Sunday, August 26, 2012
Department of State
August 25, 2012
A delegation of senior U.S. economic officials will visit Cairo August 27-30 to meet with senior Egyptian officials as well as private sector leaders. The delegation will follow up on Secretary Clinton’s July visit, during which President Morsi and senior Egyptian officials identified broad-based economic growth and job creation as top priorities for the U.S. partnership with Egypt.
The delegation will discuss with the Egyptian government steps to rebuild stability and confidence in Egypt as well as grow its economy, and encourage completion of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They will discuss assistance the United States can provide to further support Egypt’s political and economic transition, which aims to realize the aspirations of greater opportunity for all Egyptians.
Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Robert D. Hormats will lead the delegation, which includes senior representatives from the White House, Department of the Treasury, United States Agency for International Development, Office of the United States Trade Representative, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
By Frederick Nnoma-Addison
African Diaspora Minister (Fred Brako, Ph.D.) Addresses one of America’s Biggest Challenges, Sex & Sexuality in an Extraordinary New Book S.P.I.C.E. Up Your Intimacy Life Now!
One of America’s leading foreign-born Christian authorities on sex and sexuality, Rev. Fred Brako has treated the subject of sex and sexuality in the church in S.P.I.C.E. Up Your Intimacy Life Now! as very few Christian ministers have ever done or even dared to do in their entire careers. His combination of deep biblical insights, practical knowledge and examples from decades of professional couples’ counseling, straight talk, humor, and plain common sense makes his new book a timely masterpiece and certainly a more wholesome alternative to E.L. James’ erotic 2011 novel, 50 Shades of Grey.
With the sweeping national epidemic of sexual perversion and marital dysfunction in and out of the Church, S.P.I.C.E. Up Your Intimacy Life Now! could not have come at a better time to educate, purify, and liberate many married couples and singles alike. The smart acronym S.P.I.C.E. stands for Spirituality; Personality; Intimacy; Communication and Enjoyment, and he does a stellar job exploring each point, for the edification and enjoyment of the reader. The 141 page easy-read book is also spiced up with practical solutions and witty quotes such as “to hear many religious people talk, one would think God created the torso, head, legs, and arms, but the devil slapped on the genitals.” – Don Schrader.
Rev. Brako’s primary motivation and goal with this book is to demystify sex in the context of marriage, clean it using the Word of God, and present it to married couples as a wholesome gift from God who created sex in the first place. He challenges the status quo and authoritatively pushes to make the subject of sex “redemptively hot” in the church, arguing that the Church’s failure to do so partly accounts for the over 50% divorce rate in the church. The well researched book is best read by couples and used as a manual for enriching the marriage bed and covenant.S.P.I.C.E. Up Your Intimacy Life Now! is a production of Timely Word Publications in Delaware, Pennsylvania, (USA) and is immediately available online at www.spiceup.org
About The Author
Rev.Fred Brako is the director of Biblical Counseling at New Covenant Church of Philadelphia and a national conference speaker on marriage, sex, and sexuality. He holds a Master of Divinity degree in counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is a PhD candidate in Couples and Family Therapy at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He and his wife Edith have been married for over twenty years and are blessed with two young adult children – Frederick and Frieda.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Tunisian, Libyan, and Egyptian Youth Leaders Participate in U.S. Department of State Exchange Program on Media Literacy
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
August 24, 2012
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs welcomes 21 youth and three educators from Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia to the United States on August 24, to participate in a three-week Youth Leadership Program focused on the theme of Media Literacy. The participants will learn about leadership development, civic education and community service through engagement with students in local high schools, encounters with civic, youth, and governmental organizations, and participation in community service activities and leadership workshops. The program is implemented by nonprofit organization World Learning.
The exchange program begins with a leadership and team building camp at World Learning’s School for International Training Graduate Institute campus in Brattleboro, Vermont. After the camp, the students will break into groups and travel to either Louisville, Kentucky or San Diego, California. In each of the cities the students will meet with local organizations to learn about civic engagement and media education initiatives. They will also live with local host families, perform community service, and attend cultural events.
The group will reunite in Washington, D.C. on September 12, to learn how the State Department interacts with media at home and abroad, and to draft plans for service projects they will implement in their home communities.
For more information, please visit http://exchanges.state.gov/youth/programs/ylp.html
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
August 24, 2012
The U.S. Department of State, in partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), announced today that C.J. Watson of the Brooklyn Nets and former WNBA All-Star Chamique Holdsclaw will travel as Sports Envoys to Senegal August 24-28. This exchange program sends current and retired professional athletes and coaches overseas to conduct clinics and team-building activities as well as to engage youth in a dialogue on the importance of education, positive health practices, and respect for diversity.
In Senegal, Watson and Holdsclaw will hold several co-ed basketball clinics to engage underserved youth in the cities of Dakar and Thies; attend a high school basketball tournament; and participate in an event marking the 10th anniversary of SEEDs, a Senegalese NGO using sports to promote education that was founded by Amadou Gallo Fall, NBA Vice President, Africa.
Through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Division, the U.S. Department of State conducts sports exchange programs to engage youth worldwide. Since 2005, SportsUnited has sent over 220 U.S. athletes to more than 50 countries to participate in sports envoy programs, including over 40 NBA and WNBA players and coaches.
On Monday, August 27th at 10:30 a.m. local time, Watson and Holdsclaw will participate in a press conference in Dakar, Senegal.
For more information, please visit http://exchanges.state.gov/sports/index.html.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Office of the Press Secretary
The White House
August 23, 2012
The President and Acting Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn spoke today. President Obama conveyed his condolences on behalf of the American people to the people of Ethiopia for the country’s loss. President Obama also noted that Prime Minister Meles made significant contributions to Ethiopia’s development and to peace and security in the region. President Obama underscored the commitment of the United States to continuing in our partnership with Ethiopia, and urged Acting Prime Minister Hailemariam to use his leadership to enhance the Ethiopian government’s support for development, democracy, human rights and regional security.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Office of the Press Secretary
The White House
August 21, 2012
It was with sadness that I learned of the passing of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. Prime Minister Meles deserves recognition for his lifelong contribution to Ethiopia’s development, particularly his unyielding commitment to Ethiopia’s poor. I met with Prime Minister Meles at the G-8 Summit in May and recall my personal admiration for his desire to lift millions of Ethiopians out of poverty through his drive for food security. I am also grateful for Prime Minister Meles’s service for peace and security in Africa, his contributions to the African Union, and his voice for Africa on the world stage. On behalf of the American people, I offer my condolences to Prime Minister Meles’ family and to the people of Ethiopia on this untimely loss, and confirm the U.S. Government’s commitment to our partnership with Ethiopia. Going forward, we encourage the Government of Ethiopia to enhance its support for development, democracy, regional stability and security, human rights, and prosperity for its people.
Monday, August 20, 2012
The White House
August 20, 2012
The United States welcomes today’s convening of Somalia’s New Federal Parliament. This marks an important milestone in completing the Roadmap to End the Somali Transition. We commend the people of Somalia for their hard work and unwavering commitment to a better future, and urge those remaining Somali communities that have not yet nominated their members of parliament to do so with urgency. We also call on all communities to work to increase the participation of women in the Parliament and other leading national institutions, now and in the future, as called for in the Provisional Constitution.
