Friday, October 31, 2014

Doing Business in Algeria Roadshow Held in Washington, DC

Remarks
Charles H. Rivkin
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
Washington, DC
October 29, 2014

Thank you, Mr. Ambassador.

Monsieur le Ministre, et vos collègues et ministers du Gouvernement algérien … Monsieur L’Ambassadeur …. Les capitaines d’industries et les dirigeants d’entreprise …. Mesdames and messieurs ….Bienvenue et As-Salaam-Alaikum.

I’d like to welcome Algerian Minister Abdeslam Bouchouareb, his delegation of governmental and business leaders from Algeria, and Ambassador Abdallah Baali to Washington.

I’d also like to welcome our guests from the U.S. Government and business representatives. And many thanks to the U.S.-Algeria Business Council for organizing the Roadshow.

It’s always exciting to me to speak with business people. I spent 20 years as a businessman in the entertainment industry. After that, I was honored to represent my country as an Ambassador of the United States. And I learned that being a businessman and being a diplomat were not so very different.

As a businessman, I learned the importance of not only measuring profitability in terms of dollars and cents; it was equally important to measure value in the difference my companies could make in people’s lives – or the changes in someone’s understanding about the world.

As Ambassador, a key element of success was understanding how to listen; how to find common ground between countries, to maximize the effectiveness of our policies. For me, it was important for success to flow in many directions.

So when Secretary Kerry asked me to join his economic team and help lead what he called his “shared prosperity agenda,” I knew exactly what he had in mind.

I lead a Bureau that works every day to do precisely that. So I am delighted to have this opportunity to speak to you about ways our business ties can change futures, and deliver jobs to the people of both our nations.

Some may ask: What are the opportunities in Algeria? The answer is simple. As we meet, Algeria is at a key moment in its history.

It is evolving from a country rich in oil resources – to a country that recognizes the importance of moving away from dependence on fossil fuels.

It understands that to become a prosperous nation, it must evolve towards a more diversified and sustainable economy. And that is good news for both the Algerian people and the U.S. firms prepared to become partners in that future.

The signs are promising. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his government have committed to building the country’s infrastructure, and bringing reforms that can spur job creation for Algerians and expand Algeria’s trade and investment.

As we speak, foreign investors, the Algerian business community, and the U.S. Embassy in Algiers are engaging the Algerian government on ways to improve the investment environment and attract more investment to Algeria.

We also recognize there is a long road still ahead, if Algeria is to realize its enormous potential.

Many U.S. investors and businesses with interests in Algeria have identified challenges that they continue to face. And forums like this provide an excellent platform to discuss them forthrightly and ask the important but sometimes difficult questions.

For example, the regulatory environment – according to many businesses and investors – is often opaque, which may create the perception of commercial risk for foreign investors.

Decision-making can be slow and there are often barriers to trade.

Another challenge is Algeria’s 51/49 rule, which prohibits foreign companies from having a majority ownership stake.

But as I look around me, I see Algeria’s political and economic leadership. I see representatives of some of Algeria’s largest agricultural, health care, hydrocarbon, construction, and manufacturing companies.

And on the American side, I see many of the companies with interests in Algeria, including senior management from GE, Anadarko, Varian, and AGCO.

You are precisely the right people to address these challenges in granular and tangible ways.

One major question to address would be Algeria’s accession to the World Trade Organization. We recognize that accession is a challenging process. But we strongly encourage Algeria to work through the many issues and make economic reforms in line with WTO obligations.

We are encouraged by the progress we see.

Alberto d’Alotto, president of the working group in charge of Algeria’s accession to the WTO, recently visited Algiers and had fruitful discussions with several ministers.

And it’s clear that your government fully recognizes the importance of Algeria’s WTO accession to jobs and economic diversification.
WTO accession will not only create greater trade between our countries, it will send a strong signal to investors that Algeria is committed to a rules-based trading system.

That certainty will encourage them to build business and support projects that will create employment opportunities for young Algerians.

This will support and build on other important successes – like Algeria’s decision to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association earlier this year. That’s a promising step to building a vital economic partnership.

I look forward to hearing many more success stories like Boeing’s recent contract with Air Algérie to provide eight 737-800 aircraft, a contract estimated to be worth $724 million … or General Electric’s three contracts – worth almost $3 billion – with SPE, which would create nine power plants to meet Algeria’s power sector needs.

With our shared interest in further improving the business climate, we can realize more contracts like GE’s with the Government of Algeria to construct five new hospitals that will strengthen its healthcare sector … or Varian Medical Systems’ $51 million contract with the Algerian Ministry of Health, which will help build the country’s cancer treatment infrastructure with three medical linear accelerators.

Algeria has a history that goes back longer than the United States. But the future stretches even longer in front of us – and the book is not yet written.

As long as the people of our two nations have aspirations and hopes for economic opportunity, it is our duty to honor them.

These and other business initiatives are some of the ways that we can write our own stories, create our own prosperity, and change the trajectories of our future.

All we need is the political will to support business-friendly environments, to continue the good faith that has endured between our two countries, and our collective imaginations. The seeds for all those things can start right here, and right now, in Washington.

Thank you.

U.S. State Department To Lead Partnership Opportunity Delegation to Tanzania

State Department Photo

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
October 28, 2014

The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships, in partnership with the Aspen Institute, the International Trade Center, and the Dar Teknohama Business Incubator (DTBi), will lead a delegation of U.S. investors, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists to Tanzania as part of the Partnership Opportunity Delegations (PODs) initiative October 27-November 1.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs David Duckenfield will lead the State Department’s participation. The delegation will travel to Dar es Salaam, Bagamoyo, and Zanzibar to focus on the investment and entrepreneurship sector and explore investment and trade opportunities with Tanzanian firms and startups. During the POD, participants will engage government representatives in discussions on investment climate and opportunities; participate in the mentorship of growing and high impact Tanzanian enterprises; discuss potential projects and partnerships with private sector leaders; and visit with local communities, manufacturers, and small business owners.

Partnership Opportunity Delegations (PODs) are an initiative of the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State, designed to find solutions to global challenges through facilitating public-private connections.

