Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Girls STEAM Camp to be Launched in Rwanda

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
December 11, 2014

The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships (S/GP) announced today a new partnership with Girl Up, Intel, Microsoft , and the Rwandan Girls Initiative, and the support of the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI), to launch a girls STEAM camp to advance and expand STEM opportunities to young African girls. The “Women in Science and Innovation” or “WiSci” camp is set to take place in summer 2015 in Rwanda and will promote the advancement of women and girls in STEM education and STEM careers.

The STEAM acronym is derived from the traditional STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, while additionally incorporating the fields of Art and Design for creative and innovative engagement. The goal of this new partnership is to empower young women with the knowledge and skillset to be competitive during a time of rapid technological development, by providing them with access to high-tech resources, like-minded peers, business connections, and inspiring mentors.

The 2015 pilot WiSci camp will bring together over 100 African and U.S. girls for a three-week session on computer science, robotics, entrepreneurship, and design, taught in highly personalized small classes. The participants will partake in cultural exchanges, receive specialized training in STEM fields, and build leadership and entrepreneurial skills. The camp will also have a mentorship component to assist participants in obtaining internships and securing scholarships for college.

The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships hopes to foster greater participation of women and girls in STEM-related fields through this new camp, launched in coordination with the office’s existing LIONS@FRICA partnership. The initiative responds to Department-wide priorities articulated at the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leader Summit, under the theme of “Investing in the Next Generation.” These commitments recognize that it is essential to engage and mentor young leaders and invest in the human capital of future generations.

For more information on the WiSci Girls STEAM Camp, visit http://www.state.gov/s/partnerships/ppp/wisci/.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Asst. Sec. Thomas-Greenfield Travels to Ethiopia for African Union Summit

File Photo
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
January 26, 2015

Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield will lead the inter-agency U.S. observer delegation to the African Union’s (AU) Twenty-Fourth Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union and its related side events in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 27-31. During her visit, she will also hold bilateral meetings with senior Ethiopian leaders.

In addition to Summit events, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield will meet with senior officials from AU member states and the AU Commission, as well as allies and international partners, to discuss the range of issues and challenges in Africa today.

Our observer delegation reflects our enduring commitment to the U.S.-AU strategic partnership established in the January 2013 Memorandum of Understanding. It also underscores the U.S. commitment to intensified cooperation to advance shared security interests, as well as our common goals to increase prosperity for the United States and African countries and to advance the dignity, well-being, and freedom of our people.

U.S. Issues Statement on the Adoption of the Compromise Electoral Law in DRC

Jen Psaki
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 25, 2015

The United States welcomes the Parliament of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s approval of electoral legislation that sets the country on course towards timely elections in line with its Constitution. We applaud the efforts of the National Assembly and the Senate to reach consensus and ensure that presidential elections happen no later than December 2016. Parliament’s action today reflects the will of the Congolese people and upholds the DRC constitution. We urge President Kabila to expeditiously sign the electoral legislation as passed by the Parliament and reaffirm that Congo’s first peaceful transition of power will take place through presidential elections in 2016‎. We also call upon the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) to release a global electoral calendar promptly that is in line with Parliament’s action and the Constitution.

The actions the DRC Parliament has taken today, along with President Kabila’s expected signature, represent critical, albeit initial, steps towards national elections in 2016 and what could be the DRC’s first peaceful transfer in power in its almost 55 years since independence. We encourage all Congolese stakeholders, including the government, opposition, and civil society, to use this opportunity to undertake a peaceful, transparent, and inclusive dialogue about the electoral process moving forward. The United States stands ready to support the DRC in this process.