We look forward to Parliament expeditiously completing all remaining tasks. Parliament must now quickly adopt rules of procedure and hold elections for Speaker and then President. The United States reminds Somali leaders of their responsibility to the people of Somalia to fulfill their obligations to immediately end transition. Any attempt to impede the political transition will not be tolerated. All parties must work in a fair and transparent manner and will be held accountable for any failure to do so.
Today’s convening of a new Parliament marks another step towards ending instability and restoring governance. The United States will continue to work with the international community, regional stakeholders, and the people of the Somalia to promote transparency, good governance, and development to achieve a better future for the people of Somalia.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
August 16, 2012
On August 15, the U.S. Department of State, Department of the Treasury, and U.S. Agency for International Development convened a one-day meeting between a ministerial delegation from the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and major international donors and financial institutions in Washington, DC. The meeting, which included participation from the U.K., Norway, European Union, the United Nations Development Program and United Nations Mission in South Sudan, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the African Development Bank, focused on the South Sudan economic and humanitarian situations, and implementation of the oil agreement made with Sudan earlier this month.
The South Sudanese delegation made a comprehensive presentation on their economic situation and their ongoing austerity and reform measures, and the participants agreed to work together to help South Sudan address short term financial issues as it prepares to resume oil production.
Women From 6 African Countries Participate in U.S. Department of State and espnW Inaugural Global Sports Mentoring Program
Department of State
August 16, 2012
Today the U.S. Department of State and espnW announced the final line-up of mentor organizations and emerging leaders participating in the first-ever Global Sports Mentoring Program. The program will connect 17 emerging international women leaders with leading American women executives in sports-related fields for a three-week mentorship in the United States. The emerging leaders hail from Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Macedonia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Tajikistan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
During this program, leading American women executives will share their expertise in sports, business and leadership with the international emerging women leaders. This year’s mentors were selected from the following entities: Burton; Colavita; ESPN; Gatorade; LPGA Foundation; NCAA; Procter & Gamble; Saatchi & Saatchi; Stanton & Company; Under Armour; University of Oregon; USA Gymnastics; U.S. Olympic Committee; Women in Cable Telecommunications; and the Women’s Sports Foundation.
This collaboration between the U.S. State Department and espnW, which is conducted in coordination with the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society, aims to use sports as a vehicle to expand opportunities for women and girls worldwide.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and ESPN President John Skipper announced this program in June. The mentoring program is a cornerstone of the Department’s broader Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative, which aims to increase the number of women and girls worldwide who are involved in sports. It builds on Secretary Clinton’s vision of “smart power,” which embraces the full range of diplomatic tools—in this case mentoring and sports—to empower women and girls and foster greater understanding. Click here to learn more.
Click here to read the fact sheet on the U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program.
Department of State
August 15, 2012
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of the Gabonese Republic on the 52nd anniversary of your independence this August 17.
Your leadership and commitment to environmental protection and conservation, including the recent ivory burning, sends a strong and important message to the world about the role we all play for the future of our environment. We applaud your efforts toward greater regional cooperation on environmental issues, such as hosting the Central African Wildlife Trafficking Workshop in April. The United States will continue to work with Gabon to help diversify your economic potential, ensure security in the Gulf of Guinea, and expand trade between our nations.
As you celebrate this special day, know that the United States stands with you as a partner and friend. Congratulations and best wishes for continued peace and prosperity in the year ahead.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Department of State
August 13, 2012
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of the Republic of Congo as you celebrate 52 years of independence this August 15.
Our two countries have enjoyed a close friendship, working together on many issues from improving transparency, to combating trafficking in persons, promoting environmental stewardship, and enhancing regional security.
I want to send my deepest condolences to the Congolese people for the explosions in Brazzaville in March this year that resulted in loss of life and property and the displacement of thousands of citizens. We look forward to the return of all internally displaced people to safe and permanent homes. And we remain committed to supporting the Republic of Congo in its efforts to make that a reality.
As you celebrate your independence day, know that the United States stands with you as a partner and friend. We look forward to working together to ensure peace and prosperity for all people in the Republic of Congo.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
The White House
August 11, 2012
President Obama sent a Presidential Delegation to Ghana to attend the State Funeral of President John Evans Atta Mills on Friday, August 10, 2012. The delegation was led by the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State.
Members of the Presidential Delegation:
The Honorable Donald Teitelbaum, United States Ambassador to the Republic of Ghana
The Honorable Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
General Carter F. Ham, Commander, United States Africa Command
Mr. Grant T. Harris, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, National Security Staff
The late President led Ghana from January 7, 2009 to July 24, 2012.
August 10, 2012
In the first three quarters of FY 2012, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) approved a historic $1.5 billion in financing to support U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa, surpassing the previous record of $1.4 billion for the entire year in FY 2011.
The increase was driven by export growth in several sectors, including machinery, vehicles and parts, commodities and aircraft. Two of the top markets for U.S. exports in the region are South Africa and Nigeria, which are among Ex-Im Bank’s nine key country markets.
“Proportionately, Ex-Im Bank supports more U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa than it does to the world at large. Last year, we financed 6.7 percent of U.S. exports to this region. With this new record in sub-Saharan authorizations already achieved in FY 2011, we are on target to increase that percentage,” said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is a priority region because many countries have strong prospects for long-term economic growth and infrastructure development. We want to help more U.S. exporters increase their sales to this emerging region,” he added.
In 2012, Ex-Im Bank expanded its cover policies in four sub-Saharan African countries: Cameroon (opened for long-term in the public sector), Ethiopia (opened for short-term and medium-term in both the public and private sectors), Tanzania (opened for long-term in the public sector) and Angola (opened for long-term in the private sector). The cover policies changes were approved by the Bank’s board of directors, following upon country-risk upgrades determined through an interagency country-risk review process.
Ex-Im Bank Chairman Hochberg, Vice Chair Wanda Felton and Bank staff conducted a business-development mission in sub-Saharan Africa from August 6 – 10, visiting South Africa and Mozambique. The trip included participation in the U.S.-South Africa Strategic Dialogue with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Pretoria on August 7.
On August 7, Chairman Hochberg signed a Declaration of Intent with the Industrial Development Corp. of South Africa Ltd. (IDC), indicating Ex-Im Bank’s interest in financing up to $2 billion of U.S. technologies, products and services to South Africa’s energy sector, with an emphasis on clean-energy technologies.
Recent Ex-Im Bank success stories in sub-Saharan Africa:
In April, Ex-Im Bank authorized a $37.2 million loan guarantee to support the export of U.S. road-construction equipment and related services by Hoffman International Inc. in Piscataway, N.J., to the Republic of Cameroon. Ex-Im Bank is guaranteeing a medium-term loan from Societe Generale in New York, N.Y., to Cameroon’s Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development. The financing will support the purchase of 150 new and used machines produced by U.S. manufacturers that include Mack Trucks Inc., Terex Corp., Caterpillar Inc. and Grove US LLC.
