Saturday, June 26, 2010

Nigeria's Ambassador to the United States (Prof. Adefuye) to hold Press Conference on Nigeria-U.S. Relations















White House Photo
3/29/10

For Immediate Release - July 1, 2010
The African Ambassador News Conference Series

Washington, DC. - Nigeria’s recently appointed Ambassador to the United States, Professor Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye (top right) will hold his first solo press conference to brief U.S. and international media on latest developments in Nigeria and with Nigeria-U.S. bilateral relations.

Venue: Embassy of Nigeria - 3519 International Court, NW Washington, DC 20008
Date: Thursday July 15, 2010
Time: 10:00am prompt
Media required to set up by: 9:30am

The historic events/developments in Nigeria and between Nigeria and the United States over the past four months alone have altered the course of Africa’s most populous nation and her relationship with the world’s biggest democracy, the United States. Ambassador Adefuye will speak to these historic events and answer questions from media.

Some of the historic events include a meeting between President Obama and then Acting President Goodluck Jonathan during the recent Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington, DC., the unfortunate passing of President Yar’Ardua, a message from President Obama to the government and people of Nigeria, the successful swearing in of President Goodluck Jonathan following the death of President Yar’Ardua, the appointment of a new Nigerian Ambassador to the United States after almost a full year without one, Nigeria’s removal from the U.S. “country of interest” list, signing of a U.S. – Nigeria bi-national commission agreement (the first by the Obama Administration), U.S.-Nigeria Energy & Investment Working Group Meeting & Grant Signing and U.S.-Nigeria Nuclear Safety, Security, and Nonproliferation Consultations.

To cover this event for U.S. or international media or to attend, RSVP to
bna@afroimagetv.org or call Beryl @ 202 460 3906 by July 10. Please note that seating is limited and only credentialed media and RSVP’d guests can attend.

The African Ambassador News Conference Series™ was instituted by AMIP News to provide African ambassadors in Washington, DC a rare opportunity to engage U.S. and International media in a very effective manner to inform and educate U.S. and international audiences about developments in their home countries and between their countries and the United States. AMIP News (www.amipnews.org) a subsidiary of the Africa Media-Image Project, Inc. is dedicated to covering U.S. – Africa Engagement and bridging the information gap between the U.S. and African countries.

# # #

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Washington, DC Area Church (Immanuel’s) Strikes a Cord with the Beltway International Community




























Silver Spring, Maryland - June 22, 2010


By Frederick Nnoma-Addison


This Silver Spring based Church ironically does not have the word “international” at the tail end of its name as most churches have these days, yet it is perhaps the “United Nations” of churches in America. Immanuel’s Church has 65 different nationalities represented in its membership. I have personally photographed national flags displayed in the rotunda, had lunch at the Café of the Nations and seen the congregation pray for one of these nations during worship service each Sunday.


In the past six months that I followed the ministry and its leadership I have witnessed Messianic Jews preach from the pulpit as well as Christian native Indians, who have even used their native drums as back drops for their sermons, a taboo setting in other ministries. I have seen announcements being made by foreign nationals like myself with heavy accents, and a parade of international costumes, worship styles and dances. These observations and many others grabbed my attention and made me wonder what kind of church it is.


During this same period the ministry has also hosted multiple screenings of Maafa21, a powerful documentary film on Black Genocide in 21st Century America, hosted the mostly black Morgan State University Choir, dispatched missionaries to almost every continent and welcomed new members from various ethnic groups. Each Sunday an offering basket is dedicated to evangelism and development in some country on some continent and Pastor Charles Schmitt (73) the founding pastor of this 26 year old ministry has unabashedly asked for contributions for the work in the following areas:



  • Neediest Children Feeding Ministry
  • North America’s First Nations
  • Latin America’s Hispanic Nations
  • North Africa’s Muslim Nations
  • African Nations South of the Sahara
  • Europe’s Unreached Nations
  • Israel, Palestine and the Arab Nations
  • India and Nepal’s Hindu Nations
  • Central Asia’s Buddhist Nations


I was there when the Sudanese Ambassador to the United States visited one Sunday with his delegation and was acknowledged and prayed for during the service.


Not only are the positive characteristics I have itemized needed in an extremely diverse nation like this one, they also foreshadow the church that Jesus Christ will marry according to Revelations 7:9-10.


“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hand. And they cried out in a loud voice. Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” NIV.


Active church membership at Immanuel’s is estimated at a little below 4000 (men, women and children) according to Pastor Charles and he adds that sub-Saharan African nationals are by far the largest people group in the congregation. They represent at least 25% or 1000 people, a number big enough to fit the definition of a “mega” church in America. The beauty of Immanuel’s Church is that while one people group may represent the largest demographic you could still not refer to it as an African, Caucasian or Hispanic church.


Although everything about the ministry is typically American, it would almost seem out of place to even label it that way. Immanuel’s is simply “the church,” a worship place for believers of every tribe, tongue and nation. Pastor Charles and Dotty Schmitt (the founding pastors) are both Caucasians but beyond their looks, that factor is inconsequential. In a weird way the church is both sensitive to the needs of an international community (the very fabric of America) and at the same time is race or people group blind. It finds a way to cater for the needs of such a diverse group without making a big deal about it which perhaps is the secret to their success.


In my interview with Pastor Charles I asked him how this diversity came about. “I cannot say that it is anything specific that we do, I would probably say that it is a God thing… and He has given us the grace to accommodate this level of diversity in our midst. There were a couple of prophecies over 20 years ago about this which confirms that God has been operative in our midst. Honestly we never found it to be difficult pastoring such a diverse church… of course we have made some blunders in the past and have learned from them, overall there has been a real harmony in our midst between all the races and I am thankful to God…”


The church does not merely celebrate the diversity of its members, instead it sees this as an important part of ministry to the nations and a bridge to ministry fields beyond the United States. According to Pastor Charles, one thing he wishes for is that a hand full of millionaires will join the congregation and bring their wealth to support the work of Christian ministry. “The needs in the church and the communities we serve always exceed the provisions we have and being able to meet these ministry needs is one of my greatest desires.”


