Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Newest African Ambassador Presents Letters of Credence at White House

Photo: The White House

Washington, DC
August 9, 2018

On July 8, 2018, Niger’s new Ambassador to the United States – His Excellency Abdallah Wafy – presented his Letters of Credence to President Trump at an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House.

The presentation of credentials is a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington.

Ambassador Wafy obtained his master’s degree in law from the Université du Bénin, Togo and graduated from the Ecole nationale supérieure de police in France. He held a range of high-ranking positions in the Government of Niger, including as Senior Security Adviser to the Minister for Interior, Public Safety and Decentralization; Inspector General of Police; Special Security Adviser to the President; and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Libya and Permanent Representative of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States in Tripoli.

Prior to this appointment, Wafy served as Deputy Special Representative for the Rule of Law in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) ad interim since September 2012. He was also the missions’s Police Commissioner. He was with the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI) from 2006 to 2007, and was Deputy Head of the Police component of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) in 2009.

He is married and has five children.

Ambassador Nathan A. Sales to Travel to Nairobi, Kenya

File Photo

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
July 8, 2019

Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, the State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism, will travel during the week of July 8th to Nairobi, Kenya, where he will address the United Nations African Regional High-Level Conference on Counter-Terrorism and the Prevention of Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism. Ambassador Sales will also engage in bilateral discussions with Kenyan counterparts on global and regional efforts to defeat al-Qaida and ISIS, border security and curtailing terrorist travel, countering radicalization and recruitment, and combating terrorist finance.

U.S. Issues Statement on July 5 Agreement in Sudan

Press Statement
Morgan Ortagus
Department of State Spokesperson
July 6, 2019

The United States government welcomes the progress in negotiations which we hope will lead to the establishment of a civilian-led transitional government that is broadly acceptable to the Sudanese people.  We commend the mediators from the African Union and Ethiopia for their ongoing efforts.
The agreement between the Forces for Freedom and Change and the Transitional Military Council to establish a sovereign council is an important step forward.  We look forward to immediate resumption of access to the internet, establishment of the new legislature, accountability for the violent suppression of peaceful protests, and progress toward free and fair elections.
Special Envoy for Sudan Don Booth will continue to support the African Union/Ethiopia-led mediation process and will be returning to the region soon.

Security Working Group of the U.S.-Morocco Strategic Dialogue

Photo: State Department

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
July 3, 2019

On July 3, 2019, the United States and Morocco convened a working group of the U.S.-Morocco Strategic Dialogue in Washington, D.C., in order to expand our existing security cooperation efforts.
Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, co-chaired the meeting with Director of the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s Global Affairs Department, Ismail Chekkori, in the presence of Her Highness Princess Lalla Joumala, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United States of America.

Delegations from the United States and Morocco reaffirmed their ongoing commitment to strengthening counterterrorism cooperation and discussed the evolving nature of efforts to defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups in Africa. They discussed the urgent need for all countries to repatriate foreign terrorist fighters from Syria and prosecute them for the crimes they have committed.

The delegations agreed to build on ongoing initiatives to fight terrorism, including countering threats from terrorist ideology. The two sides also reaffirmed their interest in strengthening border security and countering terrorist travel, and discussed international cooperation in trade controls and nonproliferation frameworks, including the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the Proliferation Security Initiative.

The Working Group concluded with a renewed commitment to improving law enforcement and justice sector cooperation and fighting cyber-crime, as well as in prison management, crisis management, and justice sector reforms.

U.S. Issues Statement on Attack in Libya

Press Statement
Morgan Ortagus
Department of State Spokesperson
July 3, 2019

The United States strongly condemns the abhorrent attack on a migrant detention facility in Tajoura, Libya, which reportedly killed 44 and injured more than 100 innocent civilians. We extend our deepest condolences to families of those killed and wish a speedy recovery to those injured. This tragic and needless loss of life, which impacted one of the most vulnerable populations, underscores the urgent need for all Libyan parties to de-escalate fighting in Tripoli and return to the political process, which is the only viable path to lasting peace and stability in Libya.

The Enduring Partnership Between the United States and South Africa

Photo: U.S Embassy, South Africa

As Prepared

Thank you Deputy Vice Chancellor Vilakazi for the introduction.  I’m grateful to you and to everyone at Wits University and the African Centre for the Study of the United States for hosting today’s event.
And thanks to all of you here today for this wonderful welcome to South Africa.  I know many of you are still reflecting on yesterday’s State of the Nation Address and that the rest are probably thinking about how today is the last day of exams.  Having served in both government and academia, I can sympathize with you all.  So thank you again for coming today; I’m thrilled to be here.

I spent most of my 32-year career as an American diplomat on this continent, and I was fortunate to serve in Ethiopia, Guinea, Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo, Zambia, and the Seychelles.

The world, including Africa, has changed dramatically from when I became a diplomat in 1978.

When I first set foot on the continent, there were no cellphones, no internet, few television stations, and to call back to America from Lusaka required booking a slot days ahead to reserve one of the few international lines available at that time.

