Tuesday, October 3, 2017

US Support for the UN Action Plan for Libya

Press Statement
Heather Nauert
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 22, 2017

The United States welcomes the September 20 United Nations (UN) announcement of an action plan to advance political reconciliation in Libya and help the Libyan people achieve lasting peace and security.

We applaud the vigorous outreach by UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Libya Ghassan Salamé to Libyan leaders and call on all Libyans to support and engage in his mediation efforts. The Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) remains the framework for a political solution to the conflict throughout the transition period. In this regard, we strongly support UN facilitation as the Libyan people carry out this critical transition, specifically by seeking to negotiate mutually-agreed limited amendments to the LPA, adopt a new constitution, and prepare for national elections.

The United States will not support individuals who seek to circumvent the UN-led political process.
The United States remains committed to working with Libya, the UN, and our international partners to help advance political reconciliation, defeat terrorism, and promote a more stable future for the Libyan people.

Monday, October 2, 2017

US Institute of Peace Hosts Symposium on Peace in Nigeria

Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects for Advancing Durable Peace

09/29/2017 06:35 PM EDT

Remarks
Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.
Under Secretary for Political Affairs
U.S. Institute of Peace
Washington, DC
September 28, 2017

(As Prepared for Delivery)

Good morning. Thank you, President Lindborg, for the kind introduction. I am grateful to you and Ambassador Carson for the invitation to participate in this important symposium on Nigeria. It is great to be back at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where each day you bring together key policy makers to engage in open dialogue on today’s most pressing issues.

Our Africa Bureau produces incredible diplomats. We have one in Don Yamamoto here today. It’s a
Bureau that really works at what I consider to be the cutting edge of American diplomacy and working in a part of the world that is in a remarkable and profound state of transition and has enormous lessons in terms of peacebuilding, peacekeeping, conflict resolution, building economies, and globalization, which are incredibly important for all of us. Some of us are going to have to relearn these lessons. Our engagement in Africa is a very, very important part of that.

I was here two weeks ago to discuss the burgeoning U.S.-African partnership, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to join you this morning to continue that conversation in the context of Nigeria – one of our most important partners in Africa.

I want to acknowledge the Senior Working Group, a distinguished cohort of Nigerian civic leaders, for your efforts and commitment as peacebuilders. Your work to defuse conflicts over a range of issues from elections to land use inspires us all.

When Nigeria’s northern governors came to this institution in late 2016, the clear consensus was that addressing the war and poverty plaguing northeast Nigeria required robust initiatives for education, reconciliation, and political inclusion. I am pleased the working group here today is bringing together your collective years of experience as spiritual leaders, military commanders, journalists, election officials, human rights advocates, and educators to develop strategies to address these enduring challenges. The United States is proud to be your partner in these vital efforts.

Our Strategic Partnership

The U.S.-Nigeria partnership is rooted in the deep connections between our people. It is also rooted in our shared interests in promoting mutually beneficial trade and investment, combatting the surge of terrorism, and responding to Nigeria’s development and governance challenges.

These priorities are being addressed every day through our robust bilateral partnership. As President Trump underscored during his recent working lunch with African leaders, we cannot have economic prosperity without peace, and we cannot have sustained peace without good governance.

On the economic front, Nigeria stands apart. It is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy, and the United States’ second largest bilateral trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria’s vibrant and dynamic economy, full of innovation and entrepreneurship, has driven its economic growth. According to Global Entrepreneurship Watch, 35 percent of Nigerians are involved in some sort of entrepreneurial activity. However, Nigeria could unleash its potential further by pursuing growth through market-based policies, not state-centered ones. A market-based approach that minimizes barriers between buyers and sellers will encourage additional investment and trade, and lighten the regulatory load on its budding entrepreneurs and investors.

A related issue to increased economic growth and investment that should remain front and center is Nigeria’s youth bulge. Nigeria is expected to become the third most-populous country in the world by 2050. It will be essential that we consider the voice of Nigeria’s youth today to ensure their leadership and commitment tomorrow. We support this engagement through the Young African Leaders Initiative, or YALI, and through the more than ten thousand Nigerian students at institutions of higher learning in the United States.

On the political front, Nigeria is a recognized leader across the continent. Within West Africa, we are grateful for Nigeria’s leadership in the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, and particularly during the political transition in The Gambia in December 2016. We are also grateful for its robust peacekeeping presence on the continent from the DRC to Mali.

Nigeria’s peaceful, transparent elections in March 2015 showed the rest of Africa and the world that a complex, diverse society could conduct peaceful democratic transitions of leadership. Many of you here today played an important role during that period. As the country heads into state elections and the 2019 national elections, the United States is ready and willing to offer our technical assistance, as we have in the past.

On security issues, Nigeria is an important leader and partner in the Lake Chad Basin collaborating with its neighbors to defeat the scourge of Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa. The United States supports this and other efforts to bring security and stability to citizens affected by violence. At the United Nations last week, the U.S. government announced $54 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the Lake Chad region, bringing the total to almost $700 million over the past two years. While humanitarian support is an immediate necessity, it cannot be a long-term solution.

My meeting with the Nigerian Foreign Minister last week was a great opportunity to learn more about what else the Nigerian government is trying to accomplish on the security front. It is clear to me that Nigeria is well aware that the fight against terrorism will be won not only by the military’s conduct on the battlefield, but also by its conduct off the field. Nigeria understands that human rights abuses and impunity tarnish its international reputation, undermine the trust of its citizens, impede counterterrorism efforts, and ultimately hinder our ability to fully partner with Nigeria.

A military response alone will not lead to sustained peace in the Northeast. A holistic response is required. One that sets the conditions for the safe return of refugees and displaced persons. One where the Nigerian government works with civic leaders like we have here today to create the social and political infrastructure needed for lasting peace.

So, thank you again for the opportunity to be here this morning and for your dedication and determination to create a more peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.

Sec. Tillerson Issues Statement on Nigeria’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
September 30, 2017

On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the Government of Nigeria and the Nigerian people as you celebrate your national independence on October 1.

The United States and Nigeria have a strong and enduring partnership that benefits both our nations. The U.S.-Nigeria partnership is built on our shared priorities of security, economic prosperity, and good governance; and is strengthened by innovation, trade, and optimism for the future. The United States reaffirms its commitment to support Nigeria in its fight to defeat Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa, to support efforts to help rebuild the lives of the millions affected by the violence, and to provide a better future for all Nigerians.

We offer our best wishes to the people of Nigeria in your commemoration of the 57th anniversary of your independence.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Sec. Tillerson Issues Statement on Guinea Bissau’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
September 24, 2017

On behalf of the government of the United States, congratulations to the people of Guinea-Bissau as you celebrate your national independence on September 24.

The United States and Guinea-Bissau have had a long and valued partnership. The United States will continue to work with your government to strengthen democratic institutions, bolster economic growth and development, and improve security and human rights in Guinea- Bissau.

We extend to the people of Guinea-Bissau wishes of future success and prosperity as you commemorate your National Day.