President Obama on the Passing of Zambian President Michael Chilufya Sata

Picture Source AFP
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
October 29, 2014

On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I send our condolences to First Lady Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata and family, as well as the people of Zambia, for the loss of President Michael Chilufya Sata. The United States remains committed to our enduring friendship and partnership with Zambia, and strongly supports a peaceful constitutional transition of power as the country moves forward during this time of sorrow. We will continue to seek opportunities to enhance our bilateral relations, support Zambia’s democratic traditions, increase its development, and bolster its commitment to a free and just society.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Sec. Kerry Issues Statement on Parliamentary Elections in Botswana

Voters queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Gaberone, Botswana, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Electoral officials say that voting has begun without incident where analysts believe the ruling party will win despite growing discontent in urban areas. (AP Photo)

Department of State
Washington, DC
October 27, 2014

I congratulate the people of Botswana on their successful national parliamentary elections. International observers have declared the election free, fair, and transparent. I commend all Batswana who turned out in overwhelming numbers to participate in your eleventh parliamentary election since independence in 1966.

The United States and Botswana enjoy a close friendship based on our shared commitment to democracy and the rule of law. I look forward to deepening our relationship with the Batswana people and to continue working closely with the government.

Morocco to Host 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Summit

Office of the Secretary
Department of Commerce
Washington, DC
Monday, October 27, 2014

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and PAGE Ambassadors to Attend Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Morocco

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), which will take place November 19-21 in Marrakech, Morocco to demonstrate the U.S. government’s continued commitment to fostering entrepreneurship around the world. On November 19, her activities will focus specifically on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. This year’s summit marks the fifth annual gathering of entrepreneurs at all stages of business development, business leaders, mentors, and high-level government officials.

“As the Administration’s point person on entrepreneurship, I am very pleased to be attending the Global Entrepreneurship Summit for the second year in a row. This year’s GES represents an opportunity to build on the energy of dynamic entrepreneurs from around the world, and to leverage their talent and spirit to deepen ties between governments, businesses, foundations, universities, and innovators,” said Secretary Pritzker. “Let’s use this Summit as a call to action—for entrepreneurs, ecosystem builders, and policy-makers to forge sustainable networks, share best practices, create pro-innovation policies and demonstrate the power of entrepreneurship to grow local, regional, and global economies.”

Entrepreneurship is key to unlocking economic growth and creating jobs, and the U.S. government leads numerous programs and initiatives to improve enabling environments and to make tools and networks available to individual entrepreneurs. At last year’s GES in Malaysia, President Obama asked Secretary Pritzker to chair the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative, and she was happy to assume her role as the Administration’s point person on entrepreneurship. In April, Secretary Pritzker chaired the first PAGE meeting, bringing together a group of America’s most inspiring innovators to serve as ambassadors for global entrepreneurship.

Six months later, Secretary Pritzker has arranged PAGE-related events on four continents since the program’s launch, and the PAGE initiative continues to gain momentum, with PAGE members actively engaged in promoting innovation here at home and abroad. The following PAGE members will join Secretary Pritzker in Morocco to serve as entrepreneurship ambassadors and to share their knowledge and experience to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs around the world:

• Daphne Koller, Co-Founder and President, Coursera
• Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO, Chobani
• Alexa von Tobel, Founder and CEO, LearnVest

“We at Coursera see education as an incredibly powerful tool, capable of inspiring creativity and resourcefulness, building human capital and equipping people to take on today’s and tomorrow’s issues,” said Daphne Koller, co-founder and president of Coursera. “I’m delighted to join others in advancing skills and support to encourage entrepreneurship.”

“Entrepreneurship is a powerful force for creating value and doing good in our world,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani. “I’m honored and excited to represent the United States as a member of PAGE at a summit dedicated to encouraging entrepreneurs worldwide to pursue their passions.”

“I am honored to represent the United States as a member of PAGE at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit,” said Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest. “I firmly believe in the power of technology to drive innovation on a global scale, and I know this is an incredible opportunity to both share what we have built at LearnVest and to learn from the wealth of knowledge at the Summit.”

The theme of the Summit, “Harnessing the Power of Technology for Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” highlights the impact of technology on modern entrepreneurship. The Summit will also be a space for entrepreneurs to network one-on-one with each other and with established businesses, and will provide a chance to hear from those who have traveled the path before them.

President Obama Issues Statement on Parliamentary Elections in Tunisia

Picture: VOANews – Soumaya Rached Ghannouchi shows her ink-stained finger after voting in the country’s first post-revolution parliamentary election on October 26, 2014 in the Tunis suburb of Ben Arous.
WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Washington, DC
October 26, 2014

President Obama Issues Statement on Parliamentary Elections in Tunisia

On behalf of all Americans, I congratulate the people of Tunisia on the democratic election of a new parliament – an important milestone in Tunisia’s historic political transition. In casting their ballots today, Tunisians continued to inspire people across their region and around the world, as they did during Tunisia’s 2011 revolution and with the adoption of a new constitution earlier this year. Tunisia’s example reminds us all that dialogue, consensus-building, political pluralism, and peaceful assembly help form the bedrock of democracy. The United States reaffirms its commitment to supporting democracy in Tunisia, to our continued friendship with the people of Tunisia, and to partnering with the next government as it works to promote economic opportunity, protect freedom, and ensure security for all Tunisians.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Zambia’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
October 23, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Zambia on the 50th anniversary of your independence on October 24.

Fifty years ago, when your country was born, thousands of Zambians took to the streets shouting kwatcha – the dawn. Today, Zambia’s dawn and the promise of peace and democracy has become a reality.

As representatives from all over the world gather in Lusaka to celebrate your Jubilee, Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield will be there to represent America and pay tribute to your inspiring record. Time and time again, Zambians have stood up, voted, and let leadership change hands peacefully.

Our two nations are united in mutual respect and responsibility for universal values. President Obama and I were pleased to welcome Vice President Scott to the African Leaders’ Summit in August, and discuss so many important issues at this transformative moment for Africa. We will continue to work closely to strengthen democracy, support human rights, spur economic growth, and improve the health and education of the Zambian people.

As you celebrate this special day, the United States stands with you as a partner and friend.

Assistant Sec. Linda Thomas-Greenfield Travels to South Africa and Zambia

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
October 22, 2014

Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield is visiting South Africa and Zambia from October 22–28, 2014.

