Jendayi Frazer

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Dr. Jendayi Frazer
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
In office
29 August 2005 – 20 January 2009
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byConstance Berry Newman
Succeeded byJohnnie Carson
United States Ambassador to South Africa
In office
25 May 2004 – 26 August 2005
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byCameron R. Hume
Succeeded byEric M. Bost
Personal details
Political partyRepublican

Jendayi Elizabeth Frazer (born 1961) is the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, heading the Bureau of African Affairs. She was a Distinguished Service Professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College and Department of Social and Decision Sciences.


Before taking on her position in the Bush Administration, Frazer was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs on the National Security Council and the first woman to serve as United States Ambassador to South Africa. Prior to entering government in 2001, Frazer was an Assistant Professor for Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University from 1995 to 2001. She was Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and editor of the journal Africa Today from 1993 to 1995. She graduated from Stanford University with B.A. in Political Science with honors and African-American Studies with distinction and obtained her M.A. degrees in International Policy Studies and International Development Education, and a Ph.D. in Political Science; during her time at Stanford, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice served as a faculty member in the Political Science department.[2]

Frazer is a specialist in African Affairs and International Security Affairs. During her tenure at the National Security Council, she was instrumental in the decisions that led to establishing the $15 billion President's Emergency Plan for HIV/AID Relief (PEPFAR) as well as the Millennium Challenge Account that has contributed to raising U.S. assistance to Africa to a historic high of $4.1 billion in 2006. Frazer is also given credit for designing the administration's policy for ending the wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Burundi. She is known for statements condemning armed movements in Africa and in favor of peaceful opposition movements to bring about democratic political and social change throughout the continent.[citation needed]

Frazer's tenure as Assistant Secretary of State was a controversial one: She was considered one of the most powerful and outspoken Assistant Secretaries in the Bush Administration. Yet, an August 2009 report by the State Department's Office of the Inspector General reviewed 50 years of Africa policy and criticized the Africa Bureau describing it as low resourced and being hobbled by low morale, and a lack of qualified personnel and a "failed" public diplomacy program. The report focused on 50 years of the bureau's history and not specifically Frazer's tenure.[3] The Inspector General's office criticized the Africa Bureau while Africa policy under the Bush Administration was widely heralded as one of the Administration's most successful foreign policy achievements.[4][5] John Bolton, the Bush Administration's Ambassador to the United Nations, accused Frazer of setting back his plans to end the U.N. Mission in Eritrea-Ethiopia that monitored and acted as an interposition force along the disputed border between Ethiopia and Eritrea by unilaterally deciding that the 2002 decision of the Ethiopian-Eritrean Boundary Commission should be cast aside to favor Ethiopia's position.[6] Frazer disputed Bolton's claim since U.S. policy continued to recognize the EEBC decision.

Frazer has also been accused[7] of quietly encouraging Ethiopia's decision to militarily intervene in Somalia in late 2006, a contradiction of the administration's official position.[8] A WikiLeaks cable provides the notes from a 2006 meeting between an official with the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea and former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Frazer.[9] According to these notes, Frazer describes the worst-case scenario of the Islamic Courts Union (an umbrella group of Eritrean-supported militias) defeating the Transitional Federal Government as having "a major negative impact on the Horn" which the US would not allow.

The US Assistant Secretary's visit to Addis Ababa and meetings with Prime Minister Meles and the presence of Rear Admiral Hunt at her side show Washington's growing concerns about the evolving situation in Somalia and the Region. If in the past, the US and Ethiopia had diverging views and strategies on the way forward in Somalia (ref our CC CSX 103 of 21/6/06), the UICs military achievements have definitely led to a rapprochement and to the potential development of a common approach to the problem. Any Ethiopian action in Somalia would have Washington's blessing.[9]

Administration officials denied these claims.[citation needed]

Recent events[edit]