True to the modus operandi, many of the foreign nationals within the church have successfully built bridges between this ministry in the United States and others in their home countries. To date the church actively supports and partners with ministries in India, Israel, Guatemala, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and many other countries - a dedication to the nations which resonates with and attracts the international community around the beltway. It could also be the level of inclusion that the ministry strives for. During Sunday service on June 20th (Father’s Day) it was hilarious to observe Pastor Charles introduce his Ivorian born personal assistant for that service. The gentleman wore the colors of the flag of his home country (orange, white and green) in solidarity of their soccer match with Portugal (FIFA World Cup.) For Pastor Charles that may have been just a light moment but for that brother it certainly wasn't. It was a historic moment in which he and his developing West African country (La Cote d’Ivoire) were recognized, affirmed and validated.


I was quite amazed to see the map of Kenya projected onto two large screens during a service one day and the congregation asked to intercede for that East African nation. The “nation of the week” prayer time during Sunday services in my opinion is a true demonstration of the church's commitment to ministry to the nations which is the heartbeat of the great commission (Mathew 28: 16-20). Probably the best part of all this international flavor is the retailing of Guatemala coffee to support a missionary in that country.


Many ‘mega’ churches in America like to pride themselves in the level of diversity of their membership, the same way corporate America would do with its employees, even if the representation of smaller ethnic groups were less that 1%. The fact of the matter is that it is one thing professing to be a multi-racial, multi-cultural or multi-ethnic church family and another thing actually embracing that diversity and making every one, especially those from the less fortunate parts of the world, feel a part of the family. Without suggesting that Immanuel’s is the perfect church model, I have observed that many churches pride themselves in being a diverse church only as a marketing tool, and this perhaps is how Immanuel’s stands out.


When I first started visiting the church in January of 2010, I was struck by the attire that Pastors Charles and Dotty wore in the photograph used for the weekly bulletins. They wore African clothes and I wondered whether they were just not American enough, were Africanists or simply liked foreign clothes. For someone born in west Africa (Ghana), that simple choice of wearing African attire in this photograph strikes a cord with me and makes me feel less of an "alien" in that space. If corporations, nations, businesses, churches and families can learn from each other’s examples then I strongly believe that the Church in America can learn from the example being set by Immanuel’s Church in the Washington, DC area.


Asked about the church’s most important role in the local community Pastor Charles answered, I think the biggest contribution to the local community is through Camp Sonshine, which is a world-class 30 year old Christian summer camp for children and youth. "Camp Sonshine has a sweeping impact on families in the area and we are glad to be able to offer such a program to the community …The church is also involved in food donation programs to the area's needy.”


Immanuel’s Church http://www.immanuels.org/ was founded in 1982 in the Schmitt’s home in Maryland. The heartbeat of the church is "To Know Christ And Make Him Known." The church facility located at 16819 New Hampshire Avenue sits on a 20 acre land that used to be an apple and peach orchard. Based on my personal experiences these six months I am no longer surprised that the church’s slogan is “You will be loved at Immanuel’s Church.”



Pastor Charles is the author of several Christian books - The Life Of David, Song Of Solomon, 40 Foundations Of Our Faith and End Time Truth for End Time People.


Below are photo expressions of various aspects of a worship service taken on Father's Day June 20th, 2010.

















Pastors Charles & Dotty Schmitt (Founding Pastors)


















Choir Ministration


















Entrance to Café of the Nations


















Kid Worship


















Poetry Recital - Book of Ecclesiastes


















Youth Dance Ministration


















Worship In the Sanctuary


















Youth Dance Ministration


















Youth Dance Ministration


















Worship Team


















Cross Section of Congregation


















Cross Section of Congregation


















Rotunda - Flags of the Nations


















Rotunda - Flags of the Nations


















Cross Section of Congregation


















Pastor Charles Schmitt


















Holy Communion


















Nation of the Week

















Entrance to Café of the Nations

















Poetry Recital - Book of Ecclesiastes


















Youth Dance Ministration













Written by:
Frederick Nnoma-Addison

A New Internet Era Is Dawning Across East Africa

Internet symposium in Uganda hopes to spur connectivity, opportunity

By Charles W. Corey

Washington - The recent deployment of the SEACOM broadband cable off the coast of east Africa has sparked "the dawn of a new era" in Internet communications in the region, according to one communications executive.

A June 28-29 symposium in Uganda organized by the U.S. telecom firm Verizon Communications and other planning partners is an effort to help improve East Africa's Internet links with the rest of the world and thus stimulate enhanced educational opportunities and economic growth and development across the region, the executive said.

Kathryn C. Brown, senior vice president of public policy development and corporate responsibility at Verizon, spoke with America.gov June 21 and previewed the event, which is expected to attract some 120 government, business and education representatives from the target countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. The symposium seeks to improve Internet access and applications for the region's institutions of higher education.

"There was no [easy] connectivity to East Africa prior to the installation of that underwater cable," Brown explained. "You would either have to come up from South Africa or you needed to go all the way up to Egypt in order to reach the rest of the world. Now Internet connectivity is sitting on the shores of East Africa - and for that connectivity to be deployed for folks to start to see the potential for this infrastructure development, it is going to be a real eye-opener."

Brown, who will travel to Uganda for the symposium, said that, historically, East Africa has been "one of the least-connected regions" of sub-Saharan Africa. "The Internet connectivity there is largely poor, particularly when you get outside the international conference areas. Many African nations were forced to rely on limited, expensive satellite services alone for their international connectivity needs. This is now changing, due to the arrival of undersea cables. There is an opportunity now and a willingness on the part of the [telecom] carriers there to build out a national backbone infrastructure. The governments are very interested, the large stakeholders are very interested in having this connectivity, and Verizon, while not in East Africa right now, has had a real interest in seeing that the entire world is connected to the Internet."

If the region becomes fully integrated into the World Wide Web, Brown predicted that "the changes, frankly, will be far-reaching. As we have seen around the world, once a region becomes connected to the rest of the world, the amount of economic development is staggering. So the construction of a stable, reliable, trusted [Internet] infrastructure in the region will no doubt stimulate investment and competition in Africa" and increase foreign investment. "Fostering the innovation and expansion of the Internet allows the region to fully participate in the 21st century."

