The annual David Miller lecture, which I have only attended once, will be held tonight at the Elliott School for International Affairs. GW has arranged a bevy of panelists (4, perhaps one for each year?) to speak on the next 4 years of US-Africa relations.
Antoinette Sayeh (former Liberian finance minister, now with the IMF) and Amina Salum Ali (AU rep to the US) clearly stand out as the more interesting speakers. Also crowding the podium are Todd Moss of the Center for Global Development and a GW professor. Given the limited time available, it would certainly have been preferable to focus on the two African speakers.
Todd Moss certainly has his choice of plumb speaking events in DC and he rarely offers any public insights that wouldn’t be contained in the pages of the Economist (though I must admit my experience with him is not extensive).
Perhaps a longer post with a personal analysis on the next 4 years of US-Africa relations may be due, but I don’t see any sort of substantive Africa pivot in Obama’s 2nd term (military escalation and DoD activities likely a notable exception). In the near term, Kenya’s election probably offers the most interesting diplomatic engagement between the US and Africa. Zimbabwe’s election, which should definitely happen in Obama’s 2nd term, even if not this year as scheduled, may also attract a significant amount of attention.
Despite the African connections of John Kerry’s wife and his much publicized interest in Sudan (which I suspect has something to do with the time Osama Bin Laden spent there and it’s proximity to Egypt), I don’t see him pushing Africa anymore than his predecessor.
Anyone attending is welcome to submit a guest post to me. I will be on the GW campus honoring a previous commitment.