In June, Ex-Im Bank approved a $7 million loan guarantee supporting the export of dredging equipment and spare parts from Dredging Supply Co., in Reserve. La., to Japaul Oil and Maritime Services PLC in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Ex-Im Bank is guaranteeing a medium-term loan from RB International Finance (USA) LLC in Bethel, Conn., to Japaul Oil and Maritime Services for the purchase of the equipment. The foreign buyer’s primary business is oil and maritime services in the upstream segment of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
The U.S. exporter, Dredging Supply Co., specializes in manufacturing custom-designed, portable dredges for a variety of uses. The company has a total of approximately 125 employees at its facilities in Reserve, La.; Poplarville, Miss.; Greenbush, Mich.; and Stoneboro, Pa.
About Ex-Im Bank:
Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. In the past five years, Ex-Im Bank has earned for U.S. taxpayers $1.9 billion above the cost of operations. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.
Ex-Im Bank approved $32.7 billion in total authorizations in FY 2011 — an all-time Ex-Im record. This total includes more than $6 billion directly supporting small-business export sales — also an Ex-Im record. Ex-Im Bank’s total authorizations are supporting an estimated $41 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 290,000 American jobs in communities across the country. For more information, visit www.exim.gov.
August 10, 2012
United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk today released a statement following President Barack Obama’s signature into law of legislation that makes critical amendments to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Central America – Dominican Republic – United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).
“By signing this important legislation into law today, the President is ensuring job protection for thousands of textile and apparel industry workers in the United States, Africa and Latin America,” said Ambassador Kirk. “I am proud to say that this bill passed with immense bipartisanship in both the House and the Senate last week. I commend Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle for coming together to support American jobs and strengthen our relationship with these key U.S. trading partners. The Administration looks forward to working with AGOA stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic to grow the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship by taking full of advantage of this and other provisions of AGOA.”
Specifically, the bill extends until September 2015 the third-country fabric provision of AGOA, which will enable the continuation of duty-free access into the U.S. for qualifying apparel exports from sub-Saharan Africa. This provision was due to expire at the end of next month. It would have been detrimental to many workers and apparel producers in sub-Saharan Africa had Congress and the Administration not acted to renew it. The bill also adds South Sudan to the list of sub-Saharan African countries that might become eligible for AGOA benefits once it meets eligibility criteria.
In addition, the bill provides for several technical amendments to CAFTA-DR. Among them is one that ensures that all sewing thread used in CAFTA-DR qualifying garments must originate in Central America, the Dominican Republic or the United States. Prior to this legislation, there was a loophole in the Agreement that allowed for a type of sewing thread to originate in other countries, like China. This amendment eliminates that loophole and, therefore, provides job protection for thousands of American apparel and textile workers.
Friday, August 10, 2012
August 9, 2012
Well, thank you very much, Mr. President, and those were extremely kind and generous words. But I appreciate that you know how committed the United States and the Obama Administration is to our partnership with your country. We consider it absolutely vital, and through our bi-national commission, which, as you mentioned, has helped us to expand and deepen our cooperation on a full range of issues, we are working on economic matters, the improvement and the productivity of agriculture, education and health, security, the diversification of your economy, and so much more.
We intend to remain very supportive on your reform efforts. Thank you for mentioning the work we did together on the elections. We’re also very supportive of the anticorruption reform efforts, more transparency, and the work that you and your team is also championing, because we really believe that the future for Nigeria is limitless. But the most important task that you face, as you have said, is making sure that there are better opportunities for all Nigerians – north, south, east, west – every young boy and girl to have a chance to fulfill his or her God-given potential. And we want to work with you and we will be by your side as you make the reforms and take the tough decisions that are necessary.
So thank you, Mr. President, for this meeting. (Applause.)
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Abdel Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council, shakes hands with wartime Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril
Office of the Press Secretary
Department of State
August 9, 2012
I want to congratulate the Libyan people on the seating of the democratically elected General National Congress. Less than one year after an entrenched, brutal dictatorship, the Libyan people are writing a new chapter in their history. This parliament has important work ahead as it faces the challenges of building democratic institutions and ensuring the drafting of a new constitution through a transparent process, protecting the universal rights of all Libyans, promoting accountable and honest government, and establishing security throughout the country. The United States stands ready to work with the Libyan people during this historic time.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Photo courtesy of Embassy of Chad website
August 7, 2012
On Monday, July 30, 2012, 3 new African Ambassadors presented their Letters of Credence to President Obama at the White House.
The Ambassadors are:
* His Excellency Maitine Djoumbe, Ambassador of the Republic of Chad
* His Excellency Cheikh Niang, Ambassador of the Republic of Senegal
* His Excellency Akec Khoc Aciew Khoc, Ambassador of the Republic of South Sudan
The presentation of credentials is a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington.
Department of State
August 7, 2012
The United States is pleased to announce its third contribution this fiscal year toward the 2012 operations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). With this contribution of more than $41 million, the United States is providing to-date approximately $720 million to the organization, including more than $100 million toward emergency appeals for vulnerable populations from Syria, Sudan, and Mali. These contributions are funded through the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, and help advance UNHCR initiatives worldwide.
U.S. funding will support protection and life-saving assistance as well as refugee repatriation, local integration, and resettlement. U.S. funding supports the provision of water, shelter, food, healthcare, and education to refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other persons under UNHCR’s care and protection in countries such as South Sudan, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Chad, Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon.
The most recent contribution will support UNHCR’s Annual and Supplementary Program activities listed below:
* Africa $25.4 million
* Syria Regional Response Plan $9.6 million
* Global Operations $1.5 million
* Headquarters $2.8 million
* Asia and Pacific $1.9 million
We continue to salute the vital work of UNHCR, its many partner non-governmental organizations (NGO), and refugee-hosting countries in providing protection to displaced populations around the world.
 The U.S. contribution to UNHCR’s Global Operations support a number of efforts including UNHCR’s work with IDPs, strengthening local NGO capacity, and child protection activities.
Hilton Sandton Hotel
Johannesburg, South Africa
August 6, 2012
Thank you very much. Thank you all very much. Well, it is a great honor to be here. Thank you for those kind words, Donna. I am delighted to see such a great turnout for this very important event, which I think holds such great promise to strengthen the ties between our two countries; to deepen our investment, trade, business, and commercial relationship; and to establish a pattern of doing so. So first and foremost, I want to thank the U.S. Chamber and AmCham for convening this summit.
I also very much want to express appreciation to our ministers from the Government of South Africa. They both are well known to anyone who understands the importance of the role that government plays in what we call economic statecraft. There has to be a partnership, a public-private partnership. And both the ministers are very committed to making that partnership work inside South Africa and then, on behalf of South Africa, with the rest of the world. So Minister Davies and Minister Peters, thank you so much for taking your time to address this group.
I also want to thank Scott Eisner, Vice President of American Affairs at the U.S. Chamber. We’ve worked very closely with the Chamber over the last several years to really give substance to the economic statecraft agenda. And I’m grateful for the partnership that we have developed.