Sec. Tillerson Issues Statement on Mali’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
September 22, 2017

On behalf of President Trump and the people of the United States of America, we send our best wishes to the people of Mali as you celebrate your Independence Day on September 22.

The United States values our partnership with Mali. We will continue to grow our longstanding relationship to counter terrorist threats, strengthen Mali’s security institutions, assist with inclusive development, and support the full implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali.

On the 57th anniversary of your independence, the United States supports all Malians as they work to build a country that is peaceful, prosperous, and united.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

USAID Expands President’s Malaria Initiative in West and Central Africa

USAID Administrator Green Announces PMI Launch and Expansion in West and Central Africa

For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: press@usaid.gov

Today, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green announced that the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), led by USAID and implemented together with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will launch new country programs in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, and Sierra Leone, and expand its existing program in Burkina Faso.

With the addition of five new focus countries in West and Central Africa, PMI will have programs in 24 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria remains a significant public health problem.  This is in addition to PMI’s two bilateral programs and targeted support in the Greater Mekong Subregion in Asia, aimed at combating antimalarial drug resistance.PMI’s country expansion will benefit almost 90 million additional people at risk of malaria. The U.S. Government will now contribute to ensuring the availability of effective malaria prevention and control interventions to approximately 332 million people at risk across the west-to-central African corridor from Senegal to Cameroon.  While launching and expanding PMI, the U.S. Government remains committed to partnering with existing PMI focus countries to accelerate progress in malaria control and continue the momentum towards elimination.

Together with partner countries, under national malaria control program leadership, and in collaboration with malaria stakeholders, PMI scales up a comprehensive, integrated package of life-saving interventions in communities.  This includes both prevention (insecticide-treated mosquito nets, intermittent preventive treatment of pregnant women, seasonal malaria chemoprevention, and indoor residual spraying) and treatment interventions (malaria diagnosis and treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies).  PMI support builds overall country capacity and strengthens health systems while improving malaria prevention and treatment services.  PMI support includes strengthening supply chain logistics, malaria case surveillance, and monitoring and evaluation of impact.

More than 480 million people at risk of malaria have benefitted from PMI programs.  In Fiscal Year 2016, PMI protected over 16 million people by spraying homes, distributed more than 42 million long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets, and provided 57 million treatments of life-saving drugs and 63 million rapid diagnostic tests.

Women from 3 African Countries Participate in 2017 Global Sports Mentoring Program


Press Releases: U.S. Department of State and espnW Join Forces for the Annual Global Sports Mentoring Program

09/21/2017 03:16 PM EDT

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
September 21, 2017

From September 25 to October 31, seventeen international delegates and American sports sector mentors will take part in the annual U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP). In its sixth year, this program supports the U.S. Department of State’s global efforts to advance the rights and participation of women and girls through sports.

Working side-by-side with these emerging female leaders, senior executives in the American sports sector open their respective organizations as host sites while sharing personal entrepreneurial and management insights. During the mentorship, emerging global leaders develop business plans to support “sport for social change” initiatives in their home countries. These strategies allow communities at home and around the world to experience the benefits that come from cross-cultural relations and participation in sports, thereby creating more resilient and stable societies. In turn, the American mentors are enriched by new perspectives and an expanded domestic and international network.

The GSMP class of 2017 hails from Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, China, France, India, Kosovo, Morocco, Nigeria, the Palestinian Territories, Peru, South Korea, Taiwan, Uganda, and Venezuela. This delegation will join the ranks of 82 global alumnae—Olympians, Paralympians, journalists, ministerial officials, civil society leaders, entrepreneurs, and sports administrators—from over 45 countries who are providing opportunities for thousands of individuals to become leaders on the field, in the boardroom, and in their schools and governments.

This year, U.S. mentors represent the following companies and organizations: America East, the Big East, Burton Snowboards, Eli Lilly & Company, ESPN, Fox Sports, Gatorade, Google, the NCAA, the National Hockey League (NHL), PGA of America, Saatchi & Saatchi LA, Under Armour, Spurs Sports & Entertainment, the University of Connecticut and the Women’s Sports Foundation. The GSMP is implemented in cooperation with the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society.

Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #EmpowerWomen. For more information, please contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at ECA-Press@state.gov and ESPN’s Jane Bullock at Jane.Bullock@espn.com.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

State of Maryland Salutes African Community at Inaugural “Celebrate Africa” Gala

Story Photos & Photo Album (Bottom) Courtesy Afrikan Post – George Bright Abu

Civic Center – Silver Spring, Maryland
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Story by Frederick Nnoma-Addison

Maryland Lt. Governor, Boyd K. Rutherford (above), Secretary of State, John C. Wobensmith, and African Union Permanent Representative to the United States, H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, joined some three hundred Marylanders Wednesday night in Silver Spring to commemorate Maryland’s inaugural Celebrate Africa Gala and Awards Ceremony. The event was jointly organized by the Governor’s Commission on African Affairs (GCOAA) and the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives (GOCI). The elegantly dressed guests included state and federal officials, and members of the African Diaspora, diplomatic, faith-based, and business communities.

In his remarks, Lt. Governor Rutherford congratulated the African Commission and the community for their contributions to the state of Maryland, and pledged the Hogan Administration’s continued support. Ambassador Chihombori-Quao called upon the African Diaspora community to continue to strengthen their bonds, so they share a common and powerful voice that cannot be overlooked. She provided an overview of the evolution of the African Union (AU), formerly Organization of African Unity (OAU), briefed the guests on current developments in Africa, and challenged the African Diaspora and friends of Africa in Maryland to “go back home” and contribute to the motherland.

In his written statement, Governor Larry Hogan stated:

Maryland is enriched by the diversity of its residents, and we are committed to further promoting acceptance, understanding, and inclusion of our wealth of culture. According to the latest U.S. Census, there are over 120,000 Africa-born Americans living in Maryland, and the African immigrant communities are among the fastest growing in the state. The diverse cultures and traditions of all immigrant groups play a vital role in our state. The annual recognition of African Heritage in September is one way we can share and engage in Africa’s unique traditions, customs, food, music, arts, and language, as well as acknowledge the significant accomplishments and contributions that Africa brings to Maryland and our country.”

Governor Hogan also issued a proclamation recognizing African Heritage month, and calling upon all Maryland residents to recognize and observe the month-long celebration.

Celebrate Africa is Maryland’s inaugural Pan African celebration of Africa, Africans and peoples of African descent. The current 21-member African Affairs Commission, headed by Kehinde “Kenny” Oreagba, established Celebrate Africa as an annual event to recognize the economic, social, cultural, political and intellectual contributions of the vibrant African Diaspora community in the state.

