NLC Participates in State Department Briefing on Sub-Saharan Africa: Secretary Clinton Encourages Organizations like NLC to Continue Their Dialogue of Diplomacy with the Department

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In the NLC International Council's pursuit of global network building with local government leaders worldwide, council Chair Joe Davis attended a Diplomacy Briefing Series focusing on the issues and challenges in U.S. relations with sub-Saharan Africa last week at the Department of State.

"NLC's presence was based upon President Obama's Administration having a closer relationship with NLC because they know that we're experts on local government," explained Davis, alderman, Milwaukee, and the Republic of South Africa honorary consulate of the State of Wisconsin. "They truly respect our expertise and our suggestions and I think that's the reason why we were included."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks at the briefing to "hit a few of the high points" of the Administration's connection to Africa during the last 16 months. She emphasized the great amount of progress that's been made in democracy and human rights that is not often in the headlines. At the same time, Clinton recognizes that challenges still exist even for stable democracies that are trying to fully embed their progress.

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"... We have to join hands to work together to develop that partnership to expand democracy that delivers for people, good governance that actually can be accountable to the people, promoting sustainable economic growth that provides benefits to all people, improving access to health care, education, basic services, and working to eliminate the conflicts that destroy lives and destabilize the region," she said.

Clinton discussed how the Administration is speaking out on behalf of democratic governance and human rights and on behalf of economic opportunity in Africa. For example, last year, she attended the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act conference in Nairobi to underscore the Administration's commitment to help grow the economies.

She also addressed some of the Administration's goals in Africa: fighting corruption, which remains a major obstacle to economic growth; improving health by continuing the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and polio; and continuing to work on mitigating conflicts, paying particular attention to gender-based violence and the use of child soldiers. …