessor on this place as Assistant Secretary, is now the U.S. Ambassador, and Ambassador Yamamoto has had an extended and illustrious profession in Africa.



That is his third embassy[1] as ambassador, and he shall be partaking now immediately with the Somali authorities on a day-to-day foundation, as an alternative of what we had been doing earlier than, of sending personnel very briefly to Mogadishu after which bringing them again to Nairobi. So Ambassador Yamamoto will probably be there as a full-time ongoing interlocutor for the Somali authorities, for different events, to the remainder of the worldwide group, in order that we will have a a lot better sense of how we could be useful in restoring peace and stability to Somalia. We’re all delighted, and we thank Ambassador Yamamoto for his willingness to do that critically essential activity. Thanks very a lot.



MODERATOR: Thanks. We’ll flip subsequent to Kevin Kelley. For those who might introduce your outlet and ask your query. Go forward.



QUESTION: Hello, thanks for doing this in the present day, Secretary Nagy. My identify is Kevin Kelley; I’m the U.S. correspondent for the Nation Media Group in Kenya. I’m calling you from New York. So I simply need to comply with up a bit on what the colleague requested earlier relating to U.S. anti-corruption efforts in Kenya. I’m positive you’re conscious concerning the Akasha brothers’ trial in New York. They’ve pleaded responsible now to a number of counts of felony actions, worldwide drug trafficking.



One of many counts they pleaded to was obstruction of justice, and that was based mostly on their systemic bribery of Kenyan officers. Judges, prosecutors, police, all up and down the road. So I’m asking, will the USA be pushing for the extradition or ultimately accountability of the Kenyans who’ve been bribed and who’ve, for a very long time, prevented the Akashas from happening trial for his or her crimes? Okay, thanks.



ASST. SEC. NAGY: Usually I like to provide full and effusive solutions; on this one I’ve to plead a “no remark”; it’s an ongoing investigation involving a number of U.S. authorities businesses, so in the meanwhile – and sadly, you possibly can ask me this three alternative ways, however I’m gonna need to say “no remark.” Thanks.



MODERATOR: We’ll flip subsequent to Bloomberg; I feel we have now Prinesha Naidoo on the road. We requested a query in your behalf about AGOA, however go forward and introduce your self and ask your query.



QUESTION: Thanks, sure, that is Prinesha Naidoo from Bloomberg. I simply need to comply with up on the AGOA query, whether or not the evaluation has been accomplished already and if you can even present some extra info on what these bilateral free commerce agreements can be, that might complement it.



ASST. SEC. NAGY: Okay, might you repeat the half on AGOA? As a result of I’m unsure I obtained what you have been asking about AGOA.



QUESTION: Has the annual evaluation for the nations’ eligibility to take part within the AGOA program been finalized already?



ASST. SEC. NAGY: That I actually don’t know. I should examine once I get again, so I want I might offer you a full reply on that. On the free commerce agreements, right here’s the background on that. Presently, the USA of America has no – that’s no – free commerce agreements with any sub-Saharan African nation. The one one we have now with the continent of Africa is with Morocco, so this administration could be very wanting to pursue the primary ever free commerce settlement with a sub-Saharan nation, which in impact would function a mannequin.



So we’re going via the method now of speaking to a lot of nations to attempt to determine which one can be a super nation for a mannequin, and you understand there can be many issues for such, however a part of my go to to Addis Ababa was two elements: it was each bilateral with the Ethiopian authorities, however it was additionally with the African Union, and whereas I used to be there for the African Union, we had our annual high-level dialogue, and the entire situation of a U.S. free commerce settlement versus a continent-wide free commerce settlement got here up for appreciable dialogue, and we stored emphasizing the purpose that completely we help – the USA helps – the continent-wide free commerce settlement, as a result of we help Africa’s makes an attempt at regionalization, sub-regionalization, and continental consolidation.



So we don’t need it to be in any method conflicting with or aggressive with; we would like it to be complementary to. So we’ll be enterprise bilateral discussions with potential nations, after which we’ll choose and take it from there. Thanks.



MODERATOR: Thanks, sir. Once more, to our individuals, to hitch the query queue, you’ll be able to press *1 in your telephone. We’ll get to as many questions as we will within the time that we’ve got remaining.



Turning again to a query from Radio France Worldwide in Paris, on the opposite aspect of the continent, sir, what’s the U.S. place on the disaster in Cameroon between the federal government and the Anglophone area?



ASST. SEC. NAGY: Yeah, that may be a drawback that has been worrying me tremendously since I’ve come to this job. I do know Cameroon fairly nicely; I served there. Even once I served there, again within the early 1990s, there was a substantial quantity of friction between the Anglophone space in the direction of the Cameroonian authorities, as a result of the Anglophones, in lots of respects, felt themselves as second-class residents. Sadly, the difficulty actually grows worse by the day, and considered one of my massive fears is that this deterioration will find yourself radicalizing a variety of the Cameroonian Anglophones, also called Ambazonians.



For those who recall, in Nigeria quite a lot of years in the past, Boko Haram was a comparatively minor group concerned in Islamic schooling, and it was largely by way of the brutal response of the Nigerian authorities on the time which turned Boko Haram into a way more radical group and truly elevated Boko Haram’s membership.



The very last thing we’d like is for the radicals in Anglophone Cameroon to only add to their numbers due to the overreaction of the Cameroonian safety forces. America would actually, actually name for dialogue between the 2 sides in order that it might result in some sort of a compromise, perhaps some type of decentralization. Cameroon, in impact, has put forth a possible structure, which incorporates decentralization and fairly a bit extra native management for every of their areas, together with the northwest and southwest provinces, that are the Anglophone provinces.