The 2017 award winners and sponsors, by category, are:

Platinum
  • Abuja Country Club
  • Midas Express Shipping & Freight
  • Discovery Learning Alliance
Gold
  • Afrique Cuisine Inc.
  • A Unity System
  • Daimler Inc.
  • FTK-Konnect
  • Leeds Realty Group
Silver
  • EMS-IT
  • Children’s First LLC
Bronze
  • Bostat Realty LLC
  • Hebron House Inc.
  • Magnum IT Solutions Inc.
  • Nephrology Associates
  • Zovaya
Friends
  • Artistic Family Dentistry of Silver Spring
  • BANA Tech Solutions
  • Connaisseur Paris Men’s Boutique
  • Ezekiel Olubode
  • Finx Consulting LLC
  • IO Spaces
  • Hampton Conference Center
  • Little Ethiopia
  • Ma Winny Casey
  • Providence Motors Inc.
Culture, Food & Entertainment

DJ Donn, Nteboblak of South Africa, Melanie Fonda (3rd Princess, Miss Cameroon USA), Nereida Lobo (Miss Africa-USA), Lilycent Igbani and the Concept & Cultural Heritage Troupe, graced the occasion with their attendance, music or performance. Voice of America on-air talents, Ms. Linord Moudou and Mr. David Vandy hosted Celebrate Africa-2017, after a VOA News Africa 54 Interview on Tuesday September 19, with Mr. Vincent Makori. Afrique Cuisine Inc. (Chef Taba – Cameroon); Epicurean Nutrition Catering (Esther Marandure – Zimbabwe); Shiloh Restaurant and Catering (Toyosi Oriyomi – Nigeria); Sunu Halal Catering (Soffie Ceesay – The Gambia); and Ultimate Catering Services (Kehinde Oladimeji – Nigeria) catered delicious African cuisine for the event.

EVENT ALBUM

About the Governor’s Commission on African Affairs

The Governor’s Commission on African Affairs was established on May 19, 2009 by an executive order to effectively address the concerns of the African Diaspora in Maryland. It serves as an advisory board to the Governor and agencies within the Executive Department on matters relating to the Immigrant African population of Maryland, including matters relating to economic, workforce and business development.

Diversity continues to be one of Maryland’s greatest strengths. The governor, and government agencies, rely on the Commission to help expand opportunities for the growing African Diaspora population. Commissioners are appointed by the governor to serve 4-year terms. The current commission has four sub committees that reflect the emphasis of its work.

They are:
  • Culture/ Religion Subcommittee
  • Business Subcommittee
  • Health / Outreach Subcommittee
  • Education Subcommittee
About the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives (GOCI)

The Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives houses the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism and Volunteer Maryland, and oversees the Banneker-Douglass Museum, community affairs and engagement within the executive branch of Maryland government, faith-based outreach, and the governor’s ethnic and cultural commissions.

The Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives oversees eight ethnic and cultural commissions, established to connect those ethnic communities to state resources, and to effectively address their social, business, education, and health needs. Each commission forms sub- committees to tackle those areas.

The Commissions are:
  • Governor’s Commission on African Affairs
  • Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
  • Governor’s Commission on Caribbean Affairs
  • Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs
  • Governor’s Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs
  • Governor’s Commission on South Asian American Affairs
  • Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture
  • Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs
For partnership and sponsorship opportunities for Celebrate Africa – 2018, contact GOCI at 410-697-9260

President Al Sisi and Trump – Remarks Before Bilateral Meeting

Photo: Reuters

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 20, 2017

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP AND PRESIDENT AL SISI OF EGYPT BEFORE BILATERAL MEETING

Lotte New York Plaza Hotel
New York, New York

4:35 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  It is a great honor to have with us today President Al Sisi of Egypt.  We have worked long and hard, and we are making a lot of progress on a lot of different fronts, and we appreciate everything that you’ve done.

PRESIDENT AL SISI:  Thank you very much.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  And I know you appreciate everything that we’ve done.  (Laughter.)  But the relationship is very good, and thank you very much for your representatives.  The relationship really has been very, very good, and we look forward to continuing today and tomorrow.

PRESIDENT AL SISI:  Thank you very much.  (As interpreted.)  I thank you, Your Excellency, as well, for making the time to meet.  This is a very good chance that we are meeting once more, and I’d like to thank you and extend my appreciation for all the support you’re giving to Egypt.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  Thank you very much, everybody.

Q    Mr. President, will you restart aid to Egypt?  Will you restart military aid to Egypt?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  We’re going to certainly consider it.

Q    Mr. President, is Graham-Cassidy going to pass?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I think it has a very good chance.  Obamacare is a disaster.  It’s failing badly.  You look at the rates.  You look at what’s happening with premiums for people.  They can’t afford Obamacare.  It’s been a catastrophic situation.

I believe that Graham-Cassidy really will do it the right way, and it is doing it the right way.  It has tremendous support from Republicans.  Certainly we’re at 47 or 48 already — senators — and a lot of others are looking at it very positively.

Mike Pence has been working on it — our Vice President — who has done such a great job on healthcare and knows healthcare so well — loves it.  I think he might want to even say a few words about it.

Mike.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  President Trump made a commitment to the American people that we would repeal and replace Obamacare, and we’re grateful to Senator Graham, Senator Cassidy, and others that are coming together to keep the promise to the American people.

As the President has said many times, Obamacare is collapsing.  American families and American businesses are bearing the burden, and this President and our entire administration are absolutely committed to support Graham-Cassidy, move forward legislation that will give the American people a fresh start on healthcare reform, not with government mandates, but by repealing the mandates on businesses and individuals, and giving the resources to the states to create healthcare solutions that will work for each individual state.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  For seven years, I’ve been hearing “repeal and replace Obamacare.”  For seven years, I’ve been hearing how bad Obamacare is, but really more in the last two to three years than anything.

But for seven years, I’ve been hearing “repeal and replace.”  We’ve been hearing how bad it is.  We’ve been looking at the premiums go up.  We’ve been looking at deductibles that have been through the roof.  You have states like Arizona where the premiums are going to be worse this year than last year, and last year they were at 100 percent increase, 116 percent.

I think there’s tremendous support for it.  I think it’s actually much better than the previous shot, which was very sadly let down.  But again, we’ve been hearing about repeal and replace for seven years.  They have a chance.

I thought that when I won, I would go to the Oval Office, sit down at my desk, and there would be a healthcare bill on my desk, to be honest.  And it hasn’t worked out that way.  And I think a lot of Republicans are embarrassed by it, but I have to tell you, I think they’re going to do a great job.  If this happens, it will be a great thing for the country.  Obamacare is a disaster.  It’s a wreck.  It’s a train wreck, and it’s only getting worse.

And I must be honest with you, whether it happens or not, something is going to happen, and it’s going to be positive because, frankly, Obamacare cannot make it.  It cannot make it.  We think this has a very good chance, but Obamacare is only getting worse.  It’s dysfunctional now.  It’s totally dysfunctional.  And at some point, the Senate is going to be forced to make a deal.  They’re just about at that point right now because Obamacare is so bad.

So I do think it has a very good chance of passage, and I certainly hope it passes, and they’ll be voting in the not-too-distant future. 

Thank you very much.  Thank you.

END                       4:40 P.M. EDT

President Trump Meets African Leaders

File Photo

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 20, 2017

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP AT WORKING LUNCH WITH AFRICAN LEADERS

Lotte New York Palace Hotel
New York, New York
1:31 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much, General.  I appreciate it.  And I’m greatly honored to host this lunch, to be joined by the leaders of Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and South Africa.  In particular, I want to thank President Condé, who is representing the African Union.  Thank you.  Thank you.

