The nearly 40 year process of decolonization and the end of the Cold War have helped create major transformations in Sub-Saharan Africa. The challenges of extreme poverty, civil war, crime, cross-border interventionism, terrorism, outflows of refugees, environmental degradation and the spread of pandemic disease threaten the region's security environment and could threaten global stability. A contradiction exists between the United States government's stated foreign policy of engagement and its involvement in Africa. While stability is arguably its most important national interest, America does little to shape the security environment of this troubled region. If the United States is going to shape Africa's security environment, political leaders must become the visionaries of, and the advocates for, a more sophisticated foreign policy for the region. They must gain consensus on national interests in the region, and formulate a coherent set of policy objectives which will focus future engagement strategies. Through selective engagement the United States can help Africans solve African problems while shaping a security environment favorable to United States interests.