The major universities in East Africa are "hungry for connectivity," Brown said. Recalling how Verizon got involved in promoting the symposium, she said Uganda Martyrs University wanted to do "distance learning" (using the Internet to teach people remotely) throughout Uganda and East Africa.

The focus at the symposium, she explained, will be "the kinds of education gains that could be made if the connectivity was more robust and how that whole network of more than 50 universities all across East Africa could become the basis for network expansion all across the region."

Asked what gains could be achieved, she said: "If one looks at the program for the conference, you can see that there will be lots of deep thinking about getting ready for deeper and broader higher education in East Africa. ... Bringing students to the universities" across East Africa to access information they would not already have had access to will be "huge. You can tap all the great libraries of the world - all of the medical schools ... the law schools, the international schools. It is a phenomenal access that one gains."

Second, she said, the symposium is trying to address distance learning all over Africa so that students can be reached wherever they are.

Third, she said, professional schools such as medical and law schools want to be able to use the Internet to reach out to local clinics and law practices across the region.

"As connectivity becomes more robust, the network becomes more robust and the things that one can do on the network just multiply. We have seen that in the United States, we have seen it in Europe. And, frankly, one only needs to look at India to see what happens when a country that was considered a developing country opens its borders to the Net. There, of course, we know that there is a huge middle class that never existed before and an opening to the world that I think has been an incredible story and one we would like to see all over the world and the developing world."

Overall, the conference hopes to connect education, communication and government and spur a dialogue to move forward and use the Internet to promote greater economic growth and development across East Africa, she said.

Attendees will include the vice chancellor of Uganda Martyrs University, faculty members from Makerere University, the rector of the Islamic University of Uganda and representatives from some 25 universities from across East Africa. The chancellor of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will be there to speak on the link between Internet connectivity and education, and senior government officials from the region will be in attendance, along with representatives from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which coordinates global telecom operations.

Additionally, she said, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith A. McHale will address the group. "We are just so pleased that she is going to come to speak at the conference," Brown said. Additionally, major service providers like AT&T, Google, Motorola, Qualcomm, Ericsson and Intelsat will join local operators to lend their voices and expertise to the conversation.

Source: U.S. Department of State

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

After 10 Years, AGOA Seen as Unqualified Success

U.S. trade official Whitaker reviews African Growth and Opportunity Act

By Charles W. Corey

Washington - The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), now celebrating its 10 anniversary, has been an "unqualified success" in helping to stimulate and expand the U.S.-Africa trade relationship and still has much untapped potential, says Rosa Whitaker, who was the first assistant United States trade representative to sub-Saharan Africa.

Whitaker now is chief executive officer and president of the Whitaker Group, a trade and investment consulting organization. In a June 16 interview with America.gov, she assessed the past and future of the trade act.

"When you think about the fact that 10 years ago, prior to AGOA, American policy toward Africa was basically one of aid - it was not very comprehensive. When you think about it, 10 years ago before AGOA, it was very difficult for African ministers and heads of state even to get high-level attention in Washington and engage at the highest level. AGOA changed all of that. AGOA has expanded and diversified our trade, and it introduced a trade policy in addition to a policy of aid."

"In 10 years, exports from Africa's AGOA eligible countries have grown over 300 percent, from $21 billion in 2000 to $86 billion," Whittaker said. While she acknowledged that much of that trade is in oil, Whittaker said it also includes $28 billion in non-oil exports from sub-Saharan Africa under AGOA. She called that "very impressive," over the lifespan of AGOA.

"AGOA has helped to spur an automobile industry in South Africa," she said. Prior to AGOA, South Africa's automobile and transportation equipment exports to the United States totaled about $148 million annually. "Under AGOA in 2008, it was $1.9 billion."

In apparel, she said, "When we started AGOA, apparel from sub-Saharan Africa was about $350 million. Now at the height of AGOA, it is about $1.3 billion. Prior to AGOA, Lesotho was exporting about $139 million of apparel to the United States. Now it is $339 million ... and Kenya has gone from $30 million to more than $240 million, which represents a 800 percent increase in apparel exports."

Jams and jellies from Swaziland are another example, she said, shooting from $85,000 prior to AGOA to $1.6 million today. Cut flower exports from Kenya to the United States were only about $700,000 before AGOA. "Now, that is up to $1.7 million, and that has grown an industry." Ethiopia has also gone from exporting no cut flowers before AGOA to now exporting more than $4 million annually in that trade.

Coffee and tea from exports Tanzania have grown from $2.5 million before AGOA to nearly $16 million today. "So when you look behind the numbers, these numbers translate into people, they translate into farmers, they translate into jobs. And every person who is working in Africa is supporting from five to 10 people."

Whitaker said she has found over the years that "people who don't want to do anything or who don't want to build on anything that is working will always say why AGOA is not working. AGOA does represent untapped potential." But she stressed that "you cannot argue with this progress."

The cost to the U.S. taxpayer for AGOA, excluding oil, is about $2 million annually in lost tariffs, she said. For that amount, she said, the United States has been able to create 300,000 jobs and get $28 billion in non-oil exports from Africa.

"This is powerful evidence" of AGOA's success, she said, and that success "argues for having such a trade policy."

Over the past 50 years, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries have provided more than $300 billion to Africa in aid, yet Africa is the only region of the world that is getting poorer. "Aid just cannot get you the results that trade can, and that is just a fact. If you look at any region of the world, there is not any region that has developed without entrepreneurs developing the private sector in those countries."

The Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of post-World War II Europe, she said, worked because it provided technical and financial support to revitalize industries there. "That is the strategy that works. So I think as we look at AGOA 10 years later, we should be looking to build on what works."

Looking to the future, Whitaker said she is optimistic that Africa will make even more progress because she sees a new breed of leader in Africa who knows the importance of democracy, transparency and private sector development.

Whitaker termed AGOA an "opportunity and not a guarantee." In the end, she said, AGOA was not designed as a panacea but as one very effective tool in the U.S. policy arsenal to help stimulate U.S.-Africa trade and long-term economic growth and development. In that regard, she said, it has been a "phenomenal success" that needs to be built upon for the future.

