Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged South Africa to take a leading role in driving economies across Africa and called on it to do more to press for reform in neighboring Zimbabwe.
Clinton also praised improving ties between the United States and South Africa since the recent presidential elections in both countries. In particular, she welcomed what she said would be increased cooperation in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
In a speech to business leaders in Johannesburg, Clinton said that despite economic setbacks South Africa was "uniquely positioned" to propel growth throughout Africa, the world's poorest continent, if it sticks to sound financial principles, embraces open trade and promotes foreign investment.
Earlier Clinton met privately with South Africa's revered anti-apartheid leader and former president, Nelson Mandela, who turned 91 last month.