In South Africa, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield will visit Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Cape Town for a regional conference of U.S. Ambassadors and bilateral meetings. Her visit to Lusaka on October 23–24 is in honor of the 50th anniversary of Zambia’s independence. In 2014, Zambia and the United States share “Freedom Anniversaries,” as the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed the same year that Zambia gained its independence.

In both countries, the Assistant Secretary will meet with local youth, including alumni of the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellowship, and members of civil society.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

World Health Organization Declares Nigeria Ebola-free

A school official takes a pupil’s temperature using an infrared digital laser thermometer in front of the school premises, at the resumption of private schools, in Lagos in this September 22, 2014 file photo.
Credit: Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye/Files

By Camillus Eboh and Angela Ukomadu
ABUJA/LAGOS Mon Oct 20, 2014


(Reuters) – Nigeria was declared free of the deadly Ebola virus on Monday after a determined doctor and thousands of officials and volunteers helped end an outbreak still ravaging other parts of West Africa and threatening the United States and Spain.

Caught unawares when a diplomat arrived with the disease from Liberia, authorities were alerted by Doctor Ameyo Adadevoh, who diagnosed it, kept him in hospital despite protests from him and his government and later died from Ebola herself.

They then set about trying to contain it in an overcrowded city of 21 million where it could easily have turned a doomsday scenario if about 300 people who had been in direct or indirect contact with him not been traced and isolated.

“This is a spectacular success story,” Rui Gama Vaz from the World Health Organization (WHO) told a news conference in the capital Abuja, where officials broke into applause when he announced that Nigeria had shaken off the disease.

“It shows that Ebola can be contained, but we must be clear that we have only won a battle, the war will only end when West Africa is also declared free of Ebola.”

This year’s outbreak of the highly infectious hemorrhagic fever thought to have originated in forest bats is the worst on record.

The virus has killed 4,546 people across the three most-affected countries, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and travelers have from the region have infected two people in Texas and one in Madrid.

It was imported to Nigeria when Liberian-American diplomat Patrick Sawyer collapsed at the main international airport in Lagos on July 20.

Airport staff were unprepared and the government had not set up any hospital isolation unit, so he was able to infect several people, including health workers in the hospital where he was taken, some of whom had to restrain him to keep him there.

Lagos, the commercial hub of Africa’s most populous nation, largest economy and leading energy producer, would have been an ideal springboard for Ebola to spread across the country.

“Nigeria was not really prepared for the outbreak, but the swift response from the federal government, state governments (and) international organizations … was essential,” said Samuel Matoka, Ebola operations manager in Nigeria for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was involved in managing the outbreak, said officials and volunteers reached more than 26,000 households of people living around the contacts of the Ebola patients.

President Goodluck Jonathan urged Nigerians to “replicate the unity of purpose and all-hands-on-deck approach adopted against Ebola in other areas of national life”.

“Nigeria’s globally-acclaimed success against Ebola is a testimony to what Nigerians can achieve if they set aside their differences and work together,” a presidential statement said.

“STAND YOUR GROUND”
Adadevoh, doctor on call at the First Consultants hospital in Lagos where Sawyer was brought, prevented the dying man from spreading it further, Benjamin Ohiaeri, a doctor there who survived the disease, told Reuters.

Ebola is much more contagious once symptoms become severe.

“We agreed that the thing to do was not to let him out of the hospital,” Ohiaeri said, even after he became aggressive and demanded to be set free.

“If we had let him out, within 24 hours of being here, he would have contacted and infected a lot more people.”

Sawyer was reported only to have malaria, Ohiaeri said. But Adadevoh noticed he had bloodshot eyes and was passing blood in his urine — telltale signs of hemorrhagic fever. She left instructions by his bed that under no circumstances should anyone let him leave.

At one point, Sawyer ripped off his intravenous tube and a nurse had to put it back, according to a source close to the hospital staff. She later got infected and died. Sawyer then became aggressive and had to be physically restrained.

Ohiaeri said a Liberian government official on the phone had even threatened negative consequences if they did not release Sawyer, saying that holding him was tantamount to kidnapping.

“The lesson there is: stand your ground,” he said.

Once the hospital contacted the ministries of health in the state of Lagos and the federal ministry in Abuja, authorities quickly set up and equipped an isolation unit.

Lagos state governor Babatunde Fashola rushed back from a pilgrimage to Mecca to handle the crisis, Ohiaeri said.

Nigeria used an existing health surveillance system for Polio for contact tracing, so was able to trace and isolate Sawyer’s primary and secondary contacts quickly. Mobile technology meant live updates could be made to the contact list.

“Everyone played their part. We’re so proud,” Ohiaeri said.

IFRC’s Matoka said contact tracing of suspected cases was key to preventing the disease from spreading into communities where it would have been harder to control.

“It was effective in identifying all suspected cases and keeping watch on them before they developed symptoms and infect other people. We were able to remove people from communities once they showed symptoms and (before they) infect many others,” he
said.

Even when the virus found its way to the oil hub of Port Harcourt in the southeast, authorities were able to quickly contain it, an example WHO said others should be able to follow.

“If a country like Nigeria, hampered by serious security problems, can do this … any country in the world experiencing an imported case can hold onward transmission to just a handful of cases,” WHO Director Margaret Chan said in a statement.

For the three impoverished countries at the epicenter of the crisis it is a different matter. According to consultancy DaMina Advisors, Nigeria has one doctor per 2,879 people compared with one per 86,275 in Liberia.

Nigeria’s success in preventing the spread of the disease contrasts with its slower and more fractious response to crises such as the kidnapping in April of more than 200 girls still being held by Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

“The approach to Ebola was pragmatic, patriotic and non-partisan,” said Lagos-based political analyst and lawyer Emekanka Onyebuchi.

“They put the nation first and this is what we should have done in other areas, like the (kidnapped) girls.”

The cooperation between the central government in Nigeria and the opposition-led administration in Lagos state contrasts with the United States, where bickering between Republican and Democrat lawmakers over Ebola has eroded public trust.

Alex Okoh, Nigeria’s director of Port health services, said the lesson the United States and other countries can learn from Nigeria is to “put aside the political barriers and focus on the issues at hand”.

