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Precisely as Africa is rising on the radar screens of investors and security types, it seems to be falling off the US foreign policy map. With the exception of Governor Romney’s mention of Mali (twice!) in the third debate, Africa hardly featured at all. That’s a shame, since Africa is both a growing opportunity and will become a greater threat if neglected. I’ve been deeply disappointed to see the United States reduce its engagement with the continent under the current administration, losing ground on the progress made under Presidents Clinton and Bush. Regardless of who wins on November 6, the scope for doing better—and more without more money—is obvious.
The following originally appeared on October 1 as “Missing in Africa” on ForeignAffairs.com.
To: Jim Lehrer
From: Nancy Birdsall
Subject: Missed opportunity to include development in the foreign policy debate
Dear Jim - How regrettable that the presidential debate on foreign policy and security focused on such a predictably narrow set of topics.