I also want to acknowledge my colleagues in government, some of whom you, I’m sure, already met, probably you have heard from or will hear from: first and foremost, the Under Secretary that works with me every single day, Under Secretary for economics and business issues in the State Department Bob Hormats; the Under Secretary of the Commerce Department, Under Secretary Sanchez; the head of the Ex-IM Bank, Fred Hochberg; the CEO of OPIC, Elizabeth Littlefield; the USTDA Director, Leocadia Zak; and others who are on their teams.
We’ve really tried to forge a U.S. Government team and get over some of the barriers that sometimes stand in the way of doing that between various agencies because I think it’s important that we all be pulling in the same direction, kind of like that winning South Africa rowing team. It would’ve been hard if they’d been pulling in different directions. We’ve enjoyed watching your athletes. We were not happy about the outcome in the race beating Michael Phelps, but other than that – (laughter) – we give you a lot of credit for the showing.
I know I’ll see some of you tomorrow as part of our Strategic Dialogue between Foreign Minister Mashabane and myself, but I want to thank each and every one of you for your partnership and your participation. We are working closely together because we think in the global economy as we see it today, it’s imperative to do so. It’s not a nice thing to do; it is absolutely required if we’re going to be creating jobs and opportunities for people in both of our countries. There are many examples here of the opportunities that do exist. Some of you already do business in South Africa. Others are looking to start or expand.
I particularly want to emphasize the role of small and medium-sized businesses because all too often it’s just easier to deal with the large companies in both of our countries. They’re organized, they’re focused on exporting, and really the small and medium-sized businesses need extra attention as part of this public-private partnership. So I commend you for looking in that direction as well.
This is the sixth country I have visited on this trip. And though each country in this fabulous continent is unique, I have delivered one consistent message, and that is we want sustainable partnerships in Africa that add value rather than extract it. And one of the ways we are building those partnerships is to look to enhancing and strengthening the ties between American businesses and African businesses because, as we look across Sub-Saharan Africa, we see enormous economic growth even as the global economy continues to struggle. Seven of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies are in this region. And these emerging markets present enormous opportunities not only for the people themselves, who we hope will benefit because of inclusive, broad-based prosperity arising from growth, but also for American businesses who have a lot to offer.
And there’s no place that illustrates that more than here in South Africa. Our countries enjoy a $22 billion annual trade relationship, by far the largest across the region. And over the next two decades, South Africa will be – as you just learned from the prior session – making big investments in infrastructure, which will create massive new opportunities for American businesses in energy, transportation, and communications technology, which means more jobs here and more jobs back in the United States.
I particularly want to highlight an initiative we announced at Rio+20 to focus on, through OPIC, assisting the development of energy capacity in Africa. It’s a special fund that we are really intent upon using, and we invite you to speak with the OPIC representatives who are here to learn more about it.
I think it’s important to place our relationship on the business side into the broader context. We believe strongly in working with the Government and the people of South Africa on a broad range of issues. We think that this country’s potential is truly unlimited. And some of what you’re doing here is already serving as a model elsewhere. It’s important that we continue to engage in this dialogue, not once a year but on an ongoing basis. And we stand ready to do that.
I look forward to learning more about the outcomes of your discussions at this gathering because what I think we have to look to is not only helping our own businesses and yours be more competitive, grow, create jobs, but then how we translate economic growth into opportunities for people, particularly those who still need to be given a chance to work themselves and their families out of poverty. Economic growth is a great and important necessary goal, but it also needs to be linked to the kind of progress we want to see not only across our nations but truly across continents and the world. That’s what we have the potential to do because we are learning how to not only do government better, being held more accountable, more responsible for what we do, producing more and better results, but that’s what businesses are going through as well. We can’t just expect that what we did yesterday is going to work today, let alone tomorrow. And as we go through this process, we have a tremendous opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of literally millions of people.
So thank you for participating in this first-ever U.S.-South Africa Business Partnership Summit. I hope out of it comes not only some specific ideas we can work with you on following up with individual companies between government agencies, but also relationships, because I think that is the way that we not only have to grow trust and understanding, but it truly is the foundation for whatever we can expect to see as positive outcomes of meetings like this.
So again to the ministers, thank you very much. To our colleagues in government, to representatives from both South Africa and American businesses, thank you for attending this very timely and important meeting.
Thank you all. (Applause.)
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Remarks by Secretary Clinton at a Meeting With the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and Civil Society
August 4, 2012
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, let me say how pleased I am to be meeting with representatives of the Kenyan Elections Commission and civil society at such an important time in the history of this great country.
I’ve had the opportunity already today in my meetings with the President and the Prime Minister, with the Chief Justice and the Speaker, to discuss the importance of a credible, transparent, free, and fair election process. The Kenyan people have demonstrated a great commitment to their own democracy, most recently with the successful referendum on the new constitution.
But we know that there are challenges, and this is the opportunity to meet those going forward. Not only is this important for the people of Kenya, but the eyes of the world will be on this election. And I have absolute confidence that Kenya has a chance to be a model for other nations, not just here in Africa but around the world.
On the other hand, the unrest that can result from a disputed election has a terrible cost, both in lives lost and in economic impact. The instability that followed the last election cost the Kenyan economy, by most estimates, more than one billion dollars. So it’s essential for government and civil society to work together. And of course, the Elections Commission has a special responsibility to ensure that the votes and aspirations of the people are reflected accurately and fairly.
And so I’m here today to listen and learn what the United States can do to support these very important efforts. We are committed to our partnership. We are proud to be a partner and a friend of Kenya, and we want to continue doing all we can to help this country continue its path forward.
So with that, I’ll take maybe one or two questions.
MODERATOR: The gentleman over here, by the camera.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, sir.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. My name is (inaudible). (Inaudible) Chinese influence? And second question is (inaudible) will you come to terms?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Can I come what?
QUESTION: To terms.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Terms. Come to terms. Well, on the first question, the United States has a long history in Africa, working with countries on behalf of democracy and human rights, on behalf of healthcare and education, on economic development. We have signature programs like the African Growth and Opportunity Act, like the PEPFAR program for HIV/AIDS, for the Feed the Future program to improve agricultural output. Our emphasis has always been on supporting the lives of individuals and the democratic aspirations of people. So that is the value of what we try to offer. So what we’re interested in is how to be the best partner and friend. And that’s what I’m doing here in Kenya. We had a series of very comprehensive and constructive meetings today on a full range of issues that are important bilaterally between us, but also regionally and globally.
Of course, what happens in the elections is up to the people of Kenya. They’re the ones who will make the decisions. But we, as a partner and friend, are certainly hoping that this election, which is a complex election – there are many different ballot positions that will all be voted on the same time – goes so smoothly that everyone is so proud the next day because of what has been achieved, and that people who are unsuccessful – remember I’ve been in politics. I have won elections and I have lost elections. And when you lose an election and when your supporters see you lose and election, it’s important that they have to see that the process was fair. And that’s what we hope for here for our friends in Kenya.
MODERATOR: I think Matt had a question.
QUESTION: Yes, I do. Madam Secretary, you know – as you know, the South Sudan and Sudan have come to an agreement on oil (inaudible). I was wondering a) what do you think about? And also B) what would constitute similar success from your visits to Uganda? Would that be – what would that be, (inaudible) in the way of success and also (inaudible) hunt for Joseph Kony? And then again, (inaudible) that kind of success?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I welcome the agreement on oil reached between the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan. This agreement reflects leadership and a new spirit of compromise on both sides. And I particularly praise the courage of the Republic of South Sudan leadership in taking this decision.
