Speaking in Accra, Ghana, last month, President Barack Obama declared, "The 21st century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington, but by what happens in Accra, as well." His speech was designed to highlight America's commitment to Africa and the opportunity for closer relations.
On the heels of Obama's trip to Ghana, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Africa this week. Her seven-nation tour -- with stops in Kenya, South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Liberia, and Cape Verde -- will take her to hot spots and powerful nations that the president missed. The itinerary features three regional powers or anchor states, the continent's two largest producers of oil, the home of one of the world's deadliest conflicts, and talks with the beleaguered president of Somalia's transitional government.
Compared to other U.S. administrations, this is the earliest point that both the president and secretary of state have visited Africa. Does this signal a change in America's policy? Is Africa now a strategic priority for the United States?