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Sub-Saharan Africa faces some of the most severe development challenges in the world. Yet there is room for hope on a number of fronts. Within many countries, local communities are taking more responsibility for their children’s education and the preservation of their environment. Communities are also demanding a greater voice in how they are governed and how resources are used, all signs of better, more democratic governance on the continent. Expanded programs to fight HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases are being implemented throughout Africa. New projects to encourage trade and agricultural growth have the potential to accelerate economic development. Regional initiatives such as the African-led New Partnership for Africa’s Development signal an increased commitment by national leaders to address the region’s problems.
America's future is inexorably linked with Africa. The goals of reducing poverty, mitigating conflict, fostering democracy, strengthening education, protecting the environment, and lowering HIV/AIDS rates are important to U.S. national security and to regional stability, and contribute to our efforts to encourage worldwide economic growth and combat transnational security threats.