We continue to give high priority to our non-proliferation goals in the area in the context of our broad global and regional priorities. The decision to continue supply of nuclear fuel to the Indian Tarapur reactors was sensitive to this effort.
The United States has achieved a new level of trust and cooperation with Africa. Our efforts, together with our allies, to achieve peace in southern Africa, our increased efforts to help the poorest countries in Africa to combat poverty, and our expanded efforts to promote trade and investment have led to growing respect for the U.S. and to cooperation in areas of vital interest to the United States.
Africa is a continent of poor nations for the most part. It also contains many of the mineral resources vital for our economy. We have worked with Africa in a spirit of mutual cooperation to help the African nations solve their problems of poverty and to develop stronger ties between our private sector and African economies. Our assistance to Africa has more than doubled in the last four years. Equally important, we set in motion new mechanisms for private investment and trade.
Nigeria is the largest country in Black Africa and the second largest oil supplier to the United States. During this Administration we have greatly expanded and improved our relationship with Nigeria and other West African states whose aspirations for a constitutional democratic order we share and support. This interest was manifested both symbolically and practically by the visit of Vice President Mondale to West Africa in July (1980) and the successful visit to Washington of the President of Nigeria in October.
During Vice President Mondale’s visit, a Joint Agricultural Consultative Committee was established, with the U.S. represented entirely by the private sector. This could herald a new role for the American private sector in helping solve the world’s serious food shortages. I am pleased to say that our relations with Nigeria are at an all-time high, providing the foundation for an even stronger relationship in the years ahead.
Another tenet of this Administration’s approach to African problems has been encouragement and support for regional solutions to Africa’s problems. We have supported initiatives by the Organization of African Unity to solve the protracted conflict in the western Sahara, Chad, and the Horn. In Chad, the world is watching with dismay as a country torn by a devastating civil war has become a fertile field for Libya’s exploitation, thus demonstrating that threats to peace can come from forces within as well as without Africa.
In southern Africa the United States continues to pursue a policy of encouraging peaceful development toward majority rule. In 1980, Southern Rhodesia became independent as Zimbabwe, a multiracial nation under a system of majority rule. Zimbabwean independence last April was the culmination of a long struggle within the country and diplomatic efforts involving Great Britain, African states neighboring Zimbabwe, and the United States.