Senegal, where one case was imported from Guinea, was declared Ebola-free on Friday.

Officials hope such success stories will change the way the West, where many are currently in the grip of a panic about a disease brought to their shores from “Africa”, sees the crisis.

“There is focus on the worst-case scenarios, which again perpetuate the wrong, negative image of Africa as opposed to looking at some of the areas where there has been success,” said Abdul Tejan-Cole, a Sierra Leonean who is executive director of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa.

(Additional reporting by Pascal Fletcher in Johannesburg, Tim Cocks and Bate Felix in Lags; writing by Tim Cocks; editing by Bate Felix and Philippa Fletcher)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

U.S. Efforts to Assist the Nigerian Government in its Fight against Boko Haram

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 14, 2014

In April 2014, the world was horrified to learn that the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram had abducted approximately 270 girls from their school in Chibok, Nigeria. In the six months since, some girls have been reunited with their families, but most remain in captivity, and Boko Haram has continued to terrorize the region. This year alone, the group has abducted hundreds of men, women, girls and boys and killed 3,000 people in Nigeria. President Obama has directed that the U.S. government do everything it can to help the Nigerian government find and free the abducted girls and, more broadly, to combat Boko Haram in partnership with Nigeria, its neighbors, and other allies. This support takes many forms but the goal is singular: to dismantle this murderous group.

Advisory Support to the Nigerian Government
The United States is assisting the Nigerian government to undertake more concerted, effective, and responsible actions to ensure the safe return of those kidnapped by Boko Haram, including through on-the-ground technical assistance and expanded intelligence sharing.

Multi-Disciplinary Team
 • In May, the United States dispatched a multi-disciplinary team to Abuja to advise the Nigerians on how to secure the safe return of those kidnapped, encourage a comprehensive approach to address insecurity, and establish a capacity to respond more effectively in the future. These officials provide guidance to the Nigerian government on conducting a comprehensive response to Boko Haram that protects civilian populations and respects human rights.

• The team includes civilian and humanitarian experts, U.S. military personnel, law enforcement advisors and investigators as well experts in hostage negotiations, strategic communications, civilian security, and intelligence. The team continues to facilitate and coordinate information sharing and the provision of assistance for survivors and their families.

Expanded Intelligence Sharing

 • The U.S. government also has provided the Nigerian government with Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) to aid Nigeria’s efforts to locate the missing girls.

Sanctions Against Boko Haram In recent years, we have helped isolate Boko Haram’s leaders by leveraging our own authority to designate them as terrorists and by encouraging the United Nations to do so as well.

• In June 2012, the State Department designated Boko Haram’s top commanders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224. In June 2013, the State Department added Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s official leader, to our Rewards for Justice Program and offered up to $7 million for information leading to his capture.

• In November 2013, the State Department designated Boko Haram and Ansaru, a splinter faction, as Foreign Terrorist Organizations under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224. This designation empowers U.S. law enforcement and the Treasury Department to pursue these violent extremist organizations.

• The United States worked closely with Nigeria to pursue terrorist designations at the UN Security Council for Boko Haram, which were approved and took effect on May 22, 2014. These designations prohibit arms sales, freeze assets, restrict movement, and encourage regional cooperation.

Continued Engagement to Counter Boko Haram
The United States is committed to supporting efforts by Nigeria and its neighbors to combat the threat of Boko Haram more effectively and in a manner that respects human rights through a variety of assistance programs designed to advance regional cooperation, bolster rule of law, and strengthen security institutions.

• President Obama announced Nigeria’s participation in the Security Governance Initiative (SGI) during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in August. SGI is a new Presidential initiative in which the United States and Nigeria will work to improve security sector institution capacity to protect civilians and confront challenges and threats, with integrity and accountability. To support a longer term focus, SGI involves multi-year funding commitments of increased U.S. support and requires sustained, high-level leadership and commitment by partner countries to pursue policies in support of the agreed upon goals.

• Nigeria is a partner in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, a U.S. government effort to enhance regional security sector capacity to counter violent extremism, improve country and regional border and customs systems, strengthen financial controls, and build law enforcement and security sector capacity.

• The State and Defense Departments are launching a $40 million Global Security Contingency Fund for Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria to counter Boko Haram. The program will provide technical expertise, training, and equipment to the four countries to develop institutional and tactical capabilities to enhance their respective efforts to counter Boko Haram, and to lay the groundwork for increased cross-border cooperation to counter Boko Haram.

• We work closely with other international partners, including the United Kingdom, France, and Canada, to enable information-sharing, alignment, and coordination on international strategies and programs to counter such threats in the region.

Support to Populations Affected by Boko Haram
Boko Haram is inflicting untold hardship on the people of Nigeria, with repercussions for men, women, girls, and boys throughout northeast Nigeria. The United States provides assistance to affected populations, including support to health, water, and sanitation services; the delivery of emergency relief supplies; and protection services, including psycho-social support for survivors of Boko Haram violence. The United States further invests in helping Nigeria to build security and increase opportunity in northeast Nigeria, including through education programs for girls and boys; maternal and child health services; and programs to strengthen democracy and governance and counter violent extremism by engaging leaders across society, including women.

• The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provides trauma counselling to survivors and their families, including those directly affected by the Chibok abduction, through a $4.5 million, five-year (2010-15) program. USAID also recently completed its third training for psycho-social support teams based in Borno–the locus of Boko Haram’s violence. The role of these social workers, health care providers, and other community members is to sensitize communities to prevent stigma against abductees when they return, and to provide psycho-social first aid to girls and their families.

• USAID is starting two new programs that will address critical educational needs for both girls and boys in northern Nigeria. A $20-30 million crisis response program will provide basic education to internally displaced persons and others affected by the violence in the northeast. In addition, a flagship five-year, $120 million program will strengthen education systems so that they can provide greater access and improve reading among primary school children.

• In support of the contributions women make to peace and prosperity, USAID is promoting women in leadership and peacemaking through a series of conferences and workshops. Training exercises in Kano and Sokoto states promoted tolerance across ethnic and religious lines through engagement with influential religious, traditional, and women leaders. Women participants came out with a plan to use “naming ceremonies” (common across most Nigerian cultures) to carry out campaigns against hate speech and electoral violence. Interfaith media dialogues discussed how women and other stakeholders can prevent electoral violence in the run up to the February 2015 elections and how women can contribute to Nigeria’s political and economic progress.