In this room, I see partners for promoting prosperity and peace on a range of economic, humanitarian, and security issues.  We hope to extend our economic partnerships with countries who are committed to self-reliance and to fostering opportunities for job creation in both Africa and the United States.
Africa has tremendous business potential.  I have so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich.  I congratulate you.  They’re spending a lot of money.  But it does — it has a tremendous business potential and representing huge amounts of different markets.  And for American firms it’s really become a place that they have to go — that they want to go.

Six of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies are in Africa.  Increasing American trade and investment across diverse industries — including agriculture, energy, transportation, healthcare, travel, and tourism — will further transform lives throughout the continent.  Secretary Tillerson and the U.S.  Millennium Challenge Corporation are already considering an investment worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Côte d’Ivoire, which has made impressive economic reforms.  Really, you’ve done a tremendous job.

We also hope that African firms — like the company Sasol –consider making investments in the United States.  Sasol, as an example, is building a $9 billion petrochemical plant in Louisiana, which will bring new jobs to the state and, really, hardworking Americans will be manning those jobs.

But we cannot have prosperity if we’re not healthy.  We will continue our partnership on critical health initiatives.  Uganda has made incredible strides in the battle against HIV/AIDS.  In Guinea and Nigeria, you fought a horrifying Ebola outbreak.  Namibia’s health system is increasingly self-sufficient.   My Secretary of Health and Human Services will be traveling to Africa to promote our Global Health Security Agenda.

Yet, we know that our prosperity depends, above all, on peace.  The United States will partner with the countries and organizations, like the African Union, that lead successful efforts to end violence, to prevent the spread of terrorism, and to respond to humanitarian crises.  I commend your troops currently serving in the field.  Very brave.  Very, very brave what they’re going through.

As you well know, too many people are suffering from conflict in Africa.  In the Central African Republic, the Congo, Libya, Mali, Somalia, and South Sudan, among others, they’re going through some very, very tough and very dangerous times.  Terrorist groups, such as ISIS, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, and al Qaeda also threaten African peace.  The United States is proud to work with you to eradicate terrorist safe havens, to cut off their finances, and to discredit their depraved ideology.  And a number of you have told me — actually, last night — that we’ve been doing a very good job over the last six or seven months in particular.

We’re closely monitoring and deeply disturbed by the ongoing violence in South Sudan and in the Congo.  Millions of lives are at risk, and we continue to provide humanitarian assistance.  But real results in halting this catastrophe will require an African-led peace process and a sincere — really sincere commitment of all parties involved.  And I know you’re working on that, and you’re working on that very hard.  To assist in these efforts, I’m sending Ambassador Nikki Haley to Africa to discuss avenues of conflict and resolution and, most importantly, prevention.

Lastly, I want to discuss our partnership against a global challenge.   Today, the world faces an enormous security threat from North Korean regime.  We must all stand together and be accountable in implementing United Nations sanctions and resolutions in response to North Korea’s hostile and menacing actions.

We believe that a free, independent, and democratic nation, in all cases, is the best vehicle for human happiness and success.  Thank you for joining me for this critical discussion of the challenges and the opportunities facing our nations.

Africa, I have to say, is a continent of tremendous, tremendous potential.  The outlook is bright.  I look forward to hearing from you and your advice during the meal.  I thought rather than just eating, we’ll have long discussions — and I look forward to that very much.  But I also look forward to getting to know so many of you, and so many of you I do know.  And it’s an honor.  It’s an honor.

And I really want to congratulate you — growing very fast economically and in every other way.  You’ve done a terrific job, you’ve had some tremendous obstacles placed in your path, but you have done, really, an absolutely incredible job.

So I want to thank you, and I look forward to our discussion.  Thank you.

Thank you all very much.  (Applause.)

END                1:36 P.M. EDT

Lunch participant list
His Excellency Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire
His Excellency Marcel Amon-Tanoh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire
His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
His Excellency Dr. Workeneh Gebeyehu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa AkufoAddo, President of the Republic of Ghana
The Honorable Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana
His Excellency Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea
The Honorable Mamadi Toure, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Guieans Abroad of the Republic of Guinea
His Excellency Dr. Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia
The Honorable Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of Namibia
His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
His Excellency Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
His Excellency Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal
His Excellency Sidiki Kaba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Senegal
His Excellency Mr. Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa
The Honorable Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa
His Excellency Yowri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda
The Honorable Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda

US Issues Statement on Deaths in the Democratic Republic of the Congo


Violence and Death of Burundi Nationals in the Democratic Republic of Congo
09/20/2017 11:20 AM EDT

Press Statement
Heather Nauert
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 20, 2017

The U.S. government is dismayed by the violence and death of more than 30 Burundian nationals and a Congolese soldier in Kamanyola, in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.) on September 15. We call upon the Government of the D.R.C. to work with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UN peacekeepers to ease tensions between Burundi refugees and their host population.

The cause of the violence must be determined and perpetrators must be held accountable. We urge the Government of the D.R.C. to protect those civilians affected by violence from further attacks. Moreover, we urge the security forces of the D.R.C. to refrain from using excessive force.

African Women leaders in STEM Attend TechWomen 2017 Exchange Program

100 International Women Leaders in STEM Connect in Silicon Valley for TechWomen 2017
09/19/2017 01:03 PM EDT

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
September 19, 2017

One hundred women leaders in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields from Africa, the Middle East and South and Central Asia arrived in the United States this week for the U.S. Department of State’s TechWomen 2017 exchange program. Through mentorships with U.S. women leaders in STEM fields, the TechWomen participants will gain access and opportunities needed to strengthen business ties and build stronger professional networks around the world. Upon their return home, participants will encourage more women and girls to pursue careers in science and technology.

The TechWomen participants will spend five weeks collaborating with over 30 U.S. private sector companies in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley before their program closes in Washington, D.C. Each mentorship group will create a mutually beneficial project related to their expertise, interests and the needs of the host company. Participants will return home to join other program alumnae and select visiting American mentors to implement their action plans and conduct workshops to share their insights with more women and girls.

In San Francisco, media are invited to attend an opening event for the TechWomen at Juniper Networks on September 19, a Pitch Event at Microsoft on October 13, and a Community Celebration at Twitter on October 16. The closing lunch at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on October 20 will also be open to the press. To RSVP to these events and for inquiries, please contact ECA-Press@state.gov. Join the conversations on Twitter at #TechWomen17.

US-African Partnerships: Advancing Common Interests


Remarks
Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.
Under Secretary for Political Affairs
U.S. Institute of Peace
Washington, DC

September 13, 2017

(As prepared)

Introduction

Good morning. Thank you President Lindborg for your very kind and generous introduction. To you and to Ambassador Carson I am grateful for the invitation to participate in this important and timely symposium.

It is always a pleasure to cross 23rd street and leave behind the 1950s federal architecture of the State
Department for the soaring beauty of the United States Institute of Peace.

USIP has proven itself to be a unique and vital institution within our policy landscape. It is not only the keeper and dispenser of remarkable expertise in the practice of peace building and conflict resolution, but is also a convener and convoker of first category. USIP brings together some of our best strategic thinkers and most interesting organizations to discuss, debate, and shape American foreign policy.