As I said in Juba yesterday, the interests of the people of South Sudan were truly at stake. The oil impasse has lasted more than six months. It was time to bring it to a close for the good of the people of South Sudan and their aspirations for a better future amidst the many challenges they face there, a nation that’s only one year and a few days old. And they have to turn to educating their people, providing healthcare, establishing strong democratic institutions.
And South Sudan’s leaders, led by President Salva Kiir, have really risen to the occasion, for which they deserve a great deal of credit. They tabled a bold, comprehensive proposal in the latest round of talks and an agreement was hammered out with the strong assistance of the African Union. And I think it’s to the great benefit of South Sudan and to Sudan.
Regarding your second and third questions, it is a great privilege and pleasure for me to be traveling as I am this week throughout Africa, meeting with a lot of old friends and meeting new people who are committed to the futures of their countries.
Clearly, we are very focused on the international hunt for Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army that has caused so much terrible damage and violence over so many years, and we had very good discussions with the Uganda People’s Defense Force on that. And we also covered a range of issues in my long conversation with President Museveni that we will be following up on.
And similarly here in Kenya, we’ve had very comprehensive discussions on economics, on humanitarian issues, the refugee issues, the very important contributions that Kenyan forces are making to AMISOM, to the work we’re doing in agriculture and so much else.
And now I’m looking forward to hearing from the Elections Commission. Thank you all.
Office of the Press Secretary
The White House
August 4, 2012
I welcome the announcement by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel of an agreement between Sudan and South Sudan on oil revenue. This agreement opens the door to a future of greater prosperity for the people of both countries. The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan deserve congratulations for reaching agreement and finding compromise on such an important issue, and I applaud the efforts of the international community which came together to encourage and support the parties in finding a resolution. In particular, I am grateful for the work of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, led by President Thabo Mbeki, for its determined and skilled leadership in bringing about this agreement. I am also encouraged by the announcement of a possible agreement on humanitarian access to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and urge the immediate implementation of this agreement to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance to people in these areas.
The United States will continue to support efforts to advance a lasting peace for the people of Sudan and South Sudan. I encourage the parties to build on the momentum created by these breakthroughs to resolve remaining border and security issues.
Department of State
August 3, 2012
The State Department is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to lead a business delegation of approximately 10 senior U.S. executives to Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town, South Africa from August 6-8, 2012. The mission is in conjunction with Secretary Clinton’s travel to South Africa for the annual U.S.-South Africa Strategic Dialogue meeting.
The trade mission is one facet of the Department of State’s economic statecraft policy which harnesses the tools and forces of global economics to advance our diplomatic agenda. The mission showcases our commitment to highlighting investment opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in infrastructure.
A key component of the trade mission is the U.S.-South Africa Business Summit in Johannesburg on August 6, a 200-person event that will feature remarks from business executives and senior U.S. and South African government officials. In addition, the Secretary will meet with the business delegation, senior government officials from the Republic of South Africa, and senior representatives from the South African private sector as part of the U.S.-South Africa Strategic Dialogue.
Confirmed business delegates include senior executives from Black & Veatch, Boeing, Chevron, EMD/Caterpillar, FedEx Express, GE, Symbion, Trimble, Wal-Mart, and Zanbato. The heads of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im), and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) as well as Under Secretary of State Hormats and Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Sánchez are participating in the mission.
South Africa is the leading market in Africa for American goods, and the United States is both an important export market and a source of foreign direct investment for South Africa. Expanding and deepening this vital economic relationship helps to grow businesses, increase exports, and create jobs in both countries. The U.S. government is committed to assist and facilitate trade and investment through its existing programs and advocacy both in the United States and through its embassies and missions in South Africa and throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Department of State
August 5, 2012
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Cote d’Ivoire as you celebrate your Independence this August 7.
The United States and Cote d’Ivoire share a strong friendship and longstanding partnership. In my visit to Abidjan in January, I witnessed firsthand your efforts to work towards national reconciliation, good governance, and economic recovery. The United States is committed to support your government’s continued efforts to improve the lives and future of the Ivoirian people through democratic rule and transparent and accountable institutions.
As you celebrate this special day with family, friends and loved ones, know that the United States stands with you and we look forward to even greater cooperation in the years ahead.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
August 2, 2012
Earlier today, I spoke with Kofi Annan and thanked him on behalf of the United States for his service as the UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy for Syria. Five months ago, he took on the heavy task of trying to bring an end to the killing of civilians in Syria and to forge a path toward a peaceful political transition and an inclusive, representative post-Assad Syria. He worked tirelessly to try to build consensus in the international community, end the bloodshed, and usher in a government that would meet the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. Unfortunately, the Security Council was blocked from giving him key tools to advance his efforts.
I wish Kofi Annan well in his future endeavors. To the Syrian people: the United States continues to stand with you and we remain committed to an effective and swift political transition as envisioned under the Annan framework.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
University of Cheikh Anta Diop
August 1, 2012
Good morning. It is such an honor and a pleasure for me to be here, and let me begin by thanking the Foreign Minister. We are very proud that you were educated in part in our country, and we are very pleased to see you in this position. And I thank you for quoting one of my favorite sayings and admonitions about what we are to do with our time on this earth. And I am grateful to you, Foreign Minister Cisse.
Let me also thank President Ndiaye for that warm welcome to this distinguished university. I have been looking forward to being here, a place that has trained so many of the leading citizens of Senegal and of West Africa, and to have this opportunity, joined by a broad cross-section of Senegalese society – government officials, religious leaders, members of the business community and civil society, young people and students, everyone representing the rich mosaic of democracy in Senegal.
I have many fond memories of my first trip to Senegal with my daughter, Chelsea, in 1997. And already last night and today, I have met people who I met for the first time during that visit. I met so many impressive and courageous men and women working to improve rural health, to protect the health of your girls, to be on the forefront of developing the economy. Even then, 15 years ago, I felt the promise and the potential that you were realizing, and I was so excited.
I remember going to Goree Island, I remember a memory of the darkest chapter in our long shared history, and feeling such despair at what human beings are capable of doing to one another, but then meeting with people who were committed to a future of hope and promise. When I went back to the White House, I told my husband he had to go to Senegal. And occasionally, husbands listen. (Applause.) So the very next year, I came back with him. Over 12 days, he took the longest trip to Africa by any American president yet. And he met with peacemakers and entrepreneurs, with students and statesmen and women. And here in Senegal, Bill talked about an African renaissance. Standing on Goree Island, he said, “As certainly as America lies over the horizon behind me, so I pledge to the people of Africa that we will reach over this ocean to build a new partnership based on friendship and respect.” And he followed through. (Applause.)
He followed through on that pledge with initiatives like the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which began opening U.S. markets to African goods, beginning to shift the focus of our relationship from aid to trade. His successor, President George W. Bush, first visited Senegal and other African nations in 2003. And he too was committed to deepening the partnership between our nations. Under President Bush’s leadership, the United States launched two landmark programs – PEPFAR to fight HIV/AIDS, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation to link our assistance with improvements in governance and accountability.
