Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Remarks By U.S. Under Sec. Tara Sonenshine At Global Youth Service Day Tree Planting

Photo courtesy of serve.mt.gov

Bole Preparatory School
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

April 28, 2013

Thank you.

Thank you Principal Daniel and Director Haileselassie. I am delighted to visit this beautiful country. It is my first trip – and I have quickly learned what Ethiopian hospitality is all about. And right now, I am going to ask two people to come to the microphone and say their names out loud. The director who organized today’s tree planting and the coordinator of the National Green Service Team project. [They say their names.]

Please join me now in showing our appreciation.

I also want to greet our Charge at the U.S. Embassy, Molly Phee, the Director of the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, Greg Engle, and all of the young people here today — the members of Tena Kebene, our Embassy youth council, the National Green Service Team, U.S. Peace Corps volunteers, African Union youth, Embassy volunteers, and everyone from our Microscholarship Access program at St. Mary’s University.

Please give yourselves a hand too.

We are here to mark two special days – Global Youth Service Day and Earth Day. If you look at the trees that are about to be planted, and all the shovels, and all of the young people, I think you can quickly understand how we are connecting these two events together.

I’d like to mention some other connections, too.

One connection is the connection between these trees and Ethiopia’s economic future as an agricultural nation. Agriculture is central to Ethiopia’s economy. It needs fertile land, smart use of technology and farmers – men and women – who understand the principle of sustainable agriculture.

Some of you spent two weeks living with local families and helping farmers to improve their erosion control methods and to introduce other technologies. Some of you will do that this year. That goes a long way towards supporting that sustainability.

Another connection is between these trees and Ethiopia’s environmental future. Both of those futures are mutually reinforcing. They strengthen each other. Here in Ethiopia, the effects of global climate change can mean life or death for farmers, as they work to support their families. An Ethiopia with more forests will help sustain this country and our planet.

There’s another connection – and this one is symbolic. It’s the connection between these young trees and all of you.

As volunteers and emerging leaders, you have demonstrated your commitment to taking charge of the future. When you plant a tree today or spend part of your summer helping farmers, you are making differences in people’s lives. And that will help other people come forward to help. That’s the power of volunteerism.

So thank you for listening to me. I look forward to hearing from you – your names, your stories, and your hopes – as we plant these trees.

Before I do that, I’d like to ask the volunteers of the National Green Society to come forward when their names are called and receive their certificates.

Family Of Late Congressman Donald M. Payne, Sr. To Establish Foundation In His Honor

For Immediate Release

April 24, 2013 (Newark, NJ) – Former New Jersey Assemblyman William D. Payne, brother of the late Congressman Donald M. Payne, Sr., announced today that a foundation was being established to carry forward the work of his internationally renowned brother. The determination to create the Donald M. Payne, Sr. Global Foundation was made by the Payne family together with a committee of individuals who worked closely with the former Congressman during the course of his lifetime.

Congressman Donald M. Payne, Sr. represented the 10th District of New Jersey and was the state’s first African American representative in the United States Congress. Upon his passing in 2012, he was succeeded by his son, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.

“Donald M. Payne was a servant to the world, particularly to youth and people who lived at the bottom rungs of society both at home and abroad. Through his work with the World Alliance of YMCAs, the United States Congress, the United Nations and around the world, he was one of the leading figures of our nation in addressing issues of conflict, health and human development,” stated William Payne.

The mission of the Donald M. Payne, Sr. Global Foundation (DMPGF) is to sustain his legacy of global humanitarianism, together with partners, by addressing health and education disparities; promoting peace and youth development; and uplifting the human condition worldwide.

Members of the Exploratory Committee include: Raymond G. Chambers, United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennial Development Goals and for Malaria; Robert Curvin, Ph.D. Distinguished Fellow, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University; Ted Dagne, Advisor to the President of South Sudan; David Harris, Esq., Partner, Lowenstein Sandler L.L.P.; Joyce Harley, J.D., Acting Vice President, Administration & Finance, Essex County College; Bernadette B. Paolo, Esq., President and CEO of The Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa; William D. Payne, New Jersey Amistad Commissioner, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr., U.S. Representative, 10th District New Jersey; John Prendergast, Co-Founder, The Enough Project; Gayle Thigpen-Allen, M.A.; David Tokoph, Chairman, Inter Air South Africa; Donna K. Williams, Orange, New Jersey City Council; former California Congresswoman Lynn C. Woolsey, Pastor Keith D. Wright, He Is Sovereign Ministries; and A. Zachary Yamba, President Emeritus, Essex County College.

African World Expo & City of Farmington Hills to Host Nigerian Trade Mission

For Immediate Release:
African World Expo

Detroit, MI – April 26, 2013 –Eniang Efiong, founder and president of the African World Expo announces the city of Farmington Hills, MI hosting the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce Trade Mission to Michigan on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. The city of Farmington Hills and its surrounding area is the hub of over 900 business establishments representing 700 foreign-parent firms. Forty-four of the leading 100 auto suppliers located in Oakland County have business locations owned by foreign parent companies. “Farmington Hills understand the value of international business collaborations”, stated Efiong. “That’s why we are extremely excited about this business forum and we are really looking forward to providing an opportunity for the Nigerian delegation to be introduced to and be able to begin meaningful dialogue with American businesses” Efiong continued.

His Excellency Bassey Archibong, ( MNI ) Ambassador, Deputy Chief of Mission, Hon. Habib Baba Habu, Consul General, Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce Executives and their members are all part of the delegation from Nigeria that will attend this event. The mission presents a unique opportunity for both Nigerian and Michigan companies to meet directly with buyers, distributors and key players that Michigan based companies need to know in order to facilitate business in the Nigerian market.