Today is one such occasion. I am honored to help open this symposium on the relationship between the United States and Africa, with a special focus on the emerging partnerships that will define that relationship in the 21st century.

As Nancy noted, I am long-in-tooth as a diplomat. I have served our great Republic for 34 years. Curiously, I have spent 17 years of that career in the 20th century and 17 years in the 21st century. This fulcrum has allowed me to witness and participate in some remarkable moments of transformation and change. It has also taught me that history does not end, it accelerates. Today, change has velocity, driven by technology and connectivity. My experience has taught me that American power and American values can have a transformative impact on global change. I believe this is especially true for Africa. The partnership that we offer is especially relevant for countries in the midst of profound transitions from authoritarian to democratic governments, from exclusive to inclusive societies, from autarky models of development to ones based on open markets and regional integration, and from global isolation to intense participation in world events.

Setting the Global Stage

As we consider the purpose and nature of our relationship with Africa, it is important to note two things. First, Africa’s emergence as a point of global interest and strategic convergence. What happens on the continent over the next few years will shape the world’s economy, security, and well-being. Africa is no longer an addendum to global geopolitics. Instead, it is a bridge from the Indo-Pacific region to the larger Atlantic community, while also connecting directly to Europe and the Middle East. In the State Department it touches every geographic bureau, and at the Defense Department it connects to every geographic combatant command. In short, Africa’s centrality makes it immediately relevant to our success and demands attention and engagement.

Second, as far as the United States is concerned, Africa is already a continent of allies and partners. With a few notable exceptions, the vast majority of African states share our commitment to free markets, equitable trade, democracy and the rule of law, secure borders, and effective responses to global terrorist threats.

African states’ progress towards open markets and free trade have spurred economic growth, development, and tremendous opportunity across the continent. Indeed, six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are in Africa. By 2030, Africa will represent almost a quarter of the world’s workforce and consumers, and by 2050 Africa’s population is projected to double to two billion people.

And our balance of trade with Africa is near parity–thanks to booming demand for infrastructure investment, aircraft, consumer products, and services. African states consistently attract strong investor attention from American companies.

Democracy and the rule of law are also advancing on the continent. Competitive, participatory elections are becoming the norm. Just two weeks ago, we witnessed the Supreme Court of Kenya’s decision to overturn the August 8 Presidential elections, and President Kenyatta’s mature decision to respect that ruling. The independent legal process, and broad support and respect for the Court’s decision, reflect the strength of Kenya’s democracy.

Finally, African allies and partners are stepping forward to lead regional initiatives to address long-running conflicts and humanitarian crises. In the Lake Chad Basin, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon formed the Multinational Joint Task Force to fight Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa, and are coordinating military operations, civilian security, and humanitarian assistance. The United States is proud to support this and other regional initiatives to bring security and stability to citizens affected by conflict and food insecurity.

Strengthening our Relationship: The Path Forward

Though there is much to commend in recent developments on the continent, we all know that African states continue to face significant challenges. And any relationship, however strong, requires care and nurturing if it is to grow. As President Trump, Secretary Tillerson, and our national security team engage with our African partners, they will be guided by four strategic purposes.

Advancing Peace and Security

First, advancing peace and security. Doing so, yields dividends for citizens in Africa, and advances our own national security.

We are looking to African partners to take the lead in resolving regional conflict, and we will continue to partner with the African Union and regional organizations that lead successful efforts to end violence and prevent mass atrocities. While our hope and commitment to seeing an end to the devastating man-made crises in DRC, South Sudan, and other locations is enduring, the long term sustainability of our financial commitment requires continuing contributions from our assistance partners. We will also require greater political commitment from African leaders who want peace and stability in their countries and in their region. This will ensure that our support and investment is effective and enduring.

On the continent, we are working to build the capacity of regional peacekeepers, whose numbers continue to increase in Africa. In the past year, we have provided training to peacekeepers from over 20 African countries actively engaged in UN and African Union (AU) peacekeeping operations. This engagement has allowed more than ten battalions to deploy more effectively into some of the world’s most dangerous operations in Somalia, Mali, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. Generously, Africans now comprise over 70 percent of the peacekeepers in Africa, up from 40 percent ten years ago. We acknowledge that peacekeeping comes with a tremendous risk. We both mourn and honor those Africans who have given their lives in peacekeeping operations.

The United States also addresses peace and security through humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations such as refugees and internally displaced people. In 2016, we provided more than $1.5 billion to UNHCR’s humanitarian operations. With the support of USAID and the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration – for example – an estimated 1.8 million people in South Sudan receive life-saving humanitarian assistance every month.

Our work to advance peace and security is not just regional. Increasingly, it is global. African states are partnering with us to address the danger that North Korea presents to the world. We asked African countries to join us in restricting political and economic engagement with North Korea, shutting down North Korea’s illicit trade networks, and publicly opposing North Korea’s reckless missile and nuclear tests. Numerous African partners have taken concrete actions, but more needs to be done.

Countering the Scourge of Terrorism

Second, countering the scourge of terrorism. This Administration seeks to partner with African allies to confront and counter terrorism in Africa, including defeating Boko Haram, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and ISIS-West Africa. In recent years, African countries have intensified their regional and domestic efforts to take greater ownership on this front, often with great success. In Somalia, the African Union and Somali security forces are driving out al-Shabaab. Working through AU leadership, regional peacekeeping partners such as Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi, and Djibouti are helping to lead the way in this effort.

Military, law enforcement, and intelligence tools are vital to defend against these threats, but military force alone is not enough for a sustained peace. We must work with our partners, including civil society, traditional authorities, and religious leaders, to address the root causes of conflict, combat marginalization, and create economic opportunity. There is no long-term solution to terrorism absent this comprehensive approach.

Any progress in our counter-terrorism efforts, however, will be undone by abusive and illegal behavior by security forces. We will continue to hold our allies to the highest standards and ensure that individuals who fail to respect human rights in this important fight are held accountable.

The challenge now is for our African partners to complement their successes on the battlefield with trained law enforcement personnel to provide civilian security and economic policies to kick start moribund local economies.

Increasing Economic Growth and Investment

Third, promoting prosperity through economic growth and investment. This Administration seeks to do business not just in Africa, but with Africa, moving the focus of our economic relationship with the continent from aid to trade and investment. Trade will be free, fair, and reciprocal, and our investors will be more competitive. This is about creating jobs for both Americans and Africans throughout the continent.

One of our most important bipartisan endeavors in the economic arena is the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA. AGOA has been the cornerstone of U.S. economic engagement with countries of sub-Saharan Africa since 2000.

To highlight a few of the achievements:
  • U.S. investment in sub-Saharan Africa increased from $9 billion a year in 2001 to $34 billion in 2014 and created over 300,000 jobs across Africa.
  • U.S. exports to Africa rose at an even faster rate, from $6 billion in 2000 to $25 billion in 2014.
  • U.S. imports from sub-Saharan Africa under AGOA totaled almost $11 billion in 2016, a 14% increase from the previous year alone.
These successes, and the knowledge that trade helps strengthen democratic institutions and reinforce regional stability, are prime reasons the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly approved legislation in 2015 to re-authorize AGOA for ten more years.

