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Africa

Clinton's 11-day African charm offensive

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has signed a deal giving South Africa a greater say in how it uses US funding to fight AIDS. A rights group wants her to raise violence and rights abuses in Nigeria.

In South Africa almost 6 million people have tested positive for HIV. PEPFAR, the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has spent $3.2 billion (2.6 billion euros) on antiretroviral drugs and HIV prevention in South Africa since 2004.

During her visit to the country, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed a deal shifting administrative control of the AIDS initiative and treatment implementation over to the South Africans. The handover will take five years.

At a US-South Africa business summit, the Secretary of State noted that bilateral trade had shot up by more than 20 percent to almost $22 billion from 2010 to 2011.

Clinton also told an audience at Cape Town University that the United States would reward efforts by Zimbabwe's leaders to pave the way towards free elections.

The Secretary of State was in South Africa at the midpoint of an 11-day tour that has already taken her to Senegal, South Sudan, Kenya and Malawi.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to women in Dakar. Picture: Jacquelyn Martin.

US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, at the start of her African tour in Dakar

Her diplomacy yielded dividends when the two Sudans signalled compromise over oil and humanitarian aid access after she had spoken with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.

Visit to Nigeria

Her trip to Nigeria is being closely watched as it comes only days after a church massacre and a gun fight between militants and troops in Okene in Kogi state, which left at least 23 people dead.

The rights group Human Rights Watch urged Clinton to raise the topics of militant Islamist violence and rights abuses by the country's security forces in talks with Nigerian leaders.

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