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Vol 40 No 7

Published 2nd April 1999

Washington Who's Who

The capital's Africanists are divided over new policies and their authors

Few are indifferent about Washington’s Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Susan Rice, who inspires critics and loyalists in almost equal measure. The press oscillates from adulation to condemnation as sentiment on Africa swings from hope to despair and back. Few question her abilities as a Washington operator, with strong political skills and connections, notably a family friendship with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. She also meets frequently with President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore, both of whom have become increasingly enthused about African issues. Rice is also on first-name terms with the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, George Tenet, who was working on the intelligence dossier at the White House when she was Senior Director for Africa and Special Advisor on African Affairs to the President at the National Security Council. Like Clinton, Rice was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford; her doctorate was on Zimbabwe but she says she isn't an Africanist. She started her Washington career as Director for International Organisations and Peacekeeping at the National Security Council in 1993 after a stint with McKinsey’s management consultants in Canada.

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