On January 7, 2007, Frazer met with Somali political leaders in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss United States support for the interim Somali government.[10] Later that day she cancelled a planned trip to Mogadishu, Somalia, due to the media revealing the details of her itinerary and riots in the city the day before over a faulty disarmament plan.[11] The U.S. envoy, the highest ranking in 14 years, made a surprise visit to Somalia on April 7, 2007. She visited Ali Mohammed Ghedi and Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed to help with the national reconciliation of Somalia.[12]

On January 4, 2008, Frazer was sent by President George W. Bush to Kenya to help seek a resolution of that country's political dispute following the December 2007 presidential election, and she met with President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.[13]

On April 24, 2008, Frazer noted that Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change won the disputed Zimbabwean presidential election, 2008, and stated that President Robert Mugabe should step down.[14]

On May 25, 2008, Mugabe delivered a speech that mentioned Frazer in negative terms: "You saw the joy that the British had, that the Americans had, and saw them here through their representatives celebrating and acting as if we [Zimbabwe] are either an extension of Britain or ... America. You saw that little American girl [Frazer] trotting around the globe like a prostitute ..."[15]

As of late October 2008, she has been put in charge of issues concerning the Conflict in North Kivu.

In late August 2009, Frazer criticized the Obama Administration's senior officials statements that they must practice "tough love" with Africans. She asserts that Obama should reorient his administration's policy away from patronizing notions of "tough love" to better emphasize the U.S.'s strategic interests in Africa.

Frazer has been critical of the International Criminal Court, accusing it in 2015 of unfairly targeting African leaders accused of fomenting violence.[16]

On August 8, 2016, Frazer became one of fifty senior national security and government experts to sign a letter highly critical of the Republican candidate for the 2016 US Presidential election, Donald Trump. The letter stated their belief that Trump was unsuited to assume office, denouncing him as dangerous.


This issue of insurgency is one that continues to trouble me and Africa as a whole. The way forward is development and legitimate opposition, not through picking up arms and insurgency, and it's a message the A.U. needs to make much more loudly to its member states. – Frazer in a press conference discussing instability in the horn of Africa.[1]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Rice, Condoleezza (2017). Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom. New York: Grand Central Publishing. p. 202. ISBN 9781455540181. Jendayi knew Kenya. A highly regarded Africanist, she had been my PhD student at Stanford.
  3. ^ US State Department Office of the Inspector General, Report of Inspection: The Bureau of African Affairs Archived 2009-08-13 at the Wayback Machine., Report no. ISP-I-09-63, August 2009
  4. ^ Bob Geldolf, "With Bush In Africa: A Journey Across A Continent and into the Soul of a President," Time (March 10, 2008)
  5. ^ Kim Ghattas, "Countries that will miss George Bush," BBC News (January 16, 2009), p. 1–3
  6. ^ John Bolton, Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007), p. 347.
  7. ^ Francavilla, Chiara (6 January 2012). "Wikileaks on Somalia – Public Reluctance, Private Insistence". Think Africa Press. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  8. ^ Frazer, Jendayi. "Al Jazeera Interview". Television Interview. Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  9. ^ a b Official with UNMEE. "Meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs". Summary notes from meeting. WikiLeaks. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  10. ^ McCrummen, Stephanie (2007-01-07). "U.S. Diplomat Meets With Somali Leaders". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-01-07.
  11. ^ Gettleman, Jeffrey; Mohammed Ibrahim (2007-01-11). "Islamists Out, Somalia Tries to Rise From Chaos". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
  12. ^ "U.S. envoy makes surprise visit to Somalia, officials say". CNN. 2007-04-07. Archived from the original on 2007-04-12. Retrieved 2007-04-07. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  13. ^ C Bryson Hull and Barry Moody, "Opposition brushes aside Kibaki offer", Reuters (IOL), January 5, 2008.
  14. ^ "Mugabe trying to steal election, says U.S. official", CNN, April 24, 2008.
  15. ^ "Mugabe labels U.S. diplomat a 'prostitute'", CNN, May 26, 2008.
  16. ^ "Wall Street Journal". Retrieved 9 October 2015.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Cameron R. Hume
United States Ambassador to South Africa
Succeeded by
Eric M. Bost