Editor's Note: This op-ed by Rep. Karen Bass is cross-posted from Roll Call.
In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama said, "We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom."
The president was right to single out Africa as a place where American support is greatly needed. The International Monetary Fund and the Economist report that during the past decade, six of the world's fastest-growing economies are within sub-Saharan Africa. Despite this promising trend, which is expected to expand to seven nations during the next decade, recent developments from Mali to Algeria make it clear that U.S. leadership is needed to help maintain peace and stability so that the prosperity seen in places such as Angola and Ghana can spread to every corner of the continent.
On Tuesday, Obama's nominee for secretary of State, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts is expected to win Senate confirmation, giving those closely following Africa the opportunity to elevate both the crises and the promise Africa holds.[view whole blog post ]