2016 is crucial year for democracy in Africa – US official

Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Linda Thomas-Greenfield

Madam Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, has said free and fair elections are important in affirming democracy in Africa and improve living conditions of the people.

However, with more than 15 African countries planning to hold presidential elections this year, Madam Greenfield projected 2016 would be a ‘crucial year’ for the continent.

“We know that strong democratic institutions generate greater prosperity and stability, 2016 will be a crucial year for democracy in Africa,” she said.

“We have a lot to talk about…including the recent African Union summit, upcoming elections in Africa, regional security issues, challenges facing the region due to El Niño, and the economy,” Greenfield told journalists via video conference.

The Assistant Secretary used the platform to discuss outcomes of the African Union summit, which took place in Ethiopia in late January, as well as US diplomacy and development efforts across the African continent.

She explained that the meetings with African leaders at the summit gave them the opportunity to plan for 2016 and beyond to strengthen relationships for democracy, peace and prosperity.

“We support free, fair, and transparent elections, our African partners also face a number of security and economic challenges, no single nation or organization can tackle these complex challenges alone,” she stated.

America is already standing with her partners, she said, and providing solutions in the areas of security, health, and capacity building.

“The…United States has a unique contribution to make Africa a continent of ambitious and enthusiastic youth.”

“So another urgent task is helping to create opportunity for Africa’s next generation. We look forward to helping tackle all of these challenges.”

Journalists from US embassies and consulates in Djibouti, Kinshasa, Lagos, Lome, Luanda, and Monrovia joined their counterparts in Accra for the session through the audiovisual conference.

Source: GNA

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