With over 170 million inhabitants Nigeria is a strong resource base, with tremendous economic growth prospects. The Nigerian governmental emphasis on investing in developing the country’s infrastructure and industry, positions Nigeria to offer significant opportunities for exports of U.S. equipment, technology and services. Nigerian leaders have embarked on programs to dramatically expand the country’s electrical energy generation capacity, improve its roads and bridges, commercialize its impressive natural gas resources, and revitalize its manufacturing sector. “A positive orientation toward US products, services and technology, makes Nigeria a market U.S. companies need to include in their international business development plans”, stated Efiong.

The Trade Mission and forum will help businesses learn about trade financial services offered by U.S. commercial banks and trade financing agencies. Information on how to enter new markets, access working capital, find buyers, establish credit and identify financial support, as well as information on protection against nonpayment, and strategies to improve cash flow.

A number of key African and United States business leaders have been invited to the forum, including Don Davis CEO First Independence National Bank, Roderick Rickman Chairman and CEO of Rickman Enterprise Group LLC International, Alan Young CPA Managing Director Alan C. Young and Associates, William Brooks CEO Brooks Enterprise, Kenneth Harris CEO Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, Donald E. Snider President Metro Business Connect, LLC, Harvey Hollins, II Director of the Michigan Office of Urban & Metropolitan Initiatives, Dr. Curtis L. Ivery Chancellor Wayne County Community College District, (WCCCD) Hon. Gary Loster Chairman, Motherland Group LLC, Mfon Oworoetop CEO, Coast To Coast, Robin Kole James, CEO Professional Medical Center, Omobonike Odegbami Provost of Professional Development, (WCCCD) African Business Chamber of Commerce Lee Green, United African Community Organizations Dr. Salewa Ola, African Caribbean Chamber of Commerce Errol Service, Nigerians in the Diaspora Organization, U.S.A. and the Nigerian Foundation of Michigan.

The forum Wednesday, May 1, 2013 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm will be held at the:
Farmington Hills City Building
31555 West Eleven Mile Road
Farmington Hills, MI 48332

The event is organized by the African World Expo in partnership with Watts Partners, Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce, Core Logistics and the Nigerian Embassy in Washington DC. For more information please contact 313-729-3765 or email awebl2020@hotmail.com

Monday, April 29, 2013

UNESCO Marks International Jazz Day 2013

Photo courtesy of www.unesco.org

Department of State
Washington, DC

April 29, 2013

April 30, 2013 marks the second annual International Jazz Day. This year’s commemoration will feature a daylong series of jazz events and a major evening performance in Istanbul, Turkey, this year’s host city. Activities will feature jazz greats including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, George Duke, Abdullah Ibrahim, Keiko Matsui, Al Jarreau, Milton Nascimento, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Miller, and Jimmy Heath.

International Jazz Day, a U.S. initiative, was established in 2011 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which noted the art form’s American origins, and described jazz as a “universal music of freedom and creativity.” Jazz has long been an important component of U.S. cultural outreach and interaction with foreign audiences. Department of State jazz programs over the last sixty years have featured such legends as Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, and many others. Jazz remains an international language, and promotes dialogue among cultures, freedom of expression, diversity, and the crucial role of youth in fostering social change.

Plans are in place for this concert to be streamed live to millions around the world on April 30 at 9:00 p.m. Istanbul time (7:00 p.m. UTC/ 2:00 p.m. EDT). Viewers can learn more about the program and join the live webcast from: https://conx.state.gov/event/international-jazz-day-2013/. Follow the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #jazzday.

For more information about International Jazz Day, please visit UNESCO’s Jazz Day webpage or jazzday.com.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

DC African Wellness Fete – Coming June 1, 2013

Washington, DC
April 26, 2013

D.C. Mayor’s Office on African Affairs Health Outreach & Education Initiative

What Is T.E.A.M. Africa?
Think. Eat. Act. Move. Africa (T.E.A.M. Africa) is a culturally targeted health engagement and education campaign designed to promote wellness, and connect the District’s ethnically diverse African communities to vital health services. From the end of February, the official launch, until June, the initiative will engage DC residents through a multi-pronged health program which combines – a) a social media awareness campaign, b) roving mini-workshops on health literacy, mental health, fitness and nutrition, and c) mobile testing and mini-resource fairs – all packaged for delivery in multiple languages and locations for effective reach into the District’s linguistically and culturally diverse communities. These efforts will culminate in an ‘African Wellness Fete’ on June 1st with a fun-filled celebration promoting individual and community health.

Who Is T.E.A.M. Africa?
T.E.A.M. Africa is part of OAA’s Outreach and Education Program initiated in partnership with a 13-member T.E.A.M. Africa Coordinating Committee made up of key stakeholders: DC government representatives, health professionals, community-based organizations and health advocates.

Mayor Gray’s Health Priorities
• Expand access to quality health care;
• Reduce HIV/AIDS infection and increase the life span of those living with HIV/AIDS;
• Reduce infant mortality;
• Improve access to healthy food – farmer’s markets, community gardens and grocery stores;
• Expanding nutrition education and increasing access to healthy foods;

T.E.A.M. Africa Health Initiative Goals
• Increase health awareness by providing necessary health screenings, activities, materials, demonstrations, and information to the District’s African community;
• Increase awareness of local, state, and national health services and resources;
• Motivate positive health behavior changes;
• Teach self-care practices;

Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce Embarks on Multi-City U.S.Trade Mission

AMIP Photo: Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, President of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce
Washington, DC
April 20 – May 3rd, 2013

The Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) has organized a multi-city U.S. trade mission for some two dozen of its members. True to her core mission the trade mission is aimed at increasing business opportunities between the visiting delegation and U.S. companies with interest in Nigeria. The delegation comprises of business executives from the agriculture, service, consulting, petroleum, construction, manufacturing, and petroleum industries.