• USAID is launching the Nigeria Regional Transition Initiative to improve stability and strengthen democratic institutions in northeast Nigeria. The initiative will focus on building the resistance of communities vulnerable to the effects of violent extremist organizations, weak governance, and insecurity through increased positive engagement between government and communities; increased access to credible information; and support to reduce youth vulnerability to violent extremist influences.

• The State Department supports efforts to facilitate dialogue between local women activists and security-sector personnel and to highlight the role of female law-enforcement officers. State also supports a Hausa-language multi-media platform which includes a free-to-air satellite TV channel designed to serve northern Nigeria. The channel highlights the rich cultural diversity of northern Nigeria while offering programming with themes that reject political violence and violent extremism. It also includes programming intended to meet the needs of mothers with young children. One show highlights as role models women who have overcome obstacles and now own their own businesses or have obtained higher education. The objective is to show that any girl can grow up to be a strong contributor to her society.

Zuckerberg, wife donate $25M to CDC for Ebola

Picture Huffington Post
Associated Press

NEW YORK — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are donating $25 million to the CDC Foundation to help address the Ebola epidemic.

The money will be used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Ebola response effort in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and elsewhere in the world where Ebola is a threat, the foundation said Tuesday.

The grant follows a $9 million donation made by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen last month. Zuckerberg and Chan are making the grant from their fund at the nonprofit Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Kenyan Ali Mazrui Remembered as Great Pan-Africanist

James Butty, VOA

October 14, 2014 1:40 AM

Kenyan-born Professor Ali Mazrui, who passed away Monday in Binghamton, New York at age 81, is being remembered as a Pan-Africanist and innovative thinker who put Africa on the world map by popularizing African ideas.


Ugandan-born Amii Omara Otunu, professor of history and international human rights at the University of Connecticut, said Mazrui lived his life as the great Pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah would have wanted us all to live.

Mazrui authored numerous books, including the television documentary The Africans: A Triple Heritage, which addressed Western, Islamic and indigenous influences on Africa.

At the time of his death, Mazrui was an Albert Schweitzer professor in the Humanities and the director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at Binghamton University.

Otunu said Mazrui used biography and juxtaposition of ideas to explain Africa in a way no one else could have done.

“He put Africa on the world map in terms popularizing African ideas, especially after the 1986 Africa: A Triple Heritage documentary. He was very good at analyzing the ills within African societies,” he said.

Mazrui was exiled in the 1970s after he criticized previous Kenyan and Ugandan regimes led by Daniel Arap Moi and Idi Amin respectively.

“That is the greatest tragedy because our best minds arguably are always outside the continent. Yet, if we are a continent where people could earn their living honestly, if there was freedom for everyone, if in fact there was democracy within Africa, I think most of our brilliant minds would be within the continent because they love the continent,” Otunu said.

Otunu said Mazrui gave all Africans who aspire to intellectual greatness the example that intellectuals must be independent-minded, innovative, and unpredictable.

In one of his books, Islam between Globalization and Counter Terrorism, Mazrui explained how religion was entrapped in rising extremism.

Otunu said Mazrui would have seen the rise of Al-Shabab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Nigeria as a perversion of Islam.

“I’m sure Professor Mazrui would have seen this as a perversion of Islam because Islam is really about peace, about love, about light. And he demonstrated in his teachings and writings that you could be Muslim and be an intellectual, and be as liberal as possible,” he said.

He said Africa has lost a great thinker who should belong to Africa’s intellectual Hall of Fame.

Although he was exiled from his native Kenya, reports indicate his body will be flown back to his native land for burial.

Otunu said this demonstrates how deeply Mazrui loved Africa.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Equatorial Guinea’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
October 11, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Equatorial Guinea as you celebrate your Independence Day on October 12.

The United States and Equatorial Guinea’s cooperation on maritime security has contributed to freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Guinea.

We also remain committed to continuing our partnership on health and education for all Equatoguinean people.

As you gather with family and friends, I wish all the people of Equatorial Guinea peace and stability in the year to come.

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Uganda’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
October 9, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Uganda as you celebrate 52 years of independence.

Your government is an important partner in the fight against terrorism. We greatly appreciate Uganda’s efforts to address the threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army and your vital contribution to the African Union Mission in Somalia.

East Africa looks to Uganda for leadership. We continue to encourage your role in promoting democracy, human rights, and peace and prosperity throughout the region. The United States stands ready to support your efforts to achieve these objectives.
As you gather with family and friends, I wish you a happy Independence Day and a prosperous future.

New U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Sworn In

On Tuesday October 9, 2014 Eric Shultz was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Zambia at the State Department in Washington, DC.

Eric T. Schultz, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, most recently served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, from 2010 to 2013. Previously, Mr. Schultz was the Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia from 2007 to 2009. From 2004 to 2007, he was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe. Prior to this, from 2002 to 2004, Mr. Schultz was the Deputy Director in the Office of European Security Policy at the Department of State. From 2000 to 2002, Mr. Schultz served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. He was the Deputy Director for Ukrainian, Moldovan, and Belarusian Affairs from 1998 to 2000 and the Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia from 1996 to 1998. Mr. Schultz received a B.A. from Macalester College and an M.A. from the University of Denver.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

President Obama Provides an Update on the Ebola Outbreak


President Obama Hosts Conference Call on Ebola

President Barack Obama meets with members of his national security team and senior staff to receive an update on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the Administration’s response efforts, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Oct. 6, 2014. Vice President Joe Biden participates via secure video conference. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
October 8, 2014

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN CONFERENCE CALL WITH STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS ON EBOLA

2:24 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hey, everybody. Thanks for joining the call. Obviously, in your states and communities, you guys are on the front lines of public health every single day, working to keep the American people healthy and safe. And I thank you for that.

Right now, a lot of people’s attention is focused on our efforts to prevent an Ebola outbreak in the United States. And I want everybody to know that from day one, this administration has made fighting Ebola a national security priority. We don’t think this is just a humanitarian issue or a public health issue, this is a national security priority. And we are working aggressively to stop the epidemic in West Africa, to stop any cases in their tracks here at home.

