ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - On the final day of his tour through Africa, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted socialism and failed government-controlled economic planning.
“I think we can all agree that the poverty rate in many African countries remains way too high,” he said during a speech at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Wednesday. “While effective foreign aid can help to alleviate the problem, very unlikely it will solve it."
“Centralized planning hasn’t worked. Look at the failed socialist experiments of years back in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and right here in Ethiopia. Even now, even as we stand here today, South Africa is debating an amendment to permit the expropriation of private property without compensation. That would be disastrous for that economy, and most importantly for the South African people,” he continued. “Socialist schemes haven’t economically liberated this continent’s poorest people.”
Throughout his trip, which included stops in Senegal and Angola, Pompeo touted the successes of private enterprise and entrepreneurship. He met with a number of small business owners and urged governments to rid their systems of corruption in order to unleash the full economic potential of their countries.
“But we all...know the right way forward," he said. "Basic, strong rule of law, respect for property rights, regulation that encourages investment."
"We also need women’s full participation in this economic liberation and we need governments that respect their own people," he continued. "These are the key ingredients for true, inclusive, sustainable economic liberation."
China continues to dump money into Africa, saddling countries and their citizens with enormous debt - both monetarily and politically. They’re building low quality, dangerous infrastructure all over the continent.
“Not every nation doing business in Africa from outside the continent adopts the American model of partnership. Countries should be wary of authoritarian regimes and their empty promises. They breed corruption, dependency, they don't hire the local people, they don't train them, they don't lead them. They run the risk that the prosperity and sovereignty and progress that Africa so needs and desperately wants won't happen,” Pompeo warned. “The United States stands for local jobs, environmental responsibility, honest business practices, high quality work, and mutual prosperity.”
Pompeo will now travel to Saudi Arabia and Oman, shifting focus to the threat from Iran.
"I leave here even more optimistic than I came," he said. "There is enormous opportunity not only for Africa here, but for the world."