Today, modern technology has changed all that.  Mobile messenger apps effortlessly connect people in Africa and around the world; and last year when my grandson was born right here in South Africa, so far from home, I was incredibly grateful for the gift of real time communication!

Since I assumed my current role last September, this is my fourth trip to Africa.

These trips provide me the opportunity to meet with government officials, business leaders, civil society, and Africa’s dynamic youth to hear a range of views and discuss concrete ways to strengthen cooperation.

So today, I am truly excited to speak to you about the enduring relationship between the United States and the countries of Africa, especially South Africa.

Specifically, I want to talk about the U.S. government’s policy priorities in Africa and how we are working with partners like South Africa to achieve our common goals.

Our engagement in Africa is driven largely by four guiding principles:
  • First, the United States is interested in promoting stronger trade and business ties between Africa and America, to the benefit of the people of both.
  • Second, we must harness the potential of Africa’s tremendous youth population to drive Africa’s economic growth and create real prosperity.
  • Third, we must continue to advance peace and security across the continent.
  • Fourth, I am here today to reinforce that America has an unwavering commitment to Africa. No country in the world can match the depth and breadth of America’s long engagement with the people of Africa.
The United States greatly values its partnership with South Africa as the democratic and economic leader on the world’s fastest growing continent.

Nevertheless, South Africa faces some tough choices as it seeks to increase economic growth and come to grips with how best to manage and reform struggling state-owned enterprises.  I would be remiss to play down the challenges you face.  At the same time, we do not view these challenges as obstacles but an opportunity for closer cooperation.

This U.S. interest in deepening trade and investment ties with South Africa extends throughout the region, as well as the continent.

With the strong backing of the Trump Administration, our Congress recently passed legislation called the BUILD Act.

This law doubles the U.S. government’s investment capital from $29 billion to $60 billion and offers promising opportunities for more U.S. direct investment in Africa.

This new legislation will enable the U.S. government to make equity investments in African companies, and we hope to use these resources to unlock billions in private capital from the United States.

Our government also recently unveiled the “Prosper Africa” Initiative.  Prosper Africa is an ambitious effort to significantly increase two-way trade in goods and investment between America and Africa.

Prosper Africa will help us expand the number of commercial deals between U.S. and African counterparts and promote better business climates and financial markets on the continent.

U.S. companies are investing in President Ramaphosa’s goal of raising 100 billion U.S. dollars in new investments over five years.

At last October’s investment conference in Johannesburg, U.S. companies including McDonalds and Procter and Gamble announced large new investments, Microsoft announced it would build three data centers, and Amazon unveiled plans for a cloud-computing hub.

Most recently, United Airlines announced a new, non-stop flight to Cape Town from the United States, complementing flights by Delta Air Lines to Johannesburg.

Regionally, we are similarly excited to see U.S. energy companies interested in investment opportunities in Namibia, production facilities in Eswatini, and agriculture in Angola.  This is what U.S. commercial engagement in Africa looks like.

Our second priority is harnessing the potential of Africa’s youth population.  We have seen time and again that investing in education is the best way to invest in the future.

I saw this first-hand as Vice-Provost for International Affairs at Texas Tech University. Africa’s population is projected to double by 2050 to around 2.5 billion people, of which over 60 percent will be under the age of 25.

We must find ways to ensure the youth have the education and training that leads to enhanced employment opportunities.

Right here at Wits University, we have a great example of the U.S.-South African education partnership in the IBM Research Lab.  Just this year, U.S. Department of State Deputy Secretary Sullivan visited this Lab and was impressed with its capabilities and the potential for private-public partnerships to help solve pressing challenges in South Africa.

The Department of State has many programs to promote mentorship, networking, and career development for young people.

This includes, of course, the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)/Mandela Washington Fellowship.  This year, 700 young African leaders from all across Sub-Saharan Africa were selected to participate in the program.  They are in the United States at this very moment for training and academic coursework, networking and mentoring at 27 top U.S. universities.  When they return home, they will join approximately 3,700 Fellowship alumni, including 258 South Africans to tackle key issues their countries face today.

In South Africa, alumni of U.S. government exchange programs have made great strides in a variety of important areas.  For example, Murendeni Mafumo became a Mandela Washington Fellow in 2014 as a scientist working in water purification and attended a program at Yale University.  Three years ago, he launched a social enterprise, Kusini Water, with a locally designed water purification system.  The system uses an activated carbon filter made from macadamia nut shells.

For every liter of water his company sells, they provide 20 liters of safe drinking water to communities that do not have access to clean water.  Murendeni is using his innovative work to bring systemic change in underserved communities.  He attended the Global Entrepreneurship Summit earlier this month to share his expertise with the international business community.

Ntsiki Biyela, an alumna of our African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program broke new ground as the country’s first female black winemaker.  Her incredible story from domestic worker to winemaker is even more impressive considering the marketing inroads she has made both here and abroad, including in the United States.