Speaking with AMIP News during the opening session at the Nigerian Embassy chancery in Washington, DC, the President of the Chamber – Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, reiterated the need for Nigerian businesses, especially those in the private sector to diversify.

Nigerian companies represented on this trade mission include:

1. Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals, PLC
2. Tricontinental Oil Services Limited
3. Exclusive Products & Equipments Ventures, LLC
4. Fosad Consulting, LLC
5. Neo Media & Marketing
6. Adeniji Kazeem & Co. (Barristers & Solicitors)
7. Shorange Petroleum, LLC
8. Bricks Integrals Construction Company
9. Deepfort Enterprise International Ltd.
10.Brand Believers Ltd.

Mr. Olanipekun Ojo, Executive Secretary of the Chamber explained that much care was taken into putting the delegation together so that the benefits of the trip would spread across several industries.

The schedule of events planned for the delegation in Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Detroit include company visits, match making sessions, and lectures from U.S. business leaders. The delegation will end their tour on May 3rd, at the African World Expo in Detroit.

The Nigeria-American Chamber of Commerce was established in 1960, originally as the Nigerian-American Friendship Club. After 5 decades of existence and operations it has become an important pillar supporting the commercial relationship between United States of America and Nigeria.

For more information about the chamber visit http://www.nigerianamericanchamber.com

Friday, April 26, 2013

Statement by Secretary Kerry On South Africa’s Freedom Day

Department of State
Washington, DC

April 26, 2013

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of the Republic of South Africa and offer my best wishes as you celebrate Freedom Day April 27.

The partnership between the United States and South Africa is founded on a common set of principles and ideals that include democracy, respect for human rights, religious freedom, and the rule of law.

Celebrating this Freedom Day, we commemorate the remarkable progress that South Africans have achieved since the first inclusive election 19 years ago. Your successful struggle to overcome apartheid remains a testament to the power of democracy and an inspiration to people around the world who value freedom.

I commend South Africa’s progress as a nation and its dedication to the development of the African continent. The United States looks forward to continued cooperation and shared success in the future.

I offer you my best wishes on the occasion of this important anniversary and join the country in wishing President Mandela a speedy recovery.

Statement by Secretary Kerry On Republic of Sierra Leone’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC

April 26, 2013

On behalf of all Americans, I send best wishes to the people of Sierra Leone as they celebrate 52 years of independence on April 27.

We congratulate Sierra Leone on having completed last year its third consecutive series of free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections, which marks a milestone for democracy and stability in your country. The active participation by so many Sierra Leoneans in this process serves as an example for the entire world to emulate.

Together with its recent deployment of another battalion of peacekeepers, Sierra Leone is now truly an important contributor to Africa’s collective security. This day is a well-earned opportunity for Sierra Leoneans to commemorate their commitment to freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

The United States welcomes and encourages Sierra Leone’s ongoing efforts to promote open government, to combat corruption, and to strengthen investment in its people.

The United States looks forward to continued partnership with Sierra Leone as our countries work to achieve our common goals and help all Sierra Leoneans enjoy greater benefits of peace and prosperity in the coming year.

Statement by Secretary Kerry On Republic of Togo’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC

April 26, 2013

On behalf of the American people, I extend my best wishes to the people of Togo as they celebrate their independence on April 27.

In commemorating this important event, we also celebrate our long history of friendly and productive relations.

The United States welcomes Togo’s efforts as a member of the United Nations Security Council and the Economic Community of West

African States to support global and regional peace and prosperity.

We look forward to continued cooperation to promote democracy and economic growth in Togo.

Africare Honors President Obama & Dr. Mo Ibrahim at Bishop John T. Walker Gala

Africare Photo: By Stuart A. Watson (L-R) Stephen D. Cashin (Africare Interim Board Chair), Dr.Mo Ibrahim, Dr.Darius Manns (Africare CEO)

World Leaders Celebrate Legacy of African Leadership at Africare’s 2013 Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner

WASHINGTON (April 23, 2013) – Africare, the oldest and largest African-American led non-profit committed to advancing development in Africa, hosted more than 1,000 global leaders in government, business and international development on Friday at its annual Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner and fundraiser at the Hilton Washington Hotel in Washington, D.C. The gala honored President Barack Obama and Dr. Mo Ibrahim for their outstanding accomplishments and life-changing impacts in Africa.

“President Obama and Dr. Ibrahim have both played critical roles in helping to improve the quality of life in Africa,” said Darius Mans, President, Africare. “Their contributions, along with the consistent support of our sponsors and donors, are helping to provide underserved communities in every major region of Sub-Saharan Africa with access to food, technology, healthcare and more opportunity. We celebrate our progress to date, and eagerly look forward to making an even greater impact on the continent in years to come.”

President Obama was recognized for providing funds through his Nobel Peace Prize award to support the development of Africare’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Health (WASHH) Project in the Wasa Amenfi West District of Ghana, which not only improved access to clean water, but also implemented sustainable strategies for the continuation of healthy environmental water practices. President Obama’s generous contribution and support has also reinforced Ghana’s initiatives to meet their Millennium Development Goal for water by 2015.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough accepted the award on President Obama’s behalf.

