By Jennie Palluzzi
10/21/07 — In one of his final events as a presidential candidate,
Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback told a crowd at Boston University the United
States needs to pay attention the overlooked continent of Africa.
“We can push Africa to the top of the agenda,” the Kansas Republican
said in an event at which he mentioned his candidacy only in passing.
“It is a lot easier to do something on a foreign policy agenda while
it’s still forming and when it’s starting to move forward than after
it’s already set and stabilized.”
Brownback said it is in the best interests of the United States to get
more involved in Africa as it is in the best interests of countries
there to encourage U.S. involvement.
“To me, I see people in Africa, and I see them struggling,” he said.
“We’ve got to major on the majors.” The majors, said Brownback, are
fields such as medicine, food, and water. He said that the United
States needs to allow private sector companies help solve the problems
in those areas.
Brownbacak said legislation passed in the Senate would allow companies
to establish “priority review vouchers. that would give the company
incentives for invent treatments for neglected diseases. Companies
that invented such treatments would be eligible for vouchers granting
a priority review for treatments by the Food and Drug Administration.
Brownback said he had traveled several places in Afida including
Darfur and the Congo. He reminded the crowd several times that “there
are positive things going on in Africa.”
People there, “just want simply a little bit of help,” he said,
drawing a Bible parable from Luke 16:19. “And if we just simply engage
them, they can save our souls.”
The event was the kick-off lecture for the Boston University African
Presidential Archives and Research Center’s 2007 Leadership Lecture
Series. The next lecture has not yet been planned, but according to
the APARC will be held sometime in early 2008.
Media Credit: Jennie Palluzzi