On Monday, I met with my team to review our efforts. They’re here today to update you on what we’re doing, to answer your questions, make sure all of you have the information that you need to keep the people in your communities healthy and safe.

And the American people are reasonably concerned — Ebola is a terrible disease, and the fact that in an interconnected world infectious disease can be transported across borders is one of the reasons we have to take it seriously. At the same time, as I think all of us have tried to emphasize, it’s important that, as public officials, we know and reinforce the facts. Because we’ve got a world-class medical system, because we’ve put in place tough safety measures, because of the work that many of you have done in conjunction with organizations like the CDC and dealing with infectious disease generally, and because of the nature of Ebola and the fact that it’s not something involving airborne transmission, the chance of an Ebola outbreak in the United States remains extremely low.

Procedures are in place to evaluate anybody who might be showing symptoms. In recent months, thousands of travelers arrived here from West Africa, and so far, only one case of Ebola has been diagnosed in the United States, and that’s the patient in Dallas who we know, sadly, passed away, and our thoughts today are with his family.

But as we saw in Dallas, we don’t have a lot of margin for error. If we don’t follow protocols and procedures that are put in place, then we’re putting folks in our communities at risk. So we have to follow the procedures and protocols that have been established based on the science.

I want to thank Mayor Rawlings and County Judge Clay Jenkins in Dallas for their cooperation with our team and their leadership on the ground. We’re going to make sure that lessons learned in Dallas and clear procedures and protocols for health and safety officials are conveyed to all of you. Secretary Burwell and Dr. Frieden will talk to you about how we’re working with hospitals across the country so that local partners are truly prepared should someone who has a history of travel to the affected countries in West Africa start showing symptoms.

At the federal level, we are always reviewing and evaluating measures that we currently have in place. Today, we announced additional screening measures that will be phased in over the coming days and weeks at select airports around the country. And these measures are really just belt-and-suspenders — it’s an added layer of protection on top of the procedures already in place at several airports.

The new measures will include additional entry screening and questions for travelers arriving from the countries affected by Ebola. It will give us the ability to isolate, evaluate and monitor travelers as needed. And we’ll be able to collect any contact information that’s necessary. So you’ll hear all of this from my team shortly.

But let me close by reminding everybody that America has got the best doctors in the world. We know how to deal with infectious disease. I’m confident that so long as we work together, and we’re operating with an appropriate sense of urgency that we will prevent an outbreak from happening here. And in fact, some of the work that we’re doing together and the lessons learned from this experience will further strengthen our public health systems going into the future. Because there are going to be, unfortunately, other occasions where we know that there are infectious diseases out there, and in some cases the transmission may be swifter, and we’re going to have to be that much more ready.

So for the governors and the mayors and the county officials on the line, I’ve instructed my teams to do whatever federal assistance they can to make sure you’re ready to respond should someone be diagnosed with Ebola in your state. We’re going to have to be partners in this fight. Anybody who has any questions, information or suggestions, that’s why my team organized this call. They want to make sure that they’re getting feedback from you in terms of what you think will be most helpful.

I want to thank you guys, not just for joining us on the call today, but, more importantly, for the critical work you do every day to keep us healthy and safe.

END 2:32 P.M. EDT

CDC Announces New Measures for Travelers from West Africa

CDC Media Relations              DHS Office of Public Affairs
Press Release
October 8, 2014

ENHANCED EBOLA SCREENING TO START AT FIVE U.S. AIRPORTS FOR ALL PEOPLE ENTERING U.S. FROM EBOLA-AFFECTED COUNTRIES

New layers of screening at airports that receive more than 94% of West African Travelers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs & Border Protection (CBP) this week will begin new layers of entry screening at five U.S. airports that receive over 94 percent of travelers from the Ebola-affected nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

New York’s JFK International Airport will begin the new screening on Saturday. In the 12 months ending July 2014, JFK received nearly half of travelers from the three West African nations. The enhanced entry screening at Washington-Dulles, Newark, Chicago-O’Hare, and Atlanta international airports will be implemented next week.

“We work to continuously increase the safety of Americans,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We believe these new measures will further protect the health of Americans, understanding that nothing we can do will get us to absolute zero risk until we end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.”

“CBP personnel will continue to observe all travelers entering the United States for general overt signs of illnesses at all U.S. ports of entry and these expanded screening measures will provide an additional layer of protection to help ensure the risk of Ebola in the United States is minimized,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. “CBP, working closely with CDC, will continue to assess the risk of the spread of Ebola into the United States, and take additional measures, as necessary, to protect the American people.”

CDC is sending additional staff to each of the five airports. After passport review:

• Travelers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone will be escorted by CBP to an area of the airport set aside for screening.
• Trained CBP staff will observe them for signs of illness, ask them a series of health and exposure questions and provide health information for Ebola and reminders to monitor themselves for symptoms. Trained medical staff will take their temperature with a non-contact thermometer.
• If the travelers have fever, symptoms or the health questionnaire reveals possible Ebola exposure, they will be evaluated by a CDC quarantine station public health officer. The public health officer will again take a temperature reading and make a public health assessment. Travelers, who after this assessment, are determined to require further evaluation or monitoring will be referred to the appropriate public health authority.
• Travelers from these countries who have neither symptoms/fever nor a known history of exposure will receive health information for self-monitoring.

Entry screening is part of a layered process that includes exit screening and standard public health practices such as patient isolation and contact tracing in countries with Ebola outbreaks. Successful containment of the recent Ebola outbreak in Nigeria demonstrates the effectiveness of this approach.

These measures complement the exit screening protocols that have already been implemented in the affected West African countries, and CDC experts have worked closely with local authorities to implement these measures. Since the beginning of August, CDC has been working with airlines, airports, ministries of health, and other partners to provide technical assistance for the development of exit screening and travel restrictions in countries affected by Ebola. This includes:

• Assessing the capacity to conduct exit screening at international airports;
• Assisting countries with procuring supplies needed to conduct exit screening;
• Supporting with development of exit screening protocols;
• Developing tools such as posters, screening forms, and job-aids; and
• Training staff on exit screening protocols and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)

Today, all outbound passengers are screened for Ebola symptoms in the affected countries. Such primary exit screening involves travelers responding to a travel health questionnaire, being visually assessed for potential illness, and having their body temperature measured. In the last two months since exit screening began in the three countries, of 36,000 people screened, 77 people were denied boarding a flight because of the health screening process. None of the 77 passengers were diagnosed with Ebola and many were diagnosed as ill with malaria, a disease common in West Africa, transmitted by mosquitoes and not contagious from one person to another.