But an educated and innovative population is only possible with our third priority: advancing peace and stability.  The United States will continue to help our African allies build secure and resilient communities bolstered by capable and accountable security and defense institutions.  These institutions should help to foster an environment in which businesses can flourish and the aspirations of young Africans can be met.

We support South Africa’s contributions to peace and security in Africa.  Of note, with over 1,100 peacekeepers serving in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere, South Africa ranks in the top 20 of force contributors to UN missions.  We greatly appreciate South Africa’s contributions and the participation of forces from other SADC countries, including Zambia and Malawi.

We would like to see our long-standing partnership with South Africa extend to other fora, especially multilateral bodies.  South Africa currently plays an important role as a member of the United Nations Security Council and a leader in the African Union.

We were also very pleased to see the positive role that SADC, the Southern African Development Community, played when Lesotho faced a security crisis.  SADC sent civilian and security reinforcements to support a neighbor in a time of need.  This is exactly the role we would like to see regional organizations play across Africa.

Finally, our fourth priority – our unwavering support of Africa – brings us full circle.
The United States offers a different model of engagement in Africa that is based on mutual respect, collaboration, sustainability, and transparency.  We don’t simply invest in Africa, we invest in African people.

We have walked side-by side with Africans for decades.  How so?

Through our programs like Power Africa, the Peace Corps, the President’s Malaria Initiative, and our signature HIV/AIDS program, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.  These programs have provided electricity to towns and villages.

They have brought enthusiastic American volunteers to rural areas across Africa to focus on community-led health and education projects.  They have also saved lives that could have been lost to malaria and HIV/AIDS.

Since 2004, PEPFAR has invested over $6 billion in HIV programs here, partnering with hundreds of South African organizations (including right here at Wits!) and the Government of South Africa.

In the region, PEPFAR represents a significant part of our foreign assistance.

We are tremendously excited, therefore, that a number of countries in the region are on track to soon reach epidemic control.

Through PEPFAR and our National Institutes of Health, the United States supports pioneering biomedical research, including HIV vaccine trials.  Every day, American and South African scientists, researchers, and public health experts are working together to enhance HIV prevention and care and develop innovative approaches to HIV antiretroviral therapy service delivery.  There is no better way to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to Africa than through our investment in its most important resource – its people.

There is a Swahili proverb that says, “Unity is strength.  Division is weakness.”

That is true within a country, and it is true between countries.  As I said at the top of my remarks, I am visiting to listen, learn, and to find new arenas of cooperation.  On this latter point, I also come to reaffirm the United States’ unwavering commitment to Africa, and to South Africa.  We have and will continue to invest in people and build partnerships that promote better health, jobs, skills, education, opportunity, and security.

This is an exciting time to be in Africa.  The dynamism of Africa’s youth is apparent everywhere you look, and if governments, businesses, and educational institutions unite in nurturing this next generation, Africa’s future will be secured.  Africa is the dynamic continent of the future, and South Africa has proven itself a leader for other African nations to follow.

“Unity is strength.  Division is weakness.”

Let us take this proverb to heart and continue to work together with common vision and purpose to promote shared American and African prosperity and security.

Thank you.

Female Youth Soccer Players from Malawi and Tanzania Attend Exchange Program in the U.S.

International Youth Soccer Players Celebrate the FIFA Women’s World Cup During Sports Diplomacy Exchange Program in the United States

06/28/2019 11:43 AM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
June 28, 2019

Approximately 75 youth female soccer players and their coaches from 13 countries will travel to New Jersey from June 29–July 13, 2019 as part of a Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Sports Visitor Program celebrating the FIFA Women’s World Cup and exploring women’s empowerment and leadership through sports. Participants were selected by U.S. Embassies and Consulates in Cambodia, Croatia, Georgia, India, Latvia, Lithuania, Malawi, Nepal, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Tanzania, and Ukraine.

The Sports Visitor Program, implemented in conjunction with FHI 360, brings international youth athletes and coaches to the United States to explore U.S. society, culture, and history through the lens of sports. Participants will play and learn alongside American peers both on and off the field.
Two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and State Department Sports Envoy alumna Julie Foudy will host the youth athletes and coaches at The Julie Foudy & espnW Sports Leadership Academy from July 7-11. Participants will work with American citizens on leadership capacity training through activities that build confidence and self-esteem on and off the field. In addition to participating in The Julie Foudy & espnW Sports Leadership Academy, the Sports Visitor participants will engage in activities with Women Win, Women’s Sports Foundation, United Soccer Coaches, Positive Coaching Alliance, Up2Us, the New York Red Bulls, and Sky Blue FC, among other local organizations.

This Sports Visitor Program is part of a larger ECA initiative entitled “Step In, Dream Big” to encourage girls and women around the world to step into their potential and realize their dreams.

Since 2003, ECA has hosted over 2,000 international youth athletes, coaches, and administrators on Sports Visitor programs, which increase dialogue and understanding between Americans and people around the world.