Secretary Kerry’s Remarks to the Press in Lagos, Nigeria

State Department Photo
Secretary Kerry Addresses Reporters After Urging Both Major Nigerian Election Candidates to Respect Results from Upcoming General-Election Vote

Remarks at a Press Availability in Lagos, Nigeria

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Lagos, Nigeria
January 25, 2015

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good afternoon, everybody. I am really delighted be here in Nigeria. And I was just admiring the extraordinary view and this wonderful location. I’m particularly pleased to be here at this particular moment, just a few weeks before one of the most important elections that this country has held. And this will be the largest democratic election on the continent. Given the stakes, it’s absolutely critical that these elections be conducted peacefully, that they are credible, transparent, accountable, so that the people of Nigeria can have faith and the world can have faith in the government that flows from it.

So I came here today to deliver a very simple message, and I met with both major candidates in order to underscore that the international community is paying very close attention to this election and that the international community is deeply committed to working with Nigerians going forward with the hopes that they will have an election that is free of violence and capable of instilling confidence in the future.

I was at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this weekend where I delivered a speech about the need for a long-term, comprehensive global effort to combat violent extremism, and to address the underlying causes before that extremism takes root. The unfortunate truth is that Nigerians know as well as anyone how desperately that kind of effort is needed. Day after day, the group that calls itself Boko Haram continues to kill scores of innocent civilians and attack villages and military installations in places like Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states. The United States condemns these attacks which have escalated in recent weeks. And we extend our deepest condolences to the thousands of families that have been impacted, and we deeply regret the toll that this violence has taken on the Nigerian people. We will absolutely continue to support the Nigerian military in its fight against Boko Haram. And as I said in Davos, all of us must work together to advance a strategy that will not only stop groups like Boko Haram, Daesh, and al-Qaida, but that will address the environment from which these groups emerge.

We were very happy to see the Government of Niger host a regional security ministerial meeting last week to discuss how to better coordinate counterterrorism efforts. This is exactly the kind of thing that I suggested is necessary in the comments that I made a couple of days ago. It is very important that the world cooperate more in helping countries where they want to and where they don’t the full capacity to be able to step up and take on lawless terrorist entities.

That is precisely why President Obama has announced that next month in Washington we will host an international summit on combatting violent extremism around the world. It will be held at the WH and at the State Department, it will be at the ministerial, and we hope to bring people together who have been engaged in these fights against the Boko Harams and other entities so we can share best practices, so that we could hear from people about what they need and what they think is necessary in order to be able to summon an even stronger global response.

The fact is that one of the best ways to fight back against Boko Haram and similar groups is by protecting the peaceful, credible, and transparent elections that are essential to any thriving democracy, and certainly, essential to the largest democracy in Africa. It’s imperative that these elections happen on time as scheduled, and that they are an improvement over past elections, and they need to set a new standard for this democracy. That means that Nigerians have to not only reject violence but they have to actually promote peace.

I met with President Jonathan earlier today and separately with General Buhari, and I was encouraged to hear once again from both men that this is exactly what they intend to do to try to press for an election that can be held with the credibility the people of Nigeria want and deserve. As President Jonathan said in his New Year’s message, none of our political ambitions is worth the blood of any of our countrymen, women, and children. And as General Buhari recently tweeted, electoral violence is unacceptable, and every Nigerian life is sacred. Both candidates have also signed on to the so-called Abuja Accord, which commits them to running exclusively issue-based campaigns, refraining from violence before and during and after election day, and speaking out against any violence that does emerge.

These are commitments that we need to see from everyone and they are commitments that need to be kept. Many people are stepping up. For example, Chairman Jega and the thousands of independent national election commission employees are taking concrete steps in order to guarantee that this election is successful. We also urge all of Nigeria’s governors to call for peaceful democratic engagement among their residents, and we ask all parties and all candidates to do the same.

And I would say to everybody that no matter what the outcome, if you have a question, if you have a doubt, if there is someplace where issues may have arisen, it is absolutely vital that whatever differences may exist be resolved through legitimate channels, through the legal channels, which are fundamental to the democratic process. And I urge all of Nigeria’s candidates to do what is best for their country no matter the outcome on election day.

I want to emphasize that for the United States, Nigeria is an increasingly important strategic partner. Nigeria has a critical role to play in the security and prosperity of this continