Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church
China and the U.S. Compete in Africa
A Diplomat's Perspective
Africa has gotten healthier, wealthier and more hopeful over the past 10 years than anyone could have predicted. Why? How? And is it sustainable? What does this mean for the United States, and what about China’s rapidly expanding role there?
“As analysts and investors tout Africa as the next great economic frontier, and as China deepens its engagement as the continent’s biggest trading partner, Africa’s middle class is expanding,” says Ambassador Bellamy. “But do ordinary Africans — the 50 percent still subsisting on less than $2 a day — also stand to gain? And are democracy and respect for human rights also advancing in Africa, or is Chinese-style authoritarianism emerging as an alternative form of political development?”
Bellamy says the jury is still out on where this will lead, but the United States cannot stand idly by without trying to influence the outcome. And it’s not. But, he asks, are we doing enough, and is it the right thing — both for our interests and for those of Africa?
Ambassador William “Mark” Bellamy (retired) is the Warburg Professor of International Relations at Simmons College, Boston and a board member of the Washington-based Partners for Democratic Change. From 2008 to mid-2012 he was the director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) at the National Defense University in Washington. Previously he was a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and senior vice president of the National Defense University.
A career diplomat, he was the U.S. ambassador to Kenya from 2003 to 2006, during which he directed U.S. security programs throughout the Horn of Africa. He also supervised the U.S. government’s largest foreign HIV/AIDS program and led multinational efforts to combat corruption and promote good governance in Kenya. He served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (2001-2003) and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (2000-2001).
His earlier diplomatic assignments include Deputy Chief of Mission in Canberra (1997-2000), Political Minister-Counselor in Paris (1993-1997) and Political Counselor in Pretoria and Cape Town (1991-1993). In South Africa he was closely engaged in U.S. diplomatic efforts to promote a peaceful transition from apartheid to democratic rule.
Ambassador Bellamy holds a B.A. in history from Occidental College and an M.A. in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University). He also holds certificates from the Institute Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales in Geneva and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration in Paris.
Ambassador Bellamy is the recipient of a Presidential Meritorious Service Award, the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Distinguished Civilian Service Award, and a Distinguished Honor Award and two Superior Honor Awards conferred by the Secretary of State. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he worked as a journalist in San Francisco and public relations officer for a major bank in Los Angeles.