News Release

Obama’s Africa Policy: Destruction Over Development


In advance of President Obama’s trip to Africa later this week — visiting Senegal, Tanzania, and South Africa — leaders from the Africa policy community hosted a press conference today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to give their thoughts and analysis on U.S. policy on Africa.

The leaders released a policy briefing book and an open letter statement critical of the Obama administration’s policy toward Africa and calling for a new approach to trade and investment, militarization, land grabs and more in the region. They represent a diversity of voices within the Africa Advocacy Network (ADNA), a major network of advocacy groups calling for peace, justice, and sustainability in Africa.

EMIRA WOODS, emira at,, also via Lacy MacAuley, lacy at
Woods is co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies and an expert on U.S. foreign policy with a special emphasis on Africa and the developing world. She has written on a range of issues from debt, trade, and development to U.S. military policy. She said today: “President Obama’s trip is likely to focus on trade and investment, but actually U.S. policy toward Africa has been driven by militarism and resource extraction. Instead, the U.S. should bolster Africa’s dramatic economic rise.

“From Detroit to Dakar, people are clamoring for jobs. Africa — like the U.S. — needs manufacturing, not militarism. The Obama administration should shift away from a militarized approach to Africa with the increased use of drones, secret prisons, and military and intelligence contractors. Resources should instead be directed at building infrastructure and creating jobs outside the extractive sector in value-added production or manufacturing.”