“Tonight we gather to honor those who are building a better future for the people of Africa; to reflect on the progress that we’ve made; and to celebrate the legacy of Bishop Walker, a true humanitarian in every sense of that word,” McDonough said. “If we continue to encourage the forces of progress and reform, of freedom and opportunity, the people of Africa will realize a bright and prosperous future and the people of the United States will be safer and more prosperous as well. So thank you for everything that you do to promote democracy, development and peace in Africa. You have a committed partner in President Obama and the United States and we look forward to continuing our work together to open new avenues of partnership and redouble our support for the aspirations of people across the continent.”

Africare also presented Dr. Ibrahim, a renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist, with the 2013 Bishop John T. Walker Leadership Award for his work to improve leadership in Africa through The Mo Ibrahim Foundation. Dr. Ibrahim also established the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, which recognizes heads of state who demonstrate economic and social development and encourages and current leaders to practice better governance.

“I’m really humbled and so grateful for Africare’s kindness,” Ibrahim said during his remarks. “Africa is moving forward – there’s no
question about that. It doesn’t mean we are there yet. We see a great rise in the African servant society, mainly from young people and women. These two forces, I believe, are what will change Africa.”

The Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner is held each year in memory of Bishop John T. Walker, the first African-American Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C. and Africare’s longtime Board Chair. Bishop Walker distinguished himself as an exemplar of peace, justice and interracial harmony. The dinner plays an important role in enabling Africare to both broaden awareness about its work in Africa and to raise critically needed funds to deliver life-saving services. This year’s dinner is made possible by the generosity of Chevron, ExxonMobil and The Coca-Cola Company, as well as many others from the business community.

Past recipients of the Bishop John T. Walker Leadership Award include former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who received an award in 2011 for the countless contributions in trade, investment and diplomatic relations between Brazil and Africa.

About Africare
Africare is a leading non-governmental organization (NGO) committed to addressing African development and policy issues by working in partnership with African people to build sustainable, healthy and productive communities. Since 1970, Africare has provided well over $1 billion of assistance and support through more than 2,500 projects in Agriculture & Food Security; Water, Sanitation & Hygiene; Women’s Empowerment; and Health, HIV & AIDS that have impacted millions of beneficiaries in 36 countries in Africa. Visit http://www.africare.org for more information.
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Remarks by Secretary Kerry & Nigerian Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ayodeji Ashiru

Department of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC

April 25, 2013

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning. I’m very happy to welcome His Excellency, Foreign Minister Ashiru of Nigeria. We have a close association, close working partnership, and Nigeria is a very important leader within the African Union as well as the Economic Community of West African States. Unfortunately, they are facing some tough violence in the northern part of the country, which we condemn, and we join with them in helping to fight against extremism. And we’re appreciative for their support on any number of issues, from economic leadership to energy leadership, security. We have a lot of work to do and a lot to talk about. So I’m happy to welcome you here. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER ASHIRU: Thank you, Your Excellency. I’m happy to be here to meet with the U.S. Secretary of State. It’s a very important meeting for us. We appreciate the strategic partnership we have with the U.S. And we believe that as a leading country in Africa, we can bring so much in terms of the maintenance of peace and security on the continent, which we do on behalf of the UN Security Council and also the United States. There are many challenges we face in our country, which the Secretary of State has already mentioned. And we believe that with the support of the U.S., we will overcome the challenges in the not too distant future. And we hope in our meeting today we’ll be able to discuss all the areas to further improve on our bilateral relations with the U.S. The U.S. is now an important partner, and we will continue to work to strengthen the partnership we have with the U.S. I thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, sir. Thank you, my friend. I appreciate it very, very much. Now we’re going to go to work. Thank you.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

African Wildlife and Conservation Experts Explore Anti-Poaching & Anti-Trafficking Efforts in the U.S.

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC

April 22, 2013

As part of the United States efforts to combat the illegal trade in wildlife and promote conservation, 13 parks and wildlife ministry officials, field agents, and nongovernmental organization leaders from across Africa will visit the United States April 22-May 10. Wildlife trafficking continues to push some protected and endangered species to the brink of extinction. The U.S. Government is committed to tackling the problem of wildlife trafficking as a first tier foreign policy issue.

The Wildlife Conservation exchange – arranged under the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program – will launch at the Meridian International Center in Washington, DC, on the evening of April 23. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Robert D. Hormats will provide keynote remarks at the event, followed by a panel discussion with the distinguished participants. The event is open to registered members of the press. Please R.S.V.P. to publicprograms@meridian.org.

During their visit, the participants will explore the role of the U.S. Government in creating and administering policy and implementing practices in wildlife conservation and management. Site visits include the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the U.S. Park Service, as well as many nongovernmental organizations, in Washington, DC; Miami, FL; Portland and Ashland, OR; and Bozeman, MT.

The United States and its partners are committed to taking meaningful steps to strengthen global efforts to combat illegal trade in wildlife and marine products by promoting public education, capacity building, global cooperation, and increased enforcement.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Deputy Secretary Burns Delivers Remarks at World Bank’s Africa Health Forum

Dean Acheson Auditorium
Washington, DC

April 19, 2013

Thank you. Good morning. It is truly a pleasure to welcome all of you to the second day of the Africa Health Forum, and I greatly appreciate this opportunity to appear before you.