The ninth annual U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum ( http://www.america.gov/st/business-english/2010/June/20100602154247SztiwomoD0.3545038.html ) - better known as the AGOA Forum - will take place in two parts: August 2-3 in Washington and August 5-6 in Kansas City, Missouri. The conference will have as its theme "AGOA at 10, New Strategies for a Changing World."

Source: U.S. Department of State

Monday, June 21, 2010

DC's 1st Africa Festival - Coming Soon July 10th [Click on Image for Details]



United Airlines Debuts Service to Africa with its Maiden Flight - UA 990 to Accra















Washington, Dulles Airport
, Sunday June 20, 2010 (Father’s Day). United Airlines debuted its service to the African continent with a direct flight to Accra, Ghana (West Africa) amidst a festive celebration at the departure gate (D1). Prior to the historic flight, United, Ghanaian Government, Airport Authority and Malaria-No-More officials made brief remarks to commemorate the occasion and the significant aviation milestone. Malaria No More, a U.S. non-profit, non-governmental organization working to end malaria deaths world wide and Exxon Mobil partnered with United Airlines on this occasion by sending 100's of mosquito nets to rural Ghana. This new daily service from Washington Dulles Airport to Accra International Airport marks United’s 28th capital - to - capital connection.

A total of 172 passengers including Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States – H.E. Daniel Ohene Agyekum joined the ten and a half hours flight to Accra, Ghana’s capital city. Passengers flew aboard a Boeing 767-300 with a configuration of 6 (first class), 26 (business class) and 151 (coach). The 13 member crew who decorated their uniforms with pieces of kente cloth was delighted to be part of history. The flight departed promptly at 10:10pm U.S. Eastern Time and is scheduled to arrive in Accra at 12:40pm local time to an equally festive welcome celebration.

United Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of UAL Corporation (Nasdaq: UAUA), operates approximately 3,300 flights a day on United and United Express to more than 230 U.S. domestic and international destinations from its hubs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and Washington, D.C. With key global air rights in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and Latin America, United is one of the largest international carriers based in the United States. United is also a founding member of Star Alliance®, which provides connections for customers to 1,077 destinations in 175 countries worldwide.

AMIP News brings you a photo report of the departure ceremony.


















Ghana Embassy & United Airlines Staff at the Check-In counter

















Passengers of UA 990 heading to gate D1

















Passengers await boarding - Gate D1


















Remarks - Ambassador Daniel Ohene Agyekum


















Remarks - Ambassador Daniel Ohene Agyekum


















Remarks - Rahsaan Johnson (Media Relations, United)


















Remarks - Cindy Szadokierski (VP Airport Operations Planning / United Express)

















Mark Treadaway, VP Air Services Planning / Development
Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority

















Crew of UA990


















Crew of UA 990


















Crew of UA 990


















Ribbon Cutting


















Ribbon Cutting


















Mosquito Net donated by Malaria No More


















UA 990 at Departure Gate



Saturday, June 19, 2010

Alliance Works for Improved Influenza Surveillance in Africa

By Cheryl L Pellerin
Science Writer

Washington - As the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that more than 214 countries have confirmed cases of H1N1 pandemic influenza and at least 18,156 people have died, representatives from 33 African nations met for the first time in Morocco to discuss the impact of flu on that continent.

The meeting, held in Marrakech June 3-4 and organized by the United Nations, included U.N. technical partners such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. National Institutes of Health ( http://www.nih.gov/ ) and its Fogarty International Center ( http://www.fic.nih.gov/ ), the German Technical Cooperation enterprise GDZ, Fondation Mérieux, the Institut Pasteur International Network and the Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health.

It is important to study flu in the mostly tropical setting of Africa because flu is a different disease in the tropics than it is in Earth's temperate regions. In temperate regions like Europe and the United States, flu is a seasonal illness that circulates during the cold months.

In the tropics, according to a 2007 study by Peter Palese of Mount Sinai Medical School in New York and colleagues, flu circulates in people year round with possible increases during rainy seasons. Researchers don't know why flu is seasonal in temperate zones and circulates all year in the tropics.

"The influenza pandemic in Africa has a very different pattern than in the rest of the world," Dr. Sylvie Briand, head of the WHO Global Influenza Programme, told America.gov. "For example, [H1N1] reached western Africa very late in the course of the pandemic, only in the beginning of 2010. Depending on the country, the burden seems to vary a lot, so we thought that it was a good time to come together and see [how flu behaves] on the African continent and what can be done about it."

MONITORING INFLUENZA

Flu viruses are important disease-causing microbes, and flu-related respiratory tract infections like pneumonia are a major cause of death in Africa, particularly among children.

As of June 6, according to WHO, in sub-Saharan Africa, pandemic flu continued to circulate at low levels in parts of West Africa, especially in Ghana. During the most recent reporting week, 13 percent of all respiratory samples tested positive for H1N1 in Ghana. Small numbers of seasonal H3N2 viruses have been detected in Kenya and Tanzania since late May.

As the pandemic progressed around the world after it began in April 2009, WHO routinely gathered information from developed nations about flu and other respiratory illnesses. Such information was harder to come by from many developing countries, which often do not have the resources or capacity to monitor infectious diseases.

"Industrialized countries have what we call sentinel systems, which means that you take some geographical sites of general [health] practitioners whose patients represent a certain portion of the population," Briand said. "These sentinel sites report on influenzalike illness and they are asked to take samples of, for example, one of every 10 patients in a kind of strategy to [monitor] circulating viruses."

The outpatient influenzalike illness surveillance is usually coupled with severe respiratory illness surveillance in hospitals, she added, to find out how many of the influenzalike illnesses are severe.

In developing countries, where only large cities have laboratories that can identify the flulike illnesses, "we are trying to develop new strategies, like in Madagascar where they do reporting by mobile phone ( http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/10/31 )," Briand said. "They test a limited number of patients, but they have more exhaustive reporting of influenzalike illness, for example. And they couple the surveillance with rapid tests."

Rapid tests are not as accurate as laboratory testing, but such tests are used only for surveillance and not to determine if someone needs treatment.

"Flu symptoms are not specific so it can be confounded with many other respiratory diseases," she said. "Many influenza cases only have fever. In tropical countries there are so many sources of fever - you have dengue, malaria and a number of other infectious diseases whose first symptom is fever."

