4 May 2010


Alex Vines

Dr Alex Vines OBE

Research Director, Area Studies and International Law; Head, Africa Programme

Tom Cargill

Former Assistant Head and Research Fellow, Africa Programme, Chatham House


This chapter, taken from the book America and a Changed World: A Question of Leadership, looks at the US relationship with Sub-Saharan Africa under Presidents Bush and Obama.

The chapter argues that a higher visibility and better coordinated policy towards Africa, relative to that of its predecessors, was inevitable at the start of the Obama administration. In terms of avenues opened and proposals made, President Obama has not disappointed.

However, the level of US commitment to the region, and the quality of that commitment, remain uncertain. The state of the US economy could hold the administration back from financing many of its most ambitious plans, in addition to the major foreign policy challenges in the Middle East and South Asia, this could mean that Africa policy is not a priority.