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About the speaker:
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield served as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia (2008-2012) and held postings in Switzerland (at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations), Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. Her Washington postings include the Bureau of African Affairs, where she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, and the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary.
Prior to joining the U.S. Department of State, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield taught political science at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield was awarded the Hubert Humphrey Public Leadership Award, the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award, and the Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs. She has also received the Presidential Rank Award and the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award.
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield is a Senior Vice President at Albright Stonebridge Group, where she draws on her long and distinguished career as a U.S. diplomat to help the clients of ASG’s Africa practice. Prior to this appointment, she served as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources where she oversaw all personnel functions for the U.S. Department of State’s 70,000-strong workforce. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield is a Distinguished Resident Fellow in African Affairs at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service. She is based in Washington, DC.
About the talk:
After decades of slow growth, Africa has a great chance to follow in the footsteps of Asia. The first great surge of western interest in Africa, dubbed the “Scramble”, occurred in the 19th century, when European colonists carved up the continent and seized African lands. The second great surge came during the “Cold War”, when the Eastern and Western bloc countries competed for the allegiance of newly independent African states. The Soviet Union backed Marxist tyrants while the United States propped up despots who claimed to support capitalism.
In the latest surge of interest, governments and businesses from all over the world are looking for commercial opportunities. Among the attractions are vast natural resources and an abundant supply of low cost workers. A new group of foreign countries, with China taking the lead, is gaining a commercial and strategic foothold across this huge continent comprising of 54 countries.
Africa’s growing share of the population is one of the reasons the continent is becoming more important. Africa's current population of about 1.2 billion people is projected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. By 2025 the UN predicts there will be more people in Africa than people in China. To say that Africa's has potential for the next generation would be an understatement.