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Clinton maneuvers testy time for US, Africa

In Kenya, she expressed dismay over rejection of human-rights tribunal – but emphasized shared trade and security interests.

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With the 11-nation tour of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, America's often testy relationship with Africa has opened a new chapter.

Gone are cold-war politics of propping up dictatorships in the fight against communism. Gone, too, are the days of unending development aid for developing African countries.

America in the early 21st century is more likely to need Africa as much as Africa needs America, both in terms of natural resources and energy as in political support on the global stage. And African leaders, from Kenya to South Africa, and from Angola to Congo to Nigeria, know this.

"America needs Africa on a number of areas: It needs Africa in multilateral structures such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, it needs Africa in the War against terror," says David Monyae, an independent political analyst based in Johannesburg. "And given that Africa accounts for the largest number of conflicts where UN peacekeepers play a role," the Obama administration does not have luxury of ignoring African conflicts, no matter how intransigent. "The US cannot think at this stage that a war in Somalia, for instance, has no effect on America."


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