In tropical countries, it is hard to know if someone has flu if there is no laboratory to confirm the diagnosis.

AFRICA FLU ALLIANCE

In Marrakech, senior officials from African ministries of health and representatives of health partners and international agencies discussed strategies and defined priorities like what information is needed for surveillance and how to collect the information.

"We heard that the pandemic situation led countries to gather much more information than they do usually on respiratory disease, so reviewing what has happened in the past year may give us a better understanding of influenza in Africa," Briand said.

The informal alliance is seeking partners and ultimately intends to establish an Internet-based platform where African countries and others can share information and benefit from each other's experience.

"First, we will publish a road map that identifies priorities and we will ask partners what they plan to do in each area of work. Maybe next year we will have another meeting to see the progress," Briand said. "The main objective is really to create a platform for discussion among different stakeholders and to enhance synergies."

Source: U.S. Department of State

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Secretary Clinton, President Mbeki & SRSG Menkerios Meeting

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman

June 16, 2010

STATEMENT BY PHILIP J. CROWLEY, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Readout of Secretary Clinton’s Meeting with President Thabo Mbeki and SRSG Haile Menkerios

This afternoon Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki, Chairperson of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel on Sudan, and Haile Menkerios, the United Nations Special Representative for the Secretary General to Sudan, to discuss the current status of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), including preparations for the Southern Sudan and Abyei referenda in January 2011, and the status of discussions between the CPA parties on key post-CPA issues. They also discussed conditions in Darfur.

Secretary Clinton reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the full implementation of the CPA, including conducting the referenda on time, in an environment conducive to a credible and peaceful vote, and with outcomes that are respected by the international community. The Secretary also emphasized the need for immediate and serious discussions about post-CPA arrangements on resource management, security, citizenship and other issues. The Secretary welcomed AU/UN efforts to support North-South discussions on post-CPA issues in cooperation with other international partners. She underscored the urgency for the UN and the AU to move as rapidly as possible to support mechanisms for conducting the January referenda in Abyei and in southern Sudan. The Secretary also expressed U.S. support for the AU/UN-led Darfur mediation in Doha and noted that despite the progress in negotiations in Doha, the conditions on the ground remain deplorable. Finally, the Secretary called on all parties to intensify their efforts to find a solution to the problems in the region.

The United States urged that the African Union and its member states, the United Nations, Sudan’s neighbors, and partners around the world speak with one voice at this critical time in Sudan’s history. The United States will remain engaged at the highest levels to support peace and stability in Sudan through the full implementation of the CPA and a negotiated political solution to the Darfur conflict.


###

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Remarks, Secretary Clinton : Diplomacy Briefing Series Conference on Sub-Saharan Africa

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman

June 14, 2010
Loy Henderson Auditorium, Washington, D.C.
Remarks

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone. Well, thank you all very much and welcome again. I know you’ve been welcomed over and over again, but it’s a delight to have you here in the State Department for this briefing on Sub-Saharan Africa and the issues that affect the countries in that region and our relationship with them.

We are very pleased to have such a broad cross-section. I understand we even have some people who may be watching us, as I see on this screen here, from universities. And I delighted that we have you with us. I want to recognize the two members of Congress who I know are here. There may be others, but I’ve only seen two – Congressman Donald Payne from New Jersey, who is a longtime, very – (applause) – there he is – very strong, consistent supporter of Africa and Africa’s needs, and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee from Texas – there she is. (Applause.) And if I’m not mistaken, Sheila, one of the schools participating is Texas Southern University, which you have a relationship with, and I see them applauding on the screen up there. (Applause.)

I am very pleased to be the – I guess either the clean-up act or the dessert, whichever way you want to think about it, for this good, long discussion that you’ve all participated in. I know you’ve heard from Assistant Secretary Carson and other senior diplomats and leaders from the State Department and USAID, but I just wanted to hit a few of the high points of the Obama Administration’s connection to Africa during the last 16 months.

President Obama visited Africa very early in his tenure to underscore the region’s importance to the United States and gave a historic speech in Ghana that very clearly sounded a call to action and set forth our basic principle that we want a relationship not based on patronage, but on partnership. I was privileged to visit Africa on a very long 11-day trip last August and was able to carry that message and others throughout the continent.

And just this past week, Vice President Biden was in Kenya and South Africa. The World Cup – (laughter) – was at least part of the draw, but he was able to reinforce a lot of our messages that we wish to work as partners, not only with African governments, but most importantly, with the people of Africa. Because we believe that the future of Africa is in the hands of Africans. And we have to join hands to work together to develop that partnership to expand democracy that delivers for people, good governance that actually can be accountable to the people, promoting sustainable economic growth that provides benefits to all people, improving access to healthcare, education, basic services, and working to eliminate the conflicts that destroy lives and destabilize the region.

Now, achieving these goals requires close cooperation across governments, business communities, the not-for-profit sector, civil society groups. And we have established high-level dialogues with our counterparts. We have a bilateral dialogue with South Africa, we have one with Nigeria, we’re working hard with many of the countries, from Angola to Tanzania to Liberia, and we are increasing our relationship with the African Union.

There is a lot of progress that’s being made that is not often in the headlines in democracy and human rights. And over the next two years, 27 nations in sub-Saharan Africa will hold elections. But at the same time, we have to recognize the challenges that still exist for even stable democracies that are trying to fully embed their progress, and on the other end of the spectrum, the many countries, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Sudan, that are still facing severe conflicts. We will continue to speak out on behalf of democratic governance and human rights and on behalf of economic opportunity.

I attended the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act conference last year in Nairobi to underscore our commitment to helping to grow the economies. And central to that is revitalizing agriculture and enhancing its value-added returns for African farmers. We also are committed to investing in women. Women are the principal farmers on the continent of Africa, producing food not only for themselves and their families, but reinvesting the profits in benefits for their children and future generations.

We recognize that corruption remains a major obstacle to not only economic growth, but many of our goals. The literal looting of state coffers deprives millions of Africans of basic services and makes it easier for drug traffickers, terrorists, and other criminals to expand their presence. And fighting corruption is not only the right thing to do and helps improve people’s lives, it gives them more of a stake in their own society. And it is a high priority.