Exit screening at airports in countries affected by Ebola remains the principal means of keeping travelers from spreading Ebola to other nations. All three of these nations have asked for, and continue to receive, CDC assistance in strengthening exit screening.

###

Fact Sheet
Oct. 8, 2014

SCREENING OF TRAVELERS AT AIRPORTS

This fact sheet helps explain the measures the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, and their partners are taking at airports both in the United States and in affected countries in West Africa to prevent the spread of Ebola.

Exit screening in countries with Ebola outbreaks
Since the beginning of August, CDC has been working with airlines, airports, ministries of health, and other partners to provide technical assistance to countries with Ebola outbreaks. CDC has helped affected countries screen departing travelers from these countries (exit screening). Exit screenings are conducted at airports in these outbreak-affected countries to look for sick travelers or travelers exposed to Ebola and to delay them from boarding an airplane until it is safe for them to travel.

We continue to support and strengthen exit screening in these countries with CDC staff, protocols, and educational materials.

What exit screening looks like
Exit screening might look a little different in each country but contains the same basic elements.

1. All travelers
• Have their temperature taken
• Answer questions about their health and exposure history
• Are visually assessed for signs of potential illness

2. Travelers with symptoms or possible exposures to Ebola are separated and assessed further.

3. This assessment determines whether they are
• Allowed to travel
• Not allowed to travel on a commercial flight and referred to public health authorities for further evaluation

Entry screening in the United States

Looking for sick travelers at U.S. airports
Every day, CDC works closely with partners at U.S. international airports and other ports of entry to look for sick travelers with possible contagious diseases. These measures will be enhanced to detect possible cases of Ebola.

Because of the Ebola outbreak, CDC and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are beginning enhanced entry screening of travelers who have traveled from or through Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. By doing enhanced entry screening at 5 U.S. airports, we will evaluate over 94% of travelers from the affected countries. Our staff at all airports remain trained and ready to respond to any reports of ill travelers, and our robust public health system is prepared to respond and assist.

What enhanced U.S. entry screening looks like
For each arriving traveler who has been in Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone:

1. CBP will give each traveler health information that includes
• Information about Ebola
• Symptoms to look for and what to do if symptoms develop
• Information for doctors if travelers need to seek medical attention

2. Travelers will undergo screening measures to include:
• Answer questions to determine potential risk
• Have their temperature taken
• Be observed for other symptoms of Ebola

3. If a traveler has a fever or other symptoms or has been exposed to Ebola, CBP will refer to CDC to further evaluate the traveler.
CDC will determine whether the traveler
• Can continue to travel
• Is taken to a hospital for evaluation, testing, and treatment
• Is referred to a local health department for further monitoring and support

Entry screening is a part of a layered approach. When used with other public health measures, entry screening can strengthen our efforts to battle this virus. It is important that we act as global citizens, continuing to put our full weight behind response efforts in West Africa and providing support for those traveling here from that region.

###

Dallas Ebola Patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, Dies

Photo: WFAA)

Story: New York Times

By MANNY FERNANDEZ
OCT. 8, 2014

DALLAS — Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, the patient with the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States and the Liberian man at the center of a widening public health scare, died in isolation at a hospital here on Wednesday, hospital authorities said.

Mr. Duncan died at 7:51 a.m. at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, more than a week after the virus was detected on Sept. 30. His condition had worsened in recent days to critical from serious as medical personnel worked to support his fluid and electrolyte levels, crucial to recovery in a disease that causes bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. Mr. Duncan was also treated with an experimental antiviral drug, brincidofovir, after the Food and Drug Administration approved its use on an emergency basis.

Hours after the death, hospital officials said that a second patient had been admitted after reporting possible exposure to Ebola.

“Right now, there are more questions than answers about this case,” the hospital said. Two medical workers in protective suits could be seen helping a man walk into the hospital from an ambulance.

Health officials in Dallas said the man might have had contact with family members of Mr. Duncan‘s. Sgt. Chris Dyer, president of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Association, told a local NBC affiliate that the man was a sheriff’s deputy who had been in the apartment where Mr. Duncan stayed.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the man did not appear to have the virus. “We don’t have a concern for symptoms consistent with Ebola or definite contact,” Dr. Frieden said, but “he is being assessed.”

After Mr. Duncan arrived at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Sept. 20, he set off a chain of events that raised questions about health officials’ preparedness to detect and contain the deadly virus. His case spread fear and anxiety among those he encountered, however briefly, and turned the places, vehicles and items he touched into biohazardous sites that were decontaminated, dismantled, stored or, in some cases, incinerated.

State health officials said that they would follow C.D.C. guidelines in handling Mr. Duncan’s remains, sealing the body in two bags and disinfecting the bags. The sealed bags can be transported without the need for protective gear for those not directly handling the remains, officials said.

The body will be cremated — a process that will kill any virus in the body so the remains can be returned to the family. “We will continue to treat Mr. Duncan with dignity and respect,” said Dr. David Lakey, the commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, “and we’re taking great care to make sure there is no additional risk that others could be infected.”

Local, state and federal officials have expressed confidence that they have been able to limit the spread of the disease in Dallas and said Wednesday that none of the people being monitored had shown any symptoms of the virus.

Officials are monitoring 48 people in the Dallas area, most of whom have not been quarantined but are instead staying home while they are under observation. Ten of those are considered high risk, including seven health care workers and three relatives and community members who had contact with Mr. Duncan. The other 38 are considered low risk, and include people who may or may not have had direct or indirect contact with Mr. Duncan.

The mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, also offered some assurance to Dallas residents. “I remain confident in the abilities of our health care professionals and the medical advances here in the U.S.,” Mr. Rawlings said, “and reassure you we will stop the Ebola virus in its tracks from spreading into our community.”

Mr. Duncan’s death renewed the focus on the hospital’s handling of the case and why he was initially sent home after seeking treatment. Mr. Duncan first went to the emergency room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital feeling ill on Sept. 25, five days after arriving in Dallas. He was released by the hospital, which had failed to view him as a potential Ebola case for reasons that remain unclear. He returned there and was admitted Sept. 28 after his condition worsened.

Since then, the hospital’s release of information has been marked by contradictory statements. It apparently provided the C.D.C. and its own administrators with the wrong date for when Mr. Duncan first went to the hospital, originally saying that it was Sept. 26 but later clarifying that it was Sept. 25. One hospital statement continues to include the wrong date of Mr. Duncan’s diagnosis, which was confirmed on Sept. 30 but is noted as Sept. 29 in the statement.

In explaining why Mr. Duncan was initially sent home, the hospital said at first that there had been a flaw in the records system and suggested that while the nurses might have had access to the information about his travel history, the doctor who treated Mr. Duncan had not. But the hospital later retracted its claim that the records system was to blame, explaining that there was no flaw in the system and that the physician could indeed have viewed information about Mr. Duncan’s travels from Africa.

“I trust a thorough examination will take place regarding all aspects of his care,” Louise Troh, 54, the woman Mr. Duncan had traveled to Dallas to see, said in a statement released at Wilshire Baptist Church.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

U.S. Troops Head to Africa for Ebola Mission

The Army’s 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, will provide about 700 of the 1,400 troops expected to head to Liberia in October. (Fort Campbell)

Photo & Story: Army Times

By Andrew Tilghman, Patricia Kime and Michelle Tan
Staff writers

September 30, 2014

About 1,400 soldiers will head to Liberia in October to help support the fight against the Ebola virus that is spreading across West Africa, a Pentagon official said Tuesday.

The Army’s 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, will provide about 700 of those soldiers, while the other 700 will be mostly combat engineers culled from Army units across the force, Defense Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters.

The soldiers will be among the total of 3,000 U.S. troops whom the Pentagon plans to send into West Africa this fall.

About 300 of the troops from the 101st Airborne will come from the division headquarters, and they will serve as the Joint Force Command for the mission. They are expected to arrive by the end of October.

“Operation United Assistance is a critical mission,” said Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division, in a statement. We will coordinate all of the Department of Defense resources in Liberia to support USAID and the government of Liberia to contain the Ebola virus and, ultimately, save lives.”

The U.S. military mission will include building 17 100-bed hospital facilities and a health care facility for infected physicians and health care workers.

U.S. troops will not provide direct care to patients infected with the Ebola virus, according to the Pentagon.

More than 3,000 people have died in the current Ebola epidemic and at least 6,574 have been infected, according to the World Health Organization.

Dr. Steve Monroe, deputy director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said during a conference call on Tuesday that the outbreak is considered nearly contained in Nigeria and Senegal, which saw just 20 and 1 case, respectively.

But in the most affected nations, including Liberia, where troops are heading, and Sierra Leone, the number of cases are doubling
roughly every three weeks, he added.

“The most important thing we can do right now is get cases in isolation so we can stem this outbreak,” Monroe said.

The CDC estimates the disease could affect up to 1.4 million people by January if it’s not contained.

Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy for the Kaiser Foundation, said more than 300 U.S. government workers are in the affected countries, including 28 employees of the U.S. Agency for International Development, more than 100 CDC workers and roughly 200 military personnel.

Those troops include Army Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams, commander of U.S. Army Africa and Operation United Assistance, as the deployment is being called, and dozens of Navy Seabees who are laying the foundations for construction of the new Ebola care facilities.

When the 101st Airborne Division soldiers deploy, Volesky will take over for Williams, who will return to his duties as commander of U.S. Army Africa.

About 300 soldiers from the division headquarters will deploy to Monrovia, said Lt. Col. Brian DeSantis, the 101st Airborne’s spokesman. The rest of the soldiers will come from the division’s sustainment brigade and the 86th Combat Support Hospital.

The remaining 700 or so soldiers, as announced by Kirby, will come from across the Army.

“It will be very humanitarian-assistance focused,” DeSantis said.

Deploying units will include lift aviation, field hospital assets, transportation soldiers and engineers, he said.

While deployed, the soldiers will be responsible for building some Ebola treatment units and providing logistical support to USAID.

“We also have the responsibility of setting up the training for approximately 500 aid workers per week that will go out and actually staff the [Ebola treatment units],” DeSantis said.

Another priority is force protection, he said.

“We’re making sure all the soldiers who deploy, not just from Fort Campbell but across the Army, get all the training required to protect themselves from Ebola,” he said.

Deploying soldiers should have a “very, very low” risk of contracting Ebola, DeSantis said.

“If anything, there are other health risks we’re more concerned about, and we’ll mitigate those,” he said.

One example is malaria, which is more prevalent in Liberia than Iraq or Afghanistan, he said.

“Protecting the health of our Soldiers is our number one priority,” Volesky said in his statement. “Before our Soldiers deploy they will be trained on how to protect themselves from Ebola and all other potential health risks found in Liberia.”

A DoD spokeswoman said last week the department will make “every effort to ensure that U.S. personnel on the ground and all health care workers” are protected.

Troops will receive regionally specific training on Ebola prevention, malaria prevention and other medical threats and also are required to have immunizations ranging from chickenpox, influenza and hepatitis to yellow fever and pneumococcal vaccines, according to a DoD official.

The department has been involved in research on Ebola treatments and preventives for more than two decades.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said last week the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research received approval to begin safety testing of a potential vaccine.

However, health experts, including Monroe and Sophie Delaunay, executive director of Medecins Sans Frontieres, have cautioned that an effective vaccine is still months from development.

“In the meantime, we need to increase the access to isolation units,” Delaunay said during a web seminar for reporters Tuesday sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division will form a headquarters element for the 3,000-troop mission that is estimated to last about six months.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Guinea’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
October 1, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Guinea as you commemorate 56 years of independence on October 2.

The United States shares a long and productive relationship with Guinea and recognizes the progress that the people of Guinea have made promoting democracy and shared economic prosperity. We look forward to continuing our close partnership in the areas of health, women’s rights, agricultural development, good governance, transparency in the mining sector, and regional stability.

On this joyous holiday, I send best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous future.