That structure has not but been put into place, however anyway, to reply your query broadly, I’m very involved with what’s happening there, and I worry that it might get a lot, a lot worse if there’s not some sort of decision now. Thanks.



MODERATOR: Okay, I used to be going to show subsequent to Violeta at one other of our listening events. Let me see if she will be a part of the road. Tell us the place you’re calling from and have your journalist introduce themselves and their outlet to ask their query, in case you’re nonetheless on the road. Okay, I’m sorry about that. Go forward.



QUESTION: My identify is [INAUDIBLE] from the [INAUDIBLE]



MODERATOR: We appear to have a technical problem. I’m unsure the place that journalist was…



QUESTION: [INAUDIBLE] Horn of Africa [INAUDIBLE] and what sort of relationship do you envision establishing with Eritrea and in what particular areas or sectors are you trying to work with Eritrea?



ASST. SEC. NAGY: I’m sorry, I didn’t get the gist of the query. Brian, did you?



MODERATOR: No, let me ask the journalist. In the event you might introduce your self once more and state your query once more. I heard “Eritrea” however we couldn’t decide up the query. It’s not an ideal connection.



QUESTION: My identify is [INAUDIBLE] from the Eritrea Profile newspaper. Ambassador Nagy, [INAUDIBLE] and shifting ahead, what’s the particular position of the U.S. within the Horn of Africa, and what sort of relationship do you envision establishing with Eritrea, and what particular areas and sectors are you wanting ahead to work?



ASST. SEC. NAGY: Okay, I did hear the half about what particular relations we look ahead to establishing with Eritrea. As I stated in my introductory feedback, I hope that within the not-too-distant future, the USA of America can have the identical heat, cordial relationship with Eritrea that we’ve with Ethiopia.



We discovered our discussions with Eritrean authorities officers to be very constructive. We talked about a variety of problems with mutual curiosity, together with the potential for U.S. corporations investing in Eritrea, as a result of all of us acknowledge that Eritrea wants urgently to create jobs for its many younger individuals, and past that we agreed that it’s going to be a step-by-step shifting ahead, and we sit up for persevering with that dialogue, each in Asmara and in Washington.



MODERATOR: Thanks, Ambassador. Go forward, sir.



ASST. SEC. NAGY: He additionally talked about the Horn of Africa. On the Horn of Africa, we’re very inspired by current developments with Prime Minister Abiy in Ethiopia, extending a hand of friendship in the direction of Eritrea, which is washing over the complete area. I feel additionally it is impacting Somalia. Hopefully it’s going to additionally impression South Sudan, and hopefully quickly the connection additionally might be normalized between Djibouti and Eritrea. Because the Ethiopian overseas minister says himself, “We should always now name it not the Horn of Africa however the Hope of Africa.” Thanks.



MODERATOR: Thanks, sir. We now have time, I feel, for only one extra query. Kevin Kelley, should you’re nonetheless on the road, go forward and ask your query.



QUESTION: Yeah, hello, right here I’m. Thanks, Brian, and thanks once more, Secretary Nagy. So I need to ask a basic query about U.S. coverage towards Africa. The Clinton administration, its signature initiative in Africa was AGOA. The youthful President Bush’s signature initiative was PEPFAR, the very profitable anti-AIDS program. And the Obama administration has Energy Africa and Feed the Future. I’m questioning if the Trump administration is considering some type of signature program in Africa that might be remembered as a, say, main contribution to U.S.-Africa relations. Thanks.



ASST. SEC. NAGY: Positive. I feel within the very close to future we shall be rolling out a proper Africa coverage, however what I can inform you now: I feel a great indication was the current passage and the signage by the president of the BUILD Act, which I feel is extraordinarily vital as a result of it doubles the investable belongings of the Abroad Personal Funding Company from $30 billion to $60 billion. A lot of that can be directed on the creating world, i.e., Africa, and it’ll present an incredible quantity of flexibility, and never only for American corporations, however for others to undertake bankable tasks.



So I feel that you would be able to see that loads of that focus goes to be on bringing overseas direct funding to Africa, as a result of as everyone knows, that for an space to really, really develop, it requires super quantities of out of doors direct funding. You already know, we will speak concerning the improvement help, however there’s by no means actually sufficient cash in any sort of improvement help to truly develop the nation, however there’s an incredible quantity of overseas direct funding on the market in search of a spot to take a position, and as I’ve advised quite a few African leaders, I can be delighted to push U.S. buyers in the direction of Africa; I want their assist in pulling them by establishing an setting which is pleasant to buyers and what we name a “degree enjoying area” so American companies can have the identical probability as companies from different locations, and a rules-based system.



So I feel what I would like is by the top of the administration that we will say that a number of the nations in Africa could have made large progress in the direction of truly creating and never eternally being creating, however to get to “developed.” Thanks very a lot.



MODERATOR: Thanks, Assistant Secretary Nagy. That’s on a regular basis we’ve got. Sir, do you’ve got any remaining phrases earlier than we conclude?



ASST. SEC. NAGY: No. Thanks a lot for doing this. Hopefully I’ll get round to your complete continent earlier than my first yr is up as Assistant Secretary. I’m into it 5 months now; we’ve visited two areas, we stay with central Africa and southern Africa for the subsequent two journeys, and I’ll go to as many nations as potential. Thanks a lot.



MODERATOR: Thanks once more, Assistant Secretary Nagy. We very a lot respect you taking day trip of your busy schedule, when you’re visiting the continent. Once more, Assistant Secretary Nagy joined us from Nairobi, Kenya. That concludes immediately’s name; thanks for becoming a member of us, and the callers for collaborating. In case you have any further questions on at this time’s name, you possibly can contact the Africa Regional Media Hub at [email protected] Thanks very a lot.




About the author