We remain committed to our economic partnerships with Africa and will continue to seek opportunities to strengthen two-way trade and investment. USAID, for example, has established three trade hubs to help the African private sector take advantage of AGOA and expand exports to the United States. Additionally, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, or MCC, provides economic assistance to governments that have already established good policy environments. Most of the MCC’s work has been and continues to be in Africa.

Promoting Democracy and Good Governance

Finally, promoting democracy and good governance. Efforts to secure enduring peace are undermined when governments fail to provide good governance and uphold the rule of law – the foundation for security and the driver of inclusive economic growth in free societies.

We see the corrosive effects of corruption as fundamentally detrimental to the future success of African societies. An AU study estimated corruption costs the continent roughly $150 billion per year. Bribes and low-level corruption worsen poverty and inequality, and harm citizens’ faith in government. Corruption – particularly at the highest levels – deters foreign investment, foments instability, and diminishes the capacity of security forces and other institutions to deliver basic services.

The United States will continue to partner with regional organizations to advance good governance and the rule of law. In The Gambia, when President Jammeh reneged on his commitment to accept the results of the presidential election in December 2016, the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, stepped up with other regional leaders and took a principled stand for democracy. ECOWAS and regional leaders organized a strong diplomatic campaign to influence President Jammeh to give up power. He ultimately stepped aside, peacefully ceding power to his democratically elected successor, President Barrow. This was an excellent example of an African-conceived and African-managed effort in strengthening democracy, and one that we were proud to support.

Conclusion

Africa is a place of trusted friends and partners. We must continue to journey together in our quest for peace and security, inclusive democracy and good governance, a trained work force with economic opportunities, and an empowered civil society. As an old African proverb says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We plan to go together with our African partners.

Thank you again for the opportunity to be here today and for your commitment to advancing the longstanding ties between the United States and Africa.

HIV Update: Five African Countries Approach Control of Their HIV Epidemics

Photo: CDC

Five African Countries Approach Control of Their HIV Epidemics as U.S. Government Launches Bold Strategy to Accelerate Progress

09/19/2017 12:00 AM EDT

September 19, 2017
Latest survey results show Lesotho’s significant success with HIV viral load suppression and stabilization of Uganda’s previously expanding epidemic.

Washington, D.C./New York—Data released today from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) show that the HIV epidemic is coming under control in Lesotho. These results add to prior PEPFAR-supported Population-based HIV Impact Assessments (PHIAs) announced in the last nine months for Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Together, these data demonstrate impressive progress toward controlling the HIV epidemics in the five countries. The latest data also indicate that the previously expanding epidemic in Uganda has now stabilized. None of these achievements would be possible without the political will and leadership to focus resources for maximum impact in each of these countries.

According to the new Lesotho PHIA results, HIV viral load suppression – a key marker of the body successfully controlling the virus – has reached over 67 percent among all HIV-positive adults ages 15-59. This finding suggests that Lesotho is on track to achieve epidemic control by 2020, through reaching the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 targets and expanding HIV prevention. Uganda’s epidemic has likely stabilized due to increases in coverage of voluntary medical male circumcision for HIV prevention and expansion of HIV treatment, including for HIV-positive pregnant women.

Building on this progress, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today released the new PEPFAR Strategy for Accelerating HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control (2017-2020). The Strategy reaffirms the U.S. government’s leadership and commitment, through PEPFAR, to support HIV/AIDS efforts in more than 50 countries, ensuring access to services by all populations, including the most vulnerable and at-risk groups.

The Strategy outlines plans to accelerate implementation in a subset of 13 high-burden countries that have the potential to achieve epidemic control by 2020, working in collaboration with host governments; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; UNAIDS; and other partners. Through this international effort, we expect not only to control the epidemic, but also to reduce the future costs required to sustain the HIV/AIDS response.

“With five African countries approaching control of their HIV epidemics, we have the extraordinary opportunity to change the very course of the HIV pandemic over the next three years,” said Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. “We are deeply grateful for Secretary Tillerson’s bold leadership and clear vision in launching this landmark Strategy. PEPFAR is poised to deliver on it, showing that what once seemed impossible is now possible.”

Data from these six countries were gathered through national surveys (PHIAs), which are funded by the U.S. government through PEPFAR, and conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ICAP at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and local governmental and non-governmental partners. With PEPFAR support, seven additional countries will complete PHIAs on a rolling basis through 2017-2019, providing an ability to chart and validate their respective progress toward reaching epidemic control by 2020.

“CDC is so pleased to contribute to the global HIV response, working with ministries of health and other partners on science-based solutions that are transforming some of the world’s most severe HIV epidemics,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. “National surveys are critical to show the impact of efforts and to chart the path to fully achieve HIV epidemic control.”

While the PHIA results demonstrate tremendous progress, they also reveal key gaps in HIV prevention and treatment programming for younger men and women that require urgent attention and action. In all six surveys, young women and men under age 35 were less likely to know their HIV status, be on HIV treatment, or be virally suppressed than older adults. These gaps are all areas in which PEPFAR will continue to invest and innovate under its new strategy. In particular, PEPFAR will continue to advance efforts to reduce HIV incidence among adolescent girls and young women through the DREAMS Partnership and reach and link more young men to HIV services.

“The findings from the six countries provide a report card on the global and local efforts in confronting the HIV epidemics while at the same time help in shaping a blueprint for their future course as they continue their quest to stem this epidemic,” said Wafaa El-Sadr, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., global director of ICAP. “The gaps identified in reaching young women and men are relevant to many other countries around the world, and addressing them is critically important to achieving the ultimate goal of ending this epidemic.”

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About the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
PEPFAR is the U.S. government’s response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, which represents the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history. Through the compassion and generosity of the American people, PEPFAR has saved and improved millions of lives, accelerating progress toward controlling and ultimately ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat. For more information, please visit www.pepfar.gov, and follow PEPFAR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting people from health threats to have a more secure nation. HIV and tuberculosis (TB) are the world’s two most deadly infectious diseases, and CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB works with partners to tackle these two epidemics and produce the greatest global health impact. More information can be found at www.CDC.gov/globalhivtb.

About ICAP at Columbia University
ICAP was founded in 2003 at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. A global leader in HIV, tuberculosis, other health threats, and health systems strengthening, ICAP provides technical assistance and implementation support to governments and non-governmental organizations. More than 2.2 million people have received HIV care through ICAP-supported programs, and over 1.3 million have received antiretroviral therapy through such support.

PEPFAR and Mastercard Launch Partnership to Address HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control

Photo: www.pepfar.gov

September 18, 2017

New York, NY (September 18, 2017) — At the 2017 Concordia Annual Summit, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and Mastercard announced a new public-private partnership aimed at accelerating progress toward HIV/AIDS epidemic control. The partnership will explore the use of digital technologies and data analytics to improve access to and outcomes of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services in Africa.