I want to thank the World Bank and Harmonization for Health in Africa for partnering with the State Department to convene this important meeting and the many distinguished ministers, bilateral and multilateral development partners, major foundations, and private sector leaders for joining us today.

I also want to thank Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Nils Daulaire, and Dr. Ariel Pablo-Mendez, Assistant Administrator for Global Health at USAID, for their support in organizing the U.S. contribution to the forum and for their exceptional work on health systems strengthening and health care finance reform.

Finally, please allow me to extend my deepest gratitude to my friend and colleague, Ambassador Eric Goosby, for his extraordinary lifelong service to public health and his commitment to the treatment and eradication of AIDS here in the United States and across the world.

We gather here today amidst a dramatic transformation of the African continent from a region once defined largely by its problems, to a region defined increasingly by its possibilities… from a region afflicted by conflict, crisis, and impoverishment to a region known more and more for its economic growth, expanding democratic governance, and enhanced health and human development.

Rwanda, a country devastated by genocide less than two decades ago, is today on track to meet many of the Millennium Development Goals – life expectancy has doubled, maternal mortality and annual child deaths more than halved, and deaths from HIV, TB, and malaria have dropped by 80%.

In Ghana, economic prosperity and good governance have not only led to improved health outcomes, but also important innovations in health care delivery and education that are having an impact across the region.

As the continent evolves, and as governments take on greater leadership and responsibility for their own future, the nature of assistance and cooperation from the international community should evolve as well – from a donor-recipient relationship to more of a partnership.

This partnership – based on principles of country ownership, shared responsibility, and mutual respect – allows donors and partner countries to better meet the needs of the country’s population. Where transparency, good governance, and accountability are enshrined in law and in practice – our joint investments will yield more effective, more efficient, and ultimately more sustainable outcomes.

This is why sustainability and shared responsibility are two foundational principles of President Obama’s Policy Directive on Global Development and our global health diplomacy strategy.

Let me say just a few words about each.

First, to ensure that the results and significant investments we have all made to-date are durable, governments – in partnership with civil society and the private sector – should lead, implement, and eventually pay for all aspects of their health system. Partnership between Ministries of Finance and Health are critical and I am very pleased to see ministry representatives from over two dozen African countries here today.

It is this kind of dialogue that has made possible the significant transitions underway in health assistance programs across Africa, from Namibia – where thousands of PEPFAR-funded essential health care workers are now fully financed by the Government of Namibia, to Ethiopia – where U.S.-selected partners are providing technical assistance and cooperation to local partners instead of directly implementing programs themselves.

None of us are under any illusion that these transitions are easy or risk-free. But you have shown that they are possible. And this is why we must be systematic about capturing lessons from recent successful transitions from donor dependence to country ownership, just as we continue to benefit from lessons learned in transitions in family planning that began several decades ago and documented by colleagues from USAID and UNFPA present here today.

Second, the decision to elevate shared responsibility to the core of our policy approach was conscious and deliberate. The only way we can eradicate polio, reach the goal of an AIDS-free generation, eliminate the effects of neglected tropical diseases, roll back malaria, and end preventable maternal and child deaths, is if we do it together.

Our commitment to global health remains strong. Indeed, President Obama’s budget request for a $1.65 billion contribution to the Global Fund in fiscal year 2014 maintains our historically high level of support.

Consider the enormous progress in combating HIV in South Africa.

Over the last decade, the United States provided $3.2 billion to support South Africa’s fight against this epidemic. Through our joint efforts and mutual investments, millions of South Africans received treatment for HIV, and the rate of mother-to-child transmission plummeted to 2.7%. And today, South Africa is increasing its investments so that locally generated revenues are replacing hundreds of millions of dollars in external financing for antiretroviral therapy and other elements of the AIDS response.

This vision of strengthened country capacity, leadership, and ownership, is also driving the signing of more than 20 Partnership Framework agreements that bring together governmental and nongovernmental partners around a strategy to combat HIV/AIDS. And the strategy is working.

In Zambia, when the government introduced an innovative, evidence-based program and doubled its budget for antiretroviral drugs, the United States was able to provide an additional $30 million in funding. And today, through joint investment and collaboration, the number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment each year, exceeds the number of people infected with HIV, putting Zambia solidly on the path to an AIDS-free generation.

We need to sustain and accelerate this positive momentum. To do so, it is vital that we translate the conversations here in Washington into actions in your respective capitals. To better support your efforts, we will be sure to share the results of this forum with our Ambassadors, Mission Directors, and their teams at our missions across Africa.

Like all of you, I have no illusions about the challenges ahead, but I remain optimistic about Africa’s future. The work all of you are doing — day in and day out — to deliver improved health outcomes across the continent only reinforces that optimism, and that sense of possibility. I want to thank all the participants at this meeting and our development partners from around the world for all that you do. I wish you every success over the rest of the day, and in the months and years ahead.

Thank you.

Statement by Secretary Kerry On Republic of Zimbabwe’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC

April 18, 2013

On behalf of the American people, I send best wishes to the people of Zimbabwe as they celebrate 33 years of independence on April 18.

The United States congratulates Zimbabwe on creating and approving a new constitution through a peaceful referendum. We hope this year brings further political progress and prosperity.

We look forward to continuing our friendship with the Zimbabwean people to achieve our shared goals of peace, security, and prosperity.