We’ve also made a major commitment to improving health in Africa. In addition to continuing the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, and polio, the Obama Administration has pledged $63 billion over five years for all of our health programs. And we are paying particular attention to Africa and especially to the health of women and children.

We continue to work on mitigating conflicts. The UN and the African Union have been leaders in peacekeeping and mediation efforts. We are strong supporters of that. We pay particular attention to gender-based violence and the recruitment and use of child soldiers. Part of what fuels the fighting and the corruption are the rich mineral resources that Africa contains. So we are working to try to promote responsible use of natural resources through the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

But I must say that we need to do a better job of spreading the word about the progress in Africa. So if you’re part of the African diaspora community, we want you to stay in touch with us to get information about what we’re doing and what the impacts are, and we also need your advice. If you’re a student, we want to look for ways to involve you in the work that is improving the lives of the African people, whether it’s in public health, agriculture or entrepreneurship. If you’re in an NGO, we want you to let us know what you’re doing so we can better partner with you and support you.

But there’s a lot of exciting work that is going on, and we are extremely committed to that work. But we recognize that it is not the work of a year, nor even the work of a single four-year or eight-year administration. It needs to be the work of America, and therefore, it needs to be firmly rooted in how we define our interests and our values. And to that end, we believe strongly that Africa can have and should have a very positive future for its people, and we want to be the partners who help to realize those dreams that stretch across the continent and give people a feeling that life can be better, and to help show the way by being a good supporter of what is already happening in Africa.

So with that, let me turn it over, I guess, to P.J.

MR. CROWLEY: We can start by taking questions from our students from (inaudible) Florida A&M. Can you hear us?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think they’re gone.

MR. CROWLEY: How about Texas Southern?

QUESTION: Thank you. Regarding to the problems of structural adjustment programs in Africa, many believe that that’s something that should come without conditions. (Inaudible) noting the problems and negative impacts of structural adjustment programs, SAP, in Africa--

SECRETARY CLINTON: What?

PARTICIPANT: Structural.

QUESTION: Yes, yes, yes – (inaudible). We believe that (inaudible) those – that should be forgiven. And what is really the U.S. policy towards forgiving the debts without conditions that will improve the quality of life, economic development, and even security issues in Africa?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. We’ve certainly got a little bit of trouble understanding the question because of the hook-up. Technology is wonderful, but sometimes it takes a little bit of interpretation.

So thank you very much for your question about structural adjustment programs. Let me start by saying that the United States does not support unconditional debt relief. But we do participate in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative along with other donors. And under this program, an indebted country, of which there are many, which faces an unsustainable debt burden, who agrees to a system of measures and reforms, including clearing outstanding arrears to international financial institutions, as well as preparing a poverty reduction program and establishing a track record of reform and sound policies does qualify for the kind of debt relief that we think is called for. Because without the changes that are needed in policies and without a commitment to reform, the impact of debt relief for poor countries can really be lost. And instead, we want to continue to work with countries to obtain forgiveness of debt under the so-called HIPC framework, the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. And we do not want to see Africa incur new, unsustainable debt.

I think that if you look at what African leaders are saying about debt – and there is an African Union spokesperson; it’s Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia, and representing the 53 members of the African Union – the focus coming now from the African Union is on responsible use of loans and grants, based on economic development reforms and progress, according to the Millennium Development Goals, in order to avoid incurring more debt that cannot be repaid.

So we’re trying to walk the line here. Just providing debt relief with no changes, with no commitment to a different path forward with changes in the economic policies that will create more growth. There’s no reason why African countries with all of these resources cannot be so much richer, growing so much more, but they need better government policies and leadership in order to do so.

So we basically have used debt forgiveness as a means of trying to bring about those changes. And we’ve seen some positive effects in that. Liberia is paying down its debt, despite the poverty of the country and the inheritance of years and years of war. It’s paid its debt down from five billion to a little over a billion in the space of about six or seven years. And that’s what we want to see because then it puts both government policies on the right footing and economic growth on a more sustainable foundation.

MR. CROWLEY: Why don’t we go to the University of Central Florida next.

QUESTION: Good afternoon, Secretary Clinton. My name is L.L. Khan. Our question for you is: The World Cup will be the sports highlight for all of Africa and most of the rest of the world during the next few weeks. What could the United States to do to ensure a similar long-term focus on the region?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. The World Cup is a great opportunity because much of the world will be paying attention to Africa because of the World Cup in a way that they perhaps have not in the past. In fact, I’ve worked on issues pertaining to Africa for nearly 20 years, and there are so many misconceptions about Africa. I will never forget having a meeting as First Lady with a large group of press in preparation for my first extended trip to Africa, and one of the press representatives asked me if I would be going to the capital of Africa. (Laughter.) And I said, “Well, yeah, probably.” (Laughter.)

So I think anything which raises the visibility of Africa, which gets people to think about and learn more about Africa, is probably a good door opener. But there is so much more that needs to be done. I mean, this conference today is one example of how we here in the State Department are trying to keep the attention on Africa, trying to maintain the focus that our policies represent. We are doing a lot more than that, of course, every single day.

We are working on some issue very intensely that has to do with Africa, whether it is the efforts to implement the Feed the Future Food Security Program that we are going to be involving a number of African countries in, or the Global Health Initiative that I referenced, expanding PEPFAR funding to countries working for the first time in a good partnership with South Africa. It is – there’s a lot going on that we are very proud of and very committed to. And anything which gets people to pay more attention to Africa, sort of in real time, which the World Cup is doing, I think is beneficial.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ve just got to double-check; Florida A&M, could you hear us?

QUESTION: Yes. We’re here. Good afternoon, Secretary Clinton. This is Calvin Hayes. It’s a pleasure to speak with you again after already – can you hear us? It’s a pleasure to speak with you again after already meeting you this past summer at the U.S. Embassy in South Africa, where I completed a State Department internship and also had the privilege of serving as a site officer for your bilateral meeting.



Madam Secretary, the strength of our U.S. diplomacy greatly depends on our good relationships with other countries as well as our ability to appropriate the necessary resources to meet the needs of the people around the world. Given the challenges of political battles associated with leadership in Zimbabwe, how is the Obama Administration showing that the foreign aid given to this area actually meets the people and their local communities?