And then President Obama, a son of both Africa and America – (applause) – advanced and personalized America’s commitment in his historic 2009 speech to the parliament in Ghana. He laid out a vision for our relationship designed to build strong institutions embedded in democracy. As he memorably said, “Africa doesn’t need strong men. It needs strong institutions.” (Applause.) I certainly think Senegal has proven that to be true. (Applause.)
President Obama also acknowledged that historically, Western powers had too often seen Africa as a source of resources to be exploited or as a charity cause in need of patronage. And he issued this challenge to Africans and Americans alike: Africa needs partnership, not patronage. And we have tried to build on that challenge. And throughout my trip across Africa this week, I will be talking about what it means, about a model of sustainable partnership that adds value rather than extracts it. That’s America’s commitment to Africa.
The Obama Administration’s comprehensive strategy on Sub-Saharan Africa is based on four pillars: first, to promote opportunity and development; second, to spur economic growth, trade, and investment; third, to advance peace and security; and fourth, to strengthen democratic institutions. Our partnership with Senegal embodies all four of those pillars.
First, when it comes to development, we are building on the progress of programs like AGOA, PEPFAR, and MCC, and incorporating the lessons learned over the past decades. We are pursuing what is called country ownership of development. That means a nation’s own efforts to lift your own people out of poverty, improve health and education, grow your economy, are led, planned, and ultimately implemented by your own government, your own communities, your own civil society, your own private sector.
Now, I know that in some quarters, the phrase “country ownership” raises questions. Some worry that it means donors are supposed to keep money flowing indefinitely while a handful of unaccountable ministers pick and choose how to spend it, or conversely, that it is code for abandoning our partners. Still others fear that country-owned really means government-run, freezing out civil society and the private sector.
Well, I think it is fair to ask these questions, because like many donors, the United States has not always done the best job promoting and explaining what we mean. But as I travel across Africa, I will be highlighting progress we’ve made in translating that phrase into reality. For example, when I am in South Africa, we will be announcing that South Africa will be taking over the management of their HIV/AIDS programs that treat nearly 6 million people a year. The United States has been a partner and a donor, and we continue to provide assistance, but the South African Government and people have said, “This is our issue that we must address with our people.”
Here in Senegal, we are working in the MCC agreement and with USAID to make sure we are responsive to the needs that we hear about from our experts and yours. So when I visited a health center this morning, I saw what we were doing to work with you about malaria and tuberculosis, but I also heard that what Senegal needs is more help with maternal mortality and health for mothers, more help with child survival and increasingly more help as every country in the world with chronic diseases, like diabetes and hypertension. So rather than us sitting in the United States, in Washington, in our office buildings deciding what Senegal needs or wants, we are determined to work with you to listen, to learn, and then to produce results together. (Applause.)
Now, we also believe that good governance and political will matter. Sustainable development hinges on political leaders making good choices to fight corruption and to create jobs, to prioritize investments in health and education, to put in place fair tax systems, transparent budgeting, and other responsible measures. And I heard from the President in our very constructive, comprehensive meeting earlier today about the steps that he is taking in every one of these categories. Because this goes beyond the portfolios of health or development ministers. It takes leadership from the top. And so I raised these issues with prime ministers and presidents, also with civil society, also with the private sector.
But ultimately, in a democracy such as Senegal’s, the decisions should lie with the people, with people exercising their rights of citizenship to get the kind of services that you know you need for yourselves and your families. We welcome President Sall’s focus on transparency and accountability in government and on independence for the judiciary. We believe his plans to boost agricultural production and reform land ownership rules will be very important. We also wish to help him fulfill his pledge to resolve the long-running conflict in the south. (Applause.) And we are committed to help in every way with the prosecution of former President Habre of Chad. All of these commitments are important ones that speak to the kind of government and country that Senegal is and intends to be. And the United States stands ready to help, as a partner and a friend.
The foundation for our investments in Senegal is a $540 million Millennium Challenge Compact, one of the largest in the world. Here is what it is intended to do based on the very tough competition that Senegal had to go through in order to receive this grant. It is helping Senegal improve roads, build bridges, irrigate some 90,000 acres of farm fields, make it easier for farmers to get their products to market. In addition to that, this year, the United States Agency for International Development is investing $19 million to build schools and train teachers, $17 million to strengthen the food supply, $55 million to improve public health. I saw the public health money in action at that health center this morning, because what I saw was a well-organized plan that put in one place the services that people will need. Now, that may sound obvious to you, but Senegal is leading in this area. Too many countries still have health services scattered all over. So if you’re a pregnant woman who goes for a checkup, but who also wants to get a bed net for malaria protection, you have to go two different places. But at this health center based on the model that Senegal is building, it’s more efficient, and it produces results faster. Working together, Senegal has driven child mortality down by 40 percent over the past five years. But there is still more work to be done.
The second pillar of our strategy is spurring economic growth, trade, and investment. Trade between the United States and Senegal rose 20 percent last year. We are really beginning to make progress, but as I told the President, we know there’s more we must do to get that number even higher. The IMF recently reported that Senegal’s democratic resilience has positioned you to achieve long-term growth, and the United States wants to be part of your success. Indeed, we believe – (applause) – that if you want to make a good investment in the midst of what is still a very difficult global economy, go to Africa. In Africa, you have seven of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world.
But too many businesspeople around the world don’t know that. So we’re going to do more to try to make sure businesses and investors in the United States know about the opportunities in Senegal and elsewhere across Africa. (Applause.) But in order to be meaningful, it’s not just the numbers and the statistics that count. Growth needs to be translated into widely shared prosperity. It will not be a success if a small group of people get richer. What you want to see is sustainable inclusive growth over the long term. And I will be making that point everywhere I stop.
We’re encouraging greater economic integration between regional neighbors. If one looks at Sub-Saharan Africa and you look at the barriers to growth, many of those are the barriers that exist between and among neighbors. If countries and regions of Africa traded as much between themselves as countries in Latin America or Asia do, growth would even be faster. So how can we work with you, with your businesses, with your governments to try to create more integration to fuel faster economic growth? We’re also working with resource-rich nations to help make sure that their mineral and energy wealth actually improves the lives of their citizens. The days of having outsiders come and extract the wealth of Africa for themselves leaving nothing or very little behind should be over in the 21st century. (Applause.)
The third pillar is a commitment to shared security and regional problem-solving. And here, too, the United States and Senegal are working together closely, working to combat terrorism, tackling regional threats such as drug trafficking, supporting peace and security throughout the region and the world. And I especially want to applaud and thank Senegal for your contributions to peacekeeping missions from Cote d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo all the way to Haiti. I hear many compliments about the professionalization, the expertise of the Senegalese military. (Applause.) And we, for one, thank you for that.
We have also welcomed the leadership of the African Union in promoting peace, security, and democracy. The African Union sent very strong messages about Africa’s emerging norms by suspending Madagascar, Guinea-Bissau, and Mali after their coups and calling for the restoration of elected civilian governments. And I look forward to discussing the future of the African Union with its newly elected woman chair in South Africa next week. (Laughter.)