U.S. Makes Important Break In Boston Bombing Case; Suspect #2 Captured

Pictured, from left, are: FBI Director Robert Mueller; Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; Attorney General Eric Holder; Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken; and Vice President Joe Biden. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Friday April 19, 2013

Following Monday’s bombings in Boston during the Patriots Day Marathon, President Obama today met with members of his national security team in the Situation Room of the White House to discuss developments in the investigation. President and Mrs. Obama travelled to Boston on Thursday for an interfaith service. While there the President told the victims’ families, government officials, community leaders and first responders at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston Thursday. “We may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we’ll pick ourselves up. We’ll keep going. We will finish the race,”

Today, one of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26 is dead while the other Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19 is in custody. Federal and local law enforcement agencies concluded a massive manhunt in Watertown Massachusetts, where he hid for a full day in boat in the backyard of a resident.

The Boston Marathon is run on Patriots’ Day every year, so the holiday is referred to as “Marathon Monday” by many Bostonians. On Monday April 15, 2013, at approximately 2:50 PM EDT (18:50 UTC), 04:09:43 since the start of the 117th running of the race, two bombs were detonated near the finish line, killing 3 and injuring over 180 people. Several nationalities participated in the marathon.

Patriots’ Day is a civic holiday commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. These were the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. It is observed on the third Monday in April in Massachusetts and Maine (once part of Massachusetts), and is a public school observance day in Wisconsin.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Yves Bollanga of Cameroon -Televising African Home Entertainment in the U.S.

Yves Bollanga, Founder & General Manager, Afrotainment Television Channels
By Farai Gundan @FaraiToday
Contributor Forbes.com

Sub-Saharan Africans are quietly but steadfastly establishing themselves as one of the most dynamic and entrepreneurial groups in the U.S. According to Nielsen, they represent an estimated 4 million people earning between $45,000 and $75,000 a year. Their projected combined spending power is estimated at $300 billion. This is a fast growing ethnic group and US-based, Cameroonian born Yves Bollanga wants a piece of that pie, a big piece!

The former IBM engineer is building an ambitious family of television channels currently reaching over 21 million households and growing. He is at the vanguard of bridging the cultural gap amongst all the Black communities by bringing Afro-Caribbean content to mainstream America, one TV channel at a time. “There is an unfulfilled demand for Black content on TV in North America. Our vision is to produce and broadcast Afro-centric original content to as many devices and households as we possibly can.” explained Bollanga.

A serial media entrepreneur, Bollanga founded his first company AB ROLL, a video production house in Tours, France in 1995. In 1998, with his childhood friend, Constant Nemale (founder of Africa24, a 24/7 African News channel based in Paris, France), he created Telesud, the first Pan-African television channel currently available throughout Europe and Africa. In 2005, under Bollanga’s leadership, Telesud launched in the U.S on DISH, the second largest U.S satellite operator with over 14 million subscribers. In 2008, with his longtime Pakistani-American partner Shafquat Chaudhary, they formed Soundview Africa and launched Afrotainment Movies on DISH, a general entertainment channel broadcasting African movies (mainly Nollywood, the second largest movie industry in the world in terms of number of movies released), series, realities and talk shows. With Soundview Africa, Bollanga’s goal was to create a company whose core business is to edit, broadcast and distribute Afro-centric multi-platforms television channels. Afrotainment Movies quickly became the premier platform for watching Nollywood movies on TV in the U.S.

“Afrotainment was created to act as a cultural bridge amongst all the Black communities: Caribbean, Black American, Black Hispanic, mixed racial heritage or African immigrants,” commented Bollanga from Afrotainment’s 7,000 square feet, state-of-the-art, HD studio in Orlando, Florida. Afrotainment also operates out of a 32,000 square foot digital broadcast center in New York City in collaboration with Soundview Broadcasting, a leading distributor of Bollywood and South-East Asian content.

In 2009, the second channel, Afrotainment Music, launched on DISH as a 24/7 music channel showcasing popular African music genres. Afrotainment Music resonated with the younger generation quickly due to the high quality music videos from popular Afro-Caribbean artists. “We wanted to capture the young audience early with music content while they are still in college and make sure they remain loyal viewers once adults,” Bollanga said. In 2011 the third channel, Afrotainment Plus launched on cable via Optimum Cablevision in the nation’s largest concentration of African-American/Black: New York. Afrotainment’s fourth channel: TV9ja, launched on DISH the same year targeting the vibrant Nigerian community.

In 2012, the fifth channel, Afrotainment HD targeting mainstream Black America, launched on Roku, the leading streaming platform in the U.S with over 5 million customers. Afrotainment sixth nationwide channel, Africa Box Office(ABO), a 24/7 Afro-Caribbean movie channel launched the same year on DISH. Explaining the challenges of concluding carriage agreement in the U.S, Bollanga said “we presented our channels and strategy to the leading Multi-Service Operators in the U.S, only Charles Ergen and his dedicated executives and marketing team recognized early on the potential of the African market especially the up-selling opportunities and cross-over appeal to the 41 million African-Americans”.

The bullish investment moves show that Bollanga and his team are serious about capturing a large chunk of the Black TV market share in the US. They currently produces 55% of their HD content in-house and their catalog boasts over 1000 hours of HD content, 1500 Afro-Caribbean movies and over 40 different Afro-Caribbean TV series. Bollanga declined to disclose the amount that he invested in Afrotainment as its principal owner, but acknowledged his company has yet to generate profits. “Television is a capital intensive endeavor. It takes well over $10 to $20 million just to turn the switch on, assuming you have the broadcast infrastructure in place. However, what is important to us, is that the Afrotainment family of channels is bringing value to the greatly underserved African-American/Black communities we represent and serve in the U.S.”