Is there a comprehensive strategy to measure the efficiency of our appropriated resources, the accountability of our disbursements, and the sustainability of our efforts both in Zimbabwe and countries in sub-Saharan Africa? If so, can you shed some light on the strategy and ways students and faculty at (inaudible) can become engaged in assisting communities in need like Zimbabwe and other sub-Saharan African countries?

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Inaudible) is a very difficult challenge to us and to our policy. It is a country that has been woefully governed and misruled for a number of years now. Congressman Donald Payne, who had to leave for a vote, is probably, in the Congress – is he still here – there he is – is probably, in the Congress, the most knowledgeable, strongest advocate for African interests. And when he tried to go to Zimbabwe a few months ago – right, Donald? The Government of Zimbabwe would not let him in because they don’t want somebody who has his expertise and experience actually seeing for himself all of the difficulties that are now apparent in Zimbabwe.

And it’s very sad. It’s a tragedy. And we are working hard with South Africa, with the African Union, with other countries to try to assist the people of Zimbabwe. We’re doing primarily humanitarian assistance. There is a great need for food like corn or corn meal or cooking oil, just the basics that have been destroyed in a country that used to be able to not only feed itself but export food. And we’re trying to help with healthcare, particularly with communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis as well as with malaria and maternal and child healthcare.

At the same time, the President just renewed sanctions against 220 individuals and entities associated with the Mugabe regime. So these are what we call targeted sanctions that go to whether they can travel, what kind of investments or bank accounts they can have that we can reach. So on the one hand, we’re trying to help the people of Zimbabwe get through a very difficult time. On the other hand, we’re trying to keep the pressure on the leadership.

We rely heavily on civil society to deliver programs that can get the aid in fairly and apolitically so that our aid is not, basically, hijacked by the government and people connected to the government. I’ve had two meetings with Prime Minister Tsvangirai in the last year to try to send a message that we support reform in Zimbabwe, that we support elections that will actually be followed because there’s no doubt in most of our minds that Mugabe’s party did not win that first round of elections a year-plus ago.

We are also looking to link democratic and economic performance by encouraging that the government be held accountable and working with those who are attempting to do so. But it’s a very sobering situation. And it’s a very sad one, indeed, because the ruling party, the ruling clique within that party, continues to benefit from aid, benefit from the diamond trade, benefit from corruption, to a very significant degree while the people are suffering. Policies like the Mugabe government pursued, which destroyed housing areas, leaving people homeless with nothing in their place, just make no sense. But nevertheless, that’s what the people of Zimbabwe have had to cope with.

So we are trying to walk a line between supporting the people, keeping the pressure on the Mugabe leadership, working with South Africa to try to get that message across. But I’m not going to stand here and tell you we have some perfect formula, because it’s extremely difficult to try to do what we’re doing and really make a difference for the people of Zimbabwe. But we’re going to persist in doing so and working with people like Congressman Payne to try to give the people there a better future.

Okay?

MR. CROWLEY: One or two questions from the audience. Over there. Second row.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary. My name is Fred Oladeinde and I represent the AGOA civil society network. Since we met in Nairobi, some of us in civil society have noticed that AGOA, in terms of export from Africa to the United States, has declined, particularly if we take oil export out of the total basket of export into the United States.

We believe that CAADP, which is the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program, may present yet another opportunity for us to be able to reevaluate AGOA and be able to help African countries that are ready to reform to expand their export into the United States.

Can you share with us what is the Obama Administration in terms of reforming AGOA and trying to see how we can expand export through CAADP and the new $6.3 billion initiative to ensure that we optimize the opportunity that AGOA presents?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you for that. And as you might remember, in my speech in Nairobi, I outlined a number of steps to reform AGOA. But we recognize, too, that there is a very good opportunity with CAADP and we are working to use the CAADP-developed principles in our Feed the Future Program so that we take what has been agreed to by African countries themselves as the base for our work in agriculture.

I will repeat what I said in Nairobi. There may be – and there definitely are things that the United States could do that would be better for exports from Africa to the United States other than oil exports, which is a huge distorting aspect of our trade relation. But most of the work that needs to be done needs to be done in Africa. If you look at trade between African countries, it is abysmally minimalistic. African countries don’t trade with themselves. They have barriers and tariffs and customs problems that stand in the way of developing their own economies. I laid that out in my speech in Nairobi. I challenged African governments to change their own laws to increase more trade. If Africa traded – if sub-Saharan Africa traded among themselves the way Asian countries trade among themselves, the GDP growth would be significant in a relatively short period of time.

But this is a corruption problem. This is a capacity problem. This is driven by rivalries across borders. And so, unfortunately, the market to the United States is difficult because in order to get products from many African countries, you have to go through other countries. And that’s not easy. I will never forget one of the speakers in Nairobi saying that he came from Lagos, Nigeria and it took him longer to get from Lagos to Nairobi than it would have taken him to get from Lagos to London.

So the United States will do our part, but African countries have to start doing their part and making the changes that will grow the economies in the sub-Saharan region. There is so much wealth, so many resources, so many opportunities. (Applause.) And we said last year in Nairobi we stand ready to provide technical assistance, we stand ready to help, but we can’t help if nobody is asking for help or if nobody is accepting help.

And so again I renew the offer: We will work with anybody; we know how to open markets. The United States is an expert at opening markets. We have the most open market in the world and we want Africa to export more to the United States. But it is difficult, and a lot of the countries haven’t gone to really assist their businesses in knowing how to export to Africa. So there is so much that could be done, but it is hard to do if you don’t get laws and policies and customs and everything else changed. So I will renew our offer: We stand ready to assist. But I don’t want to be making the same speech at the AGOA conference this year. We’ve made that speech and we are ready to help and we need to have somebody on the other end saying – okay, I would love for some African government to come and say, go through our laws, tell us everything that needs to be changed that you believe would increase our GDP by 5 percent in the next 10 years, and we can tell you how to do it.

But it means doing things that are going to run afoul of special interests and government bureaucrats and businesses that already have a lock on a market and they’d rather have the biggest piece of a small pie than a smaller piece of a big pie. And so if you’re going to have that mentality, it is really hard to utilize the incredible tool that AGOA is. But we will be there to help if people come forward, if some of the NGOs can work with us to try to wrench open those markets.

