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Clinton: US Committed to Good Governance in Congo

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VOA News - August 10, 2009

Joseph Kabila and Hillary Clinton in Goma

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in the Democratic Republic of Congo where she says the Obama administration is ready to help the government in Kinshasa improve good governance and accountability.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Obama administration believes in the promise and potential of strengthening democratic institutions in the Democratic Republic of Congo and creating an economy that more equitably spreads its wealth.

"We know that the promise of the D.R.C. is limitless. We will help you build a strong, civilian-lead government that is accountable and transparent, an independent judiciary, a professional military that respects human rights, a free press, and an active and engaged citizenry. A society whose institutions respect the rule of law," she said.

Clinton spoke to university students at a town hall meeting in Kinshasa, where she encouraged them to consider what they will do as students and what they will do when they finish school - urging them not to forget the commitment they feel today to improve Congolese society.

"I think that student leaders like yourselves are the ones who have to speak-out for the progress that you seek. Speak-out to end the corruption, the violence and the conflict that have for too long eroded opportunity across this country. Together you can write a new chapter of Congolese history," she said.

Clinton says new technologies give young people in Africa new ways to make an impact.

"Use those cell phones to help organize, create political movements, expose crime and violence and corruption, empower the poor with information, access to credit, and social networks," she advised.

Clinton travels Tuesday to Congo's eastern city of Goma to meet with President Joseph Kabila. They are expected to discuss efforts to prosecute sexual violence in the eastern Kivu provinces as well as work to make better use of the region's mineral resources.

"I am particularly concerned about the exploitation of natural resources, like the mining and the timber, where the revenues do nothing to help the people of this country," she said.

Clinton says corruption in mineral processing undermines development and job creation.

She says she will encourage President Kabila to work with the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, which requires more openness about who is getting mineral contracts, how much money they are making, and where that revenue is going.

"Africa is so rich, and Africa is so poor. We want to have the riches of Africa benefit the poor people of Africa," said the US secretary of state.

Clinton says African countries that have successfully used mineral resources to benefit their people have created set-aside funds so some of those revenues return to mining communities to build infrastructure.


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