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

MCC Partners With Coca-Cola Africa Foundation to Expand Access to Clean Water

March 22, 2013

Washington, DC — The U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) announced today a partnership with The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) to help expand access to clean water and sanitation in Africa. The partnership will help leverage MCC investments and enhance sustainability and impact. The MCC and TCCAF partnership will work together in the West African nation of Cape Verde.

Cape Verde is an extremely water-scarce country that faces a number of challenges in the water and sanitation sector. Part of MCC’s five-year $66 million compact with Cape Verde will implement crucial water sector reforms and will invest in infrastructure to expand access to clean water and sanitation. This $41.1 million Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project (WASH Project) is designed to establish a financially sound, transparent and accountable institutional basis for the delivery of water and sanitation services to Cape Verdean households and businesses across the country. The project’s approach to improving sector performance is based on a three-pronged strategy: (i) reforming national policy and regulatory institutions; (ii) transforming inefficient utilities into independent corporate entities operating on a commercial basis; and (iii) improving the quality and reach of water and sanitation infrastructure.

“Our cooperation with The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation is the perfect public-private partnership to leverage MCC investments in this critical sector. The Government of Cape Verde is undertaking serious policy reforms to strengthen the water sector, and this partnership is proof that they are taking the right steps to attract further private sector investments,” said MCC Resident Country Director Kenneth Miller.

The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation has pledged, through the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), to significantly invest alongside MCC’s effort in order to help up to 20,000 low-income households gain access to the water network, providing proper sanitation as well as hygiene education for thousands of people. As the implementing partner, MCA-Cape Verde is coordinating with Cavibel, the local Coca-Cola bottler, to maximize the impact of the partnership.

RAIN is the signature community initiative of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. Backed by a six-year, $30 million commitment by The Coca-Cola Company—in partnership with not-for-profit, humanitarian and government donors working nationally and internationally—RAIN’s goal is to provide more than two million people in Africa with access to drinking water by 2015. RAIN seeks to implement at least one water project in each African country, and the foundation’s partnership with MCC will now enable RAIN to enter Cape Verde, its 31st country out of the continent’s 55 countries.

To date, MCC has invested $2.1 billion in water-related projects in 20 partner countries. Half of this amount is for projects that improve drinking water supply, sanitation and hygiene, with the remaining amount supporting improved water productivity and integrated water resources management.

For more information about MCC and its programs around the world please visit www.mcc.gov.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Tunisian Ambassador Presents Letters of Credence at the White House

Photo courtesy of www.leaders.com.tn

Office of The Press Secretary
The white House
Washington, DC

April 15, 2013

President Obama today received Letters of Credence from the new Tunisian Ambassador to the U.S. Mohktar Chaouachi at the White House.

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


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rev. Jackson Attends Swearing In of Kenya’s new President, Uhuru Kenyatta

Picture Source: Daily Nation
From Nima Elbagir, CNN

Nairobi, Kenya (CNN) — Kenya swore in its youngest-ever president Tuesday before a massive crowd, including numerous heads of state and American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.

Uhuru Kenyatta became the country’s fourth president after a prolonged election dispute that ended up in the Kenyan Supreme Court.
Tens of thousands of people packed a Nairobi stadium Tuesday to watch the inauguration. Jackson, a former U.S. presidential candidate, attended the festivities as a private guest.

Kenyatta, the 51-year-old son of Kenya’s founding leader, won the election with 50.07% of the vote. His chief rival, Raila Odinga, won 43.31% of the vote. Odinga challenged the outcome in court, saying it was flawed and marred by technical problems.

After the court upheld Kenyatta’s election, Odinga offered the president-elect his congratulations. “The court has now spoken,” Odinga said. “I wish the president-elect and his team well.”

Political Dynasty
Kenyatta and Odinga are the sons of the nation’s first president and vice president, respectively — stirring memories of a political dynasty that dates back to the 1960s.
Their fathers started out as allies in the quest for Kenyan independence from Britain. But the elder politicians’ relationship ended in bad blood when founding President Jomo Kenyatta forced out his vice president, Jaramogi Odinga, following a series of disputes.

A New Opportunity For Kenya
Despite controversy over the recent election results, the mutual acceptance by the two sons could help restore the nation’s image as a bastion of stability after disputed election results in 2007 led to bloody chaos.
In that election, more than 1,200 people were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced after Odinga disputed the results, which showed incumbent President Mwai Kibaki as the winner.
At the time, supporters of both candidates battled in the streets with crude weapons, not in court.

Complicated Relations
But the upholding of Kenyatta’s victory raises the prospect of complicated diplomatic ties with the West. The International Criminal Court has indicted him for allegedly funding a local militia that conducted reprisal attacks in the last election in 2007. His running mate, William Ruto, also faces ICC charges at The Hague, in the Netherlands. Both have denied the charges and have said they will cooperate with the court to clear their names. Clashes kill 2 in Western Kenya after election verdict

Beyond Borders
Kenya is East Africa’s biggest economy and a crucial trade route into the rest of the continent. It provides an important buffer of stability in a region that includes the fledgling Somali government and the politically tense Sudan and South Sudan. Kenya is also a major U.S. ally in the war against Islamist militants in the region and has remained relatively peaceful amid civil wars in neighboring nations.
CNN’s Faith Karimi contributed to this report.

Millennium Challenge Corp. CEO Daniel W. Yohannes Travels to Tanzania and Senegal

April 7, 2013
Washington, D.C.

Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO Daniel W. Yohannes will travel to Tanzania and Senegal from April 7 to 17 for a series of meetings with high level officials and beneficiaries around milestone events in the Tanzania and Senegal development programs.
In Tanzania, Mr. Yohannes will mark the upcoming completion of MCC’s $698 million compact, which invested in roads, water and energy. From April 10 to 12, Mr. Yohannes will travel to Zanzibar, Tanga and Dodoma to attend official ceremonies marking the completion of several MCC-funded projects relating to energy and road transportation. MCC’s five year compact with Tanzania will close in September of 2013, but the results of MCC’s investments can already be seen as Tanzanians benefit from improved roads and access to electricity.

In Zanzibar, Mr. Yohannes will attend the completion of a new MCC-funded power transmission cable that links Zanzibar to the mainland’s electric grid, expanding power services to Zanzibar and creating opportunities for private-sector investment. In Dodoma, Mr. Yohannes’ visit marks the completion of 833 kilometers of power transmission and distribution lines in communities that now have access to electricity, enabling students to study and expanding critical social services like health centers.

Mr. Yohannes will also travel to Tanga, where an MCC-funded highway now connects the cities of Tanga and Horohoro and opens northeast Tanzania to increased commerce.

Mr. Yohannes will meet with President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and President Mohammed Shein of Zanzibar to discuss the ongoing partnership between MCC and Tanzania, which was deemed eligible to develop a second compact in December of 2012.

Mr. Yohannes will then travel to Senegal from April 15 to 17, where he will inaugurate MCC’s work on the RN6 highway and bridge in the Kolda region. MCC’s $540 million investment in Senegal targets road rehabilitation and improved irrigation and water management, and the RN6 highway and Kolda bridge represent almost one-third of that investment. MCC plans to rehabilitate at least 256 kilometers of highway, reducing travel time and increasing regional trade.

While in Senegal, Mr. Yohannes will meet with President Macky Sall. The CEO also will meet with American and Senegalese private sector and donor community leaders, which will offer an opportunity to discuss follow-on investments to MCC’s work in Senegal.

Monday, April 8, 2013

President Obama Issues Statement on the 19th Anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide

Office of the Press Secretary
The White House
Washington, DC

April 7, 2013

Nineteen years ago, Rwanda was torn apart by a great evil. Today, we stand with the people of Rwanda to commemorate the Rwandan genocide. We honor the victims, and we express our solidarity with the survivors. More than 800,000 men, women, and children were killed in a wave of brutal violence, and countless others continue to live with the pain and trauma of their loss. Today, as the United States grieves with the Rwandan people at this moment of remembrance, we are inspired by their spirit as they build a more peaceful and prosperous tomorrow. We look with you to the future and renew our commitment to human rights and the rule of law, to the protection of the vulnerable, and to the prevention of atrocities so that such evil is never repeated.


United States to Host South Sudan Economic Partners Forum April 16

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC

April 5, 2013

The United States Government, in coordination with the Governments of the United Kingdom, Norway and the European Union, will host a South Sudan Economic Partners Forum in Washington on April 16, 2013, to discuss the economic and fiscal challenges facing South Sudan and how the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, together with partner nations and international financial institutions, can best address them.

These governments and international financial institutions, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank, are working with the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to explore concrete options to help bridge the fiscal gap exacerbated by the oil shutdown of the past year, as well as plans to diversify South Sudan’s economy to allow for sustainable long-term growth.

The South Sudan Economic Partners Forum is an opportunity for representatives of governments and international financial institutions to discuss strategies to address South Sudan’s economic challenges with South Sudanese Government officials and offer support for sound government policy-making.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Statement by Secretary Kerry On Republic of Senegal’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC

April 3, 2013

On behalf of all Americans, I send best wishes to the people of Senegal as they celebrate 53 years of independence on April 4. We congratulate Senegal on having completed last year yet another series of free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections, marking another milestone for improved governance and transparency in your great country. Senegalese civil society distinguished itself in its active participation in the democratic process, and serves as an example for all of Africa.

The United States and Senegal share many binding ties: our respect for human rights and the rule of law, our commitment to democracy and religious diversity, and our goal for economic opportunity.

The United States looks forward to playing an even stronger role as a close friend and ally in achieving our common goals and helping all Senegalese enjoy greater benefits of peace and equality in the coming year.

Monday, April 1, 2013

U.S. Issues Statement On The Presidential Election In Kenya

President-Elect Uhuru Kenyatta displays the certificate when Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declared him the winner of the country’s presidential election on March 9, 2013.
Photo courtesy of in2eastafrica.net

Office of the Press Secretary
The White House

March 30, 2013

On behalf of the President and the people of the United States, we congratulate Uhuru Kenyatta on his election as president of Kenya. We also congratulate the people of Kenya on the peaceful conduct of the election and commend Raila Odinga for accepting the Supreme Court’s decision. We urge all Kenyans to peacefully accept the results of the election. The electoral process and the peaceful adjudication of disputes in the Kenyan legal system are testaments to the progress Kenya has made in strengthening its democratic institutions, and the desire of the Kenyan people to move their country forward.

Now is the time for Kenyans to come together to fully implement the political, institutional, and accountability reforms envisioned in the Kenyan constitution. Kenya is an important member of the international community. We welcome and wish to underscore the importance of Kenya’s commitment to uphold its international obligations, including those with respect to international justice.

For 50 years, the United States and Kenya have been strong partners. Our relationship is based on a shared commitment to democracy, security, and opportunity. The United States remains committed to our long-standing partnership with the Kenyan people.