...for Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, who yesterday completed her seven-nation, eleven-day tour of Africa with a visit to the Atlantic islands of Cape Verde. Mrs Clinton was following up President Obama's brief visit to Ghana last month during which he warned all African countries that their future depended primarily on their own efforts -- though America would always help those who helped themselves. She pursued this theme, chiding countries such as Congo and Kenya for their failure to deal with the big problems facing them and encouraging those such as Nigeria and South Africa which are key allies of the US. This visit was important because during the Bush administration America's relationships with Africa languished while China strengthened its links. One important country was missing from Mrs Clinton's itinerary -- Zimbabwe -- on which she looked to South Africa to use its influence to make the power-sharing agreement between President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai a constructive reality. Despite some distractions, Hillary Clinton accomplished an important mission in renovating US relations with the African continent.

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