“We have made extraordinary progress toward achieving HIV/AIDS epidemic control in several high-burdened African countries, but key gaps remain,” said Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. “PEPFAR is thrilled to launch this pioneering partnership with Mastercard. By leveraging their extraordinary expertise in deploying digital solutions in resource-limited settings, we can improve the health and well-being of the people that PEPFAR serves.”

“PEPFAR research shows that the majority of the cost of HIV/AIDS treatment is related to service delivery, not the cost of drugs,” said Tara Nathan, executive vice president, Public-Private Partnerships for Mastercard. “We believe innovative technology and service delivery models can help achieve greater efficiency in PEPFAR’s efforts, helping to prevent new HIV infections and reduce the number of AIDS deaths.”

Since PEPFAR’s launch in 2003, the U.S. government has not only saved millions of lives, but changed the very course of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, including by supporting over 12 million people with lifesaving antiretroviral treatment. This leadership is a direct reflection of the compassion and generosity of the American people, underpinned by a commitment to improve performance, find efficiencies, and increase impact.

As part of its broader financial inclusion efforts and commitment to using technology to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Mastercard has worked to improve the distribution and tracking of humanitarian aid addressing some of the world’s most challenging issues. This includes using its expertise to digitize healthcare management in resource-limited settings. Exploring new ways of using digital technology to support HIV/AIDS control expands these efforts to build resilient communities through access to systems and services that drive inclusion.

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About PEPFAR
PEPFAR is the United States government’s response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, which represents the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history. Through the compassion and generosity of the American people, PEPFAR has saved and improved millions of lives, accelerating progress toward controlling and ultimately ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat. For more information, please visit www.pepfar.gov, and follow PEPFAR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About Mastercard 
Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments, and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business, and managing finances – easier, more secure, and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter (@MastercardNews), join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog, and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Two New African Ambassadors Present Letters of Credence at White House

AMIP News
Washington, DC
September 20, 2017

On Friday, September 8, 2017, two new African Ambassadors presented their Letters of Credence to President Trump at an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House.
They are:
  •  His Excellency Sebujja Mull Katende, Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda
  • His Excellency Ronald Jean Jumeau, Ambassador of the Republic of Seychelles
The presentation of credentials is a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Maryland to Host Inaugural “Celebrate Africa” Event

African Affairs Commissioners – 2017


For Immediate Release                              Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Maryland Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives (GOCI), Crownsville, Maryland
In commemoration of African Heritage Month (September), the Governor’s Commission on African Affairs, in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives (GOCI) will host Celebrate Africa – Maryland’s inaugural Pan African celebration of Africans and peoples of African descent. Celebrate Africa is dedicated to the vibrant African Diaspora community in the state of Maryland, and Africa, their continent of origin.

This year’s celebration will be marked with three main events; an invitation only gala and awards ceremony on September 20th, a health symposium and special screening of the film The Lucky Specials, by Discovery Learning Alliance – the non-profit department of Discovery Communications, LLC, and PANAFEST, a cultural celebration.

The health symposium will commence at 10am on Saturday September 23rd, followed by the screening of The Lucky Specials, both at the Executive Office Building cafeteria – 101 Monroe Street, Rockville, MD 20850. State and private health experts will address the Opioids crisis, Zika virus, mental health, hospitalization and readmission challenges, and tuberculosis. PANAFEST will follow from 3-10pm at the Civic Center, downtown Silver Spring – 1 Veterans Place.

In a statement issued by the commission chair, Honorable Kehinde “Kenny” Oreagba, he said, “…We are very proud that Africa is the cradle of humankind; for us, that is not enough. All of us Africans desire to become more productive contributors to the wonderful State of Maryland, and we expect the Governor’s Commission on African Affairs to provide that platform.”

Africans represent an important human resource in the state of Maryland. Celebrate Africa will recognize their economic, social, cultural, political and intellectual contributions at every level in the state of Maryland.

To RSVP, for media & other inquiries, or for sponsorship opportunities, contact:

kevin.craft@maryland.gov

gcoaachair@gmail.com

agnes.smith@maryland.gov

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Monday, September 11, 2017

DC MOAA Presents 8th Annual DC Africa Celebration


RSVP here

DC Mayor's Office on African Affairs Issues African Heritage Month Proclamation for 2017


US Issues Statement on Angola’s General Elections


Heather Nauert
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 7, 2017

The United States congratulates the people of Angola for exercising their democratic right to vote in the August 23 historic national elections. We look forward to working with President-elect João Lourenço and the new Parliament of the Republic of Angola to further strengthen our bilateral relationship.

We commend the National Electoral Commission for administering an orderly, well-managed process. We also recognize the important role Angola’s political parties and civil society organizations played in these elections, and we welcome the statements by international and domestic observer missions affirming the credibility of the election. The concerns raised by some opposition parties and civil society groups about unequal access to media should be addressed ahead of future elections.

The United States stands by the people of Angola in their efforts to build strong, democratic, and inclusive institutions that are dedicated to ensuring a peaceful and prosperous future for all Angolans.

US Treasury Announces Targeted Sanctions on Southern Sudanese Officials and Companies


Treasury Announces Targeted Sanctions on South Sudanese Officials and Companies
09/06/2017 02:01 PM EDT

Press Statement
Heather Nauert
Department od State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 6, 2017

Today, the Department of the Treasury announced targeted sanctions on two South Sudanese government officials and one former official for their roles in threatening the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan, and three companies that are owned or controlled by one of those individuals. Treasury also released a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Advisory alerting U.S. financial institutions to the possibility that certain South Sudanese senior political figures may try to use the U.S. financial system to move or hide proceeds of public corruption.

The measures taken today against Malek Reuben Riak Rengu, Michael Makuei Lueth, and Paul Malong Awan make clear that the U.S. Government will impose consequences on those who expand the conflict and derail peace efforts. The United States stands ready to impose other measures against those responsible for undermining the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan. As the Advisory demonstrates, the United States is committed to increasing scrutiny on those who enrich themselves through corruption while the South Sudanese people suffer through economic hardship and a dire humanitarian crisis.

Six million people in South Sudan – half of the population – face life-threatening hunger while more than four million people have been displaced from their homes, including two million refugees. This is a man-made crisis, and one the Government of South Sudan can stop. We continue to make clear to South Sudan’s leaders that they must honor their declared ceasefire, revive the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan by engaging meaningfully with opposition parties, bring an end to atrocities, stop the harassment of aid workers, stem human rights abuses, cooperate fully with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, and take action against corruption. We urge all parties to engage constructively and seriously in the upcoming Intergovernmental Authority on Development High-Level Revitalization Forum for the South Sudan peace process.

US Embassy Freetown Holds Biocontainment Training

Operation Tranquil Shift team members lift simulated patients into the containerized biocontainment system outfitted aircraft on April 17, 2017. The medical evacuation exercise in Freetown, Sierra Leone, was prompted by the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. (U.S. Department of State photo)

Sierra Leone’s Experience with Ebloa Leads to Training Opportunity at Freetown Embassy

By Anne Carey, DSS Public Affairs

July 7, 2017

The deadliest Ebola epidemic on record killed more than 13,000 people, mostly in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

It was a wake-up call about the need for a safe, effective, and efficient way to move patients with infectious diseases to overseas locations for treatment.