With Senegal’s participation, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has also become a leader in responding to political and security crises. ECOWAS stood up for democracy by opposing the illegitimate Gbagbo regime when it held on to power after losing the election in Cote d’Ivoire. It’s coordinating regional responses to transnational threats such as narcotics, piracy, and small arms trafficking. And we are working together to train police, prosecutors, and security forces to help strengthen the rule of law and uphold human rights.
It’s especially appropriate to emphasize the fourth pillar of our approach here in Senegal because it is the heart of the American model of partnership, and that is our enduring support for democracy and human rights, our helping other nations and people fulfill their own aspirations. By every measure, democracies make better neighbors and better partners. They are more capable of working together to solve shared challenges. They innovate more. They give people a way to devote their energies to productive political, economic and civic engagement, which reduces the allure of extremism. And open societies offer more opportunities for economic, educational, cultural, and people-to-people exchanges, which are the foundation for peace.
Now, I know there is sometimes an argument that democracy is a privilege belonging to wealthy countries, and that developing economies must put economic growth first and worry about democracy later. But that’s not the lesson of history. Over the long run, you can’t have effective economic liberalization without political liberalization. Without the rule of law, people with a good business idea or money to invest cannot trust that contracts will be honored and corruption punished, or that regulations will be transparent and disputes resolved fairly, and so many will end up looking for opportunities elsewhere, some even migrating out of their countries of origin. Last year, the World Bank reported evidence that respect for economic freedom and civil and political liberties helps explain why some countries achieve better long-term economic outcomes than others. So instead of viewing democratic reform as an afterthought, we see it as key, a key building block of sustainable development.
And if anyone doubts whether democracy can flourish in African soil, let them come to Senegal. (Applause.) Americans admire Senegal as one of the only countries in West Africa never to have had a military coup. (Applause.) And we stood firmly behind the people of Senegal as you defended your democracy and your constitution in the recent presidential elections. (Applause.) It was a compelling example for Africa and the world. We saw a handful of musicians and young activists sparking a mass movement with a simple slogan: “We’re fed up.” (Applause.) We saw diverse civil society organizations rallying together, registering and educating voters. We saw students marching in the streets proclaiming, “My voting card is my weapon.” (Applause.)
We saw soldiers and police upholding democratic principles by steering clear of politics. We saw long lines of citizens waiting to vote. We saw civil society activists monitor more than 11,000 polling stations, texting vote counts and reports of irregularities to an independent center in Dakar. We saw perhaps the most sophisticated monitoring program ever deployed in Africa or anywhere else. (Applause.) And in the end, we saw a peaceful transfer of power. We saw democracy reaffirmed. We saw Senegal’s traditions preserved. And we joined with the rest of the world in praise and respect for the Senegalese people. (Applause.)
And on a personal note, I have to add – I was particularly impressed that Senegalese voters elected women to 65 of the 150 seats in the new National Assembly. (Applause.) You probably know this, but that gives Senegal one of the highest percentage of women in directly-elected legislative bodies in the world. (Applause.) And of course, it makes perfect sense because democracies must be open to and include all of their people, men and women, not just to vote, but to have the chance to participate and to lead. And Senegalese women took a leadership role during the voting, including the Women’s Platform for Peaceful Elections, a network of more than 60 organizations. And the Situation Room, which was such an important clearinghouse – (applause) – it was such an important clearinghouse for information and activism that President Sall made it a point to visit the first day after his victory was announced.
Now sustaining this participation will be critical in the days ahead, because you know things cannot happen overnight. It takes time. But you have a leadership that you have elected that has made public commitments to the changes that you want them to make. And I know from our own work with your new leadership they are absolutely committed to see those changes happen. (Applause.) So we will stand with them and with you as you begin the hard work of translating into reality and results the rhetoric of what happens in a political campaign.
Now the resilience of democracy is being repeated across the continent. We’ve seen the restoration of constitutional order in Niger and Guinea following coups. We’ve seen credible elections in Benin, Cape Verde, Liberia, Nigeria, Zambia, and Togo over the last year alone. We’ve seen freer media, fairer justice systems, more effective legislatures, more vibrant civil societies.
Take Cote d’Ivoire, for example, which last year had to fight off a serious threat to democracy and this year is reaping the economic
rewards. The World Bank, the IMF, and the Paris Club have agreed to forgive nearly $4 million in debt – $4 billion in debt. And whereas their GDP declined by more than 6 percent in 2011 during their crisis, it’s expected to soar by more than 8 percent this year. And Cote d’Ivoire, because they are now at peace and democratic order has been restored, has been able to unlock global financing for long-delayed infrastructure projects, including new bridges, hydroelectric dams, and much more.
So democracy and peace pay off. This week, all of us join the people of Ghana in mourning the passing of President Mills, a good man and a good leader for his country. (Applause.) But we are also celebrating the smooth, peaceful, constitutional transfer of power to President Mahama. The Ghanaian people will head to the polls later this year and will have an opportunity to add another accomplishment to one of Africa’s great democracy stories.
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of attending the second inauguration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia, a country that only recently emerged from years of war and economic ruin. There were troubling signs that this last election might reignite the flames of conflict, but Liberia’s leaders and its young, democratic institutions proved strong and kept the country on track.
Now I know how hard it can be to keep faith in a democratic system when your preferred candidate or party loses an election. I’ve won elections and I’ve lost elections. I know that boycotting or obstructing is no way to advance an agenda or to solve a problem. It’s a recipe for gridlock and conflict.
I’m often asked, all over the world, how I could agree to serve in President Obama’s Cabinet after we had campaigned so hard against each other. I was trying to beat him, he was trying to beat me, and he succeeded. And I always give the same answer: Because we both love our country. (Applause.) Because that’s what democracy is all about, and that’s what patriotism is all about. And you know that here in Senegal. And we hope to see that spirit and experience take hold in many more countries in the region. Because as proud as we are to see the successful elections and the peaceful transitions, there are still too many places in this region and across the continent where democracy is threatened, where human rights are abused, where the rule of law is undermined. There are still too many Africans living under autocratic rulers who care more about preserving their grip on power than promoting the welfare of their citizens. Violent extremism, transnational crime, and rampant corruption all threaten democracy.
And we have seen some backsliding because we have seen that in less than a decade, the number of electoral democracies in Sub-Saharan Africa have fallen from 24 in 2005 to just 19 today. Now, that’s far better than it was 20 years ago, but not nearly good enough.
And here in Senegal, there are some worrisome developments in your neighborhood. In Guinea-Bissau, no elected president has successfully served a full five-year term, and this past April a military coup once again disrupted constitutional rule. And we thank Senegal for contributing troops to the ECOWAS stabilization force there. The already weak economy is collapsing. Cashew production is forecast to drop by half. But what is growing? Drug trafficking. Rampant corruption, greed, is taking over. And we see a very troubling trend, that Guinea-Bissau, unless the people of Guinea-Bissau with the help of their neighbors and the international community say no, could become a totally dependent state on drug traffickers from Latin America. What a terrible development. The President and I talked at length about what more we could do to help, and we stand ready to do so, because the people of Guinea-Bissau certainly deserve better.