But it’s not something that just happens by hoping it’s so or because the United States tries to make it so. It is a structural problem within the way countries in the region relate to each other. And that has got to be addressed. I mean, for goodness sakes, this is the 21st century. We’ve got to get over what happened 50, 100, 200 years ago, and let’s make money for everybody. That’s the best way to try to create some new energy and some new growth in Africa. (Applause.)

Okay, one more and then I’ve got to run.

QUESTION: Thank you, Secretary Clinton, for being here today. My name is Beth Tuckey. I’m with Africa Action. And you mentioned in your presentation that you would speak out on behalf of democratic governance in Africa, and I know that the U.S. has been a strong supporter of Rwanda for many, many years. And I’m just wondering what you’re doing to address the recent oppression of political candidates in Rwanda and if you’re doing anything to address attorney Peter Erlinder, who is currently under arrest in Rwanda.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I know that we have addressed those concerns. We’ve made them known to the Rwandan Government. We really don’t want to see Rwanda undermine its own remarkable progress by beginning to move away from a lot of the very positive actions that undergirded its development so effectively. We still are very, very supportive of Rwanda. The kind of development that has taken place in Rwanda is really a model in many respects for the rest of the continent. But we are concerned by some of the recent actions and we would like to see steps taken to reverse those actions.

On the one hand, I understand the anxiety of the Rwandan leadership over what they view as genocide denial or genocide rejectionism. There are many countries that have been in a similar historic position, so I do understand that and I know that they are hypersensitive to that, but – because, obviously, they don’t want to see anything ignite any kind of ethnic conflict again. So I’m very sympathetic to that.

But I think that there are ways of dealing with that legitimate concern other than politically acting against opposition figures or lawyers and others. So on the one hand, I understand the motivation and the concern. On the other hand, I want to see different actions taken so that we don’t see a collision between what has been a remarkably successful period of growth and reconciliation and healing with the imperatives of continuing to build strong democratic institutions.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Vice President Biden Meets Deputy South African President Motlanthe

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release
June 12, 2010

READOUT OF VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN'S MEETING WITH SOUTH AFRICAN DEPUTY PRESIDENT MOTLANTHE

The Vice President met today with South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe. The meeting was indicative of the deepening and expanding relations between our two nations. They discussed several concrete ways in which the United States and South Africa will continue to work to advance our shared goals, including development, security, and economic interests.

The Vice President and Deputy President highlighted the importance of the U.S. - South Africa Strategic Dialogue, which Secretary of State Clinton and Minister Mashabane launched in April during President Zuma’s visit to the United States. The Strategic Dialogue is a framework in which the United States and South Africa discuss bilateral and multilateral issues of shared interest and common concern, including in the fields of health, education, agriculture, law enforcement, trade, investment, energy, nuclear security and non-proliferation, climate change, and regional security.

The Vice President lauded South Africa’s achievements in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Working together, our countries have made significant strides toward combating this disease. They agreed it is critical that we sustain these gains into the future.

The two leaders discussed the situation in Zimbabwe, and the Vice President commended South Africa for its leadership in trying to advance the process of reconciliation. They underscored the importance of the future of Sudan and of South Africa's high level engagement to help ensure a stable and viable future for all Sudanese.

They also talked about the many global initiatives the United States and South Africa are actively working on together, including taking concrete steps to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and toward a world without them, reversing the ill effects of climate change, and ensuring food security for all people.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

U.S.-Nigeria Energy & Investment Working Group Meeting & Grant Signing

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman

June 11, 2010

On June 10-11, the Working Group on Energy and Investment of the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission met at the Department of State. At the conclusion of the sessions, a joint communiqué was signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources of Nigeria Elizabeth B.P. Emuren, and the U.S. Department of State Coordinator for International Energy Affairs David Goldwyn.

The following is the text of the Energy and Investment Working Group Joint Communiqué:

The Working Group on Energy and Investment of the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission met in Washington, DC on June 10-11, 2010. The meeting was co-chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources of Nigeria Elizabeth B.P. Emuren, and the U.S. Department of State Coordinator for International Energy Affairs David Goldwyn. The Nigerian participants included officials from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Federal Ministry of Power, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Power Holding Company of Nigeria, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission. The U.S. delegation included officials from the Department of State, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, Treasury Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

Recognizing the importance of the power sector to the economic growth of Nigeria as well as to its overall progress and prosperity, the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the United States Government reiterated their commitment to continued cooperation in the reform, management and performance of the sector, particularly in the areas of power generation, transmission and distribution. Both countries noted that the reform of the energy sector is crucial to attracting needed investment and in order to promote sustainable development.

The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria welcomed the renewed commitment of the United States Government to provide assistance to attract investment in the power sector, especially from the private sector.

The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria reaffirmed its commitment to improving its hydrocarbon sector by implementing appropriate policies and regulations to increase the production and utilization of petroleum resources, gas availability to domestic markets, funding, and technology acquisition that is cost-effective and environmentally-friendly.

The United States Government supports the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s desire to reform its hydrocarbon sector, recognizing that there is still work to be done on the transition of major reforms and the need for transparency and further consultation with stakeholders to ensure that reforms are successful. The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria assured the United States Government that the reforms will be implemented consistent with World Trade Organization regulations.

Both countries recognize the importance of advancing renewable energy opportunities in Nigeria. To this end, the Governments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the United States of America renewed their commitments to advance renewable energy in Nigeria and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency provided a grant to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to fund technical assistance on the proposed Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Framework in Nigeria. The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has pledged to provide support to facilitate the successful completion of the framework. The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria also welcomed a future visit to Nigeria by the Department of Energy’s Under Secretary Dr. Kristina Johnston to further explore renewable energy and energy efficiency opportunities.

The United States Government called on the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to optimize the opportunities provided by the African Growth Opportunities Act and the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement to encourage the country’s non-oil exports into the U.S. market. Both countries discussed the possibility of negotiating a Bilateral Investment Treaty for the promotion and protection of investment in their respective countries.

Both countries plan to meet in the fall of 2010 in Washington, DC to launch the Niger Delta and Regional Security Cooperation Working Group of the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission.

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