In April, Sierra Leone’s Lungi International Airport was the host site for the evacuation of 11 mock patients – no small feat – during Exercise Tranquil Shift, the largest overseas biocontainment exercise ever conducted by the U.S. Department of State, in partnership with six U.S. government agencies. This exercise was a testament to the lessons learned and the changes made in the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak in 2014.

“This is about the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, MERS-CoV, in Qatar, with outbreaks every month for the past several months; Lassa fever in Benin, Togo, and Burkina Faso from February of this year; plague in Madagascar in December of last year,” said Dr. William A. Walters, the U.S. Department of State’s Managing Director for Operational Medicine, about the exercise.

“Infectious disease outbreaks happen all the time. They’re usually contained, largely to the efforts of local health systems augmented by international health responders. The United States government has a responsibility globally and to its citizens to continue to support those ongoing efforts to prevent catastrophe in the future.”

Prior to the exercise, Sean Nedd, the Diplomatic Security Service regional security officer at the U.S. Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone, held meetings with the local police force to discuss what would occur should an actual operation occur. He emphasized that communication and traffic control would be key in the event of a medical evacuation.

“The Lungi Airport is located outside of Freetown and people usually travel to and from the airport using water taxis,” educated Nedd. “In the event of an actual contamination, water taxis can’t be used because biocontainment equipment is too large for the boats, so we would have to use the roads, which is a much longer travel time.”

Nedd and the Sierra Leone police mapped out potential routes from Freetown to the airport, and discussed various traffic controls that the police officers could use to support efficient movements. The team focused on identifying intersection check points so movement could be tracked via maps.

Tranquil Shift began April 10 when the interagency task force, jointly led by Walters and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, initiated the exercise in response to a hypothetical outbreak overseas. On April 11, five American aircraft equipped with specialized biocontainment units flew from Atlanta to Dakar, Senegal, where they prepared for the evacuation. The next day, exercise team members flew to Freetown to pick up 11 “patients” who needed to be safely transported to Ebola treatment centers in the United States. The aircraft then flew to Washington Dulles Airport to clear customs before heading to five receiving facilities across the country.

The aircraft were outfitted with either the Aeromedical Biological Containment System used during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreaks, or the Containerized Biocontainment System (CBCS), a state-of-the-art infectious disease transport system.

Thanks to a $5 million public-private partnership with Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, MRIGlobal developed the CBCS specifically for the State Department. The CBCS can be loaded aboard non-military aircraft allowing the department to get into places where the U.S. military may not be welcome for the next outbreak.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

US Issues Statement on Presidential Election in Rwanda

Press Statement
Heather Nauert
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 5, 2017

The United States congratulates the people of Rwanda on their active and peaceful participation in the presidential election held August 4. However, we are disturbed by irregularities observed during voting and reiterate long-standing concerns over the integrity of the vote-tabulation process.

We commend the Rwandan media for reporting on complaints of harassment of some opposition candidates and Rwandan citizens during the campaign. We likewise commend average citizens, the National Electoral Commission, and government officials for speaking out and addressing those complaints. We applaud the televised debate, while noting that voters’ understanding would have benefited from broader participation of the candidates themselves.

We remain concerned by the lack of transparency in determining the eligibility of prospective candidates. We hope the new electoral law to be debated in the next session of Parliament will clarify that process well before the 2018 parliamentary elections.

The United States stands by the people of Rwanda in their efforts to build strong democratic and inclusive institutions in order to ensure long-term stability and a democratic, prosperous future for all.

US Issues Statement on Mali

Press Statement
Heather Nauert
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 31, 2017

The United States condemns recurring violations of the ceasefire that have occurred in Mali between signatory armed groups to the 2015 Algiers Peace Accord. We urge the parties to end hostilities immediately and to strictly comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and to respect human rights, particularly with respect to civilians and prisoners. We are greatly disturbed at reports of reprisal killings of civilians and the discovery of unmarked grave sites in the areas of conflict. We welcome the inquiries led by the UN peacekeeping mission, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). If the allegations prove true, the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

We applaud efforts to bring the parties together to agree to a cessation of hostilities, and we deplore the parties’ failure to do so. We call on all parties to redouble their efforts to abide by the ceasefire and fully implement the Algiers Peace Accord. The United States stands with the people of Mali as they work to build a country that is peaceful, prosperous, and united.‎ The United States also supports the efforts of the Group of Five Sahel states (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) in creating a Joint Force and undertaking other actions to address threats that destabilize Mali and other parts of the sub-region and make lasting peace that much more elusive.

Sec. Tillerson Issues Statement on Niger’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
August 4, 2017

On behalf of the Government of the United States, our congratulations to the government and people of Niger as you celebrate your nation’s independence.

The United States will continue to work with Niger to encourage economic growth, assist with counterterrorism efforts, and support a vibrant civil society. We value our strong, multi-faceted partnership and commend Niger’ critical role in ensuring stability in the Sahel.

We extend to the people of Niger wishes for peace and prosperity as you celebrate the 57th anniversary of your independence.

Sec. Tillerson Issues Statement on Benin’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
August 1, 2017

On behalf of the United States, congratulations to the people of Benin as you celebrate the 57th anniversary of your national independence on August 1st.

The United States reaffirms its support of Benin and its goal of a better and more prosperous future. We use this opportunity to recognize both our commitments to partner on regional stability, sustainable economic growth, and universal respect for human rights.

Our best wishes to you on this special day.

Monday, July 31, 2017

2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Summit

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
July 28, 2017

Representatives of the U.S. Government, private sector, and civil society will meet with nearly 1,000 young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa during the State Department-sponsored Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit from July 31-August 2, in Washington, DC. The Mandela Washington Fellowship and Summit fosters and builds relationships that support and expand U.S.-Africa cooperation on shared goals the continent.

The Summit, held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, will feature an Expo with more than 100 organizations engaged with Africa, as well as a Congressional Forum and other leadership and networking sessions. The young African leaders are convening in Washington after six weeks of academic study and leadership training at 38 higher education institutions across the United States as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Alumni of the Fellowship are playing a role in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative, the United States’ effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. Government and is supported in its implementation by IREX.

DC MOAA Hosts Third Annual Mandela Day of Service

File Photo

Story: DC MOAA

On Friday, July 14, 2017, the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (MOAA) in partnership with Howard University, the UNESCO Center for Peace and the Commission on African Affairs hosted its third annual Young African ConneXions Summit (YAX) themed Strengthening Diaspora Partnerships. The Summit was held at the Howard University School of Business Auditorium as part of MOAA’s Community and Youth Engagement Outreach program.

Following the annual Young African ConneXions Summit, MOAA hosted its third annual Mandela Day of Service on Saturday, July 15, 2017. The agency was joined by volunteers at the Anacostia Park Skating Rink on 1800 Anacostia Drive, Washington, DC 20003, for 67 minutes of community service to commemorate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Please visit our Facebook page to view pictures of the events #YAX2017 and Mandela Day of Service