Mali was, by most indicators, on the right path until a cadre of soldiers seized power a little more than a month before national elections were scheduled to be held. By some estimates, this could set back Mali’s economic progress by nearly a decade. It certainly created a vacuum in the North in which rebellion and extremism have spread, threatening not only people’s lives and the treasures of the past, but the stability of the region. And recent reports from Human Rights Watch raises concern about alleged torture and extra-judicial killings at the hands of the mutineers.
Now the interim President has returned and we encourage all parties to set aside their differences, work to restore democracy, schedule elections by April of next year, preserve the territorial integrity of the country, reject the appeals of violent extremism.
The African Union has suspended Mali, ECOWAS has imposed sanctions, the United States is holding back funding, and we’ve continued critical humanitarian assistance for programs in health and food, and we’re contributing $10 million to assist the more than 260,000 Malian refugees who have been displaced. And we’re well aware of the greater food crisis across the Sahel, and we’re getting more than $355 million to try to address the food and refugee crisis across the Sahel. I’ve also dispatched some of my top aides to work with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to go to Mali, to go to Burkina Faso, and elsewhere to assess further what the needs are. But we cannot and will not resume assistance to the government until the military accept civilian control and a democratically-elected government once again takes office.
Now, Mali and Guinea-Bissau are just two examples. There unfortunately are more. And in places where jobs are scarce and a tiny elite prospers while most of the population struggles, people – especially young people – can turn their frustrations into social, economic, and political change. That’s the right channel. But they can also be attracted to violence, to conflict, to extremism out of frustration and anger at what they see happening around them.
It is time – it is past time – for all leaders to accept accountability, to treat their people with dignity, to respect their rights, to deliver economic opportunity and services for all. As I told the African Union in Addis Ababa last summer, leaders who hold onto power at all costs, who suppress dissent to enrich themselves, their families, and their supporters at the expense of their own people, who define democracy as one election, one time are on the wrong side of history. (Applause.) We are seeing that in North Africa, and we are seeing everywhere, where people finally say, “Enough. We’re fed up.” (Applause.)
So the links between democracy and development is a defining element of the American model of partnership. And I acknowledge that in the past our policies did not always line up with our principles. But today, we are building relationships here in West Africa and across the continent that are not transactional or transitory. They are built to last. And they’re built on a foundation of shared democratic values and respect for the universal human rights of every man and woman. We want to add value to our partners, and we want to add value to people’s lives. So the United States will stand up for democracy and universal human rights, even when it might be easier or more profitable to look the other way, to keep the resources flowing. Not every partner makes that choice, but we do and we will.
I also acknowledge that some people back in the United States say we shouldn’t bother, that we should just focus on America’s immediate economic or security interests, not worry so much about the slow, hard work of building democracy elsewhere. But I think that is shortsighted. It’s not only in what we see to be the interest of the people of Senegal and elsewhere, it’s also in our interest to have strong and stable partners in the world, and democracies are by far the strongest and most stable partners. So this isn’t altruism. This is a strategic commitment to shared prosperity, to common security.
During the recent elections here, many young people and students talked of a new type of Senegalese citizen emerging – active, engaged, committed to democracy. Well, that’s the kind of partnership we want with you, and particularly with your young people. This is a young country, and this is a young continent. (Applause.) And we know that young people are now connected to each other in ways that were not imaginable just a few years ago. A young student here at this university knows what’s happening not only in South Africa, but in South Asia. You can see what other people are doing, how they’re participating, and you begin to say to yourself: What about our talent? What about our potential? What about our future? I am here to tell you we believe in the young people of Senegal and the young people of Africa. (Applause.) And we believe that talent is universal, but opportunity is not.
So what does that mean? We believe that right now somewhere in Senegal a young boy or a young girl could be a scientist that helps discover a cure for a rare form of cancer – (applause) – could be a president in 30 or 40 years, could be an entrepreneur that creates a new business that employs hundreds, even thousands – (applause) – of other Senegalese. We believe that. And we believe the best way to test that is to do what Senegal is doing, to keep doing the hard work of education, of healthcare, of development, and especially in the rural areas, of gender parity, so you don’t lose the talents of half the population of Senegal – (applause) – as you build this new future.
We want to advance your aspirations and our shared values. We want to help more people in more places live up to their own God-given potentials. We want this to be our mutual mission. That is the work we are called to do in the 21st century. It is a race, a race between hope and fear, a race between potential realized and despair imbued in every pore of one’s body. It is a race that we are in between those who believe as you and we believe, that there is an unlimited future for those who are willing to work together.
So thank you, Senegal. Thank you for what you have done in your own country. Thank you for being a model in this region, a champion of democracy, a force for peace, prosperity, and progress. And thank you for being a partner and a friend to the United States of America. Thank you and God bless you. (Applause.)
August 1, 2012
Well, I just had a very productive, comprehensive discussion with the President. I want to thank him for taking time to discuss a number of issues – economic issues, regional, security issues, issues that the United States is very committed to assisting Senegal on addressing. I will have more to say about this in my upcoming speech at the university.
But suffice it to say that the United States is very impressed and admiring of the resilience of the Senegalese people, your commitment to democracy, and we want to be a good partner and a good friend as you continue to build this important nation into one that is a model not only for the Senegalese people, but for the entire world. Thank you.
Department of State
August 1, 2012
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the Nigerien people as you celebrate the 52nd anniversary of your independence this August 3.
The United States commends the government and people of Niger for your decisive actions over the past year to consolidate and advance democratic institutions in Niger and to promote stability in the region. Your support to the influx of refugees fleeing from the turbulence in neighboring Mali is admirable, as well as the men and women who have returned from Libya.
Your commitment to advance democracy, stability and prosperity is an example for the region. The United States looks forward to continuing to work with the Government of Niger as partners and friends during the year ahead to improve the lives of all Nigeriens.
Department of State
August 1, 2012
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Benin as you celebrate the 52nd anniversary of your independence this August 1.
Both of our countries share a commitment to promoting human rights, civil liberties, and the accountability of all leaders and institutions. Benin’s strong leadership during your presidency of the African Union shows a willingness to resolve crises and create stability for your people and the rest of the continent. Your country’s continued advancement in the preservation of rule of law and a more efficient judicial system makes Benin a model of democracy in Western Africa. As the Beninese people strive to make advancements in other key areas, the United States will continue to be a partner and supporter.
As you celebrate your National Day, please know that the United States is standing with you as a partner and friend.
Office of the Press Secretary
The White House
July 31, 2012
President Obama called Mrs. Ernestina Naadu Mills of Ghana on Monday to express his condolences for the passing of her husband, President John Evans Atta Mills. President Obama expressed his admiration for President Mills’ tireless efforts on behalf of the Ghanaian people, and his efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Ghana relationship. The President also recalled his 2009 trip to Ghana and expressed his appreciation for the hospitality of President and Mrs. Mills, and for Mrs. Mills’ work on behalf of the people of Ghana. Mrs. Mills thanked the President for recognizing President Mills’ leadership, and expressed her view that the friendship between the United States and Ghana will endure.