Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ambassador Johnnie Carson discussed the Obama Administration’s strong commitment to South Africa and spoke of the administration’s desire to build upon existing areas of cooperation.  Carson described South Africa as the economic locomotive crucial to Africa’s long-term growth and stability.  He praised the country’s commitment to democracy and rule of law, noting that South Africa’s record of success serves as a powerful example to other African governments.Carson emphasized the importance of economic partnership as being at the heart of US-South African relations. The US is the third largest importer of South African goods and more than 600 American companies are currently operating in the country.  As the United States faces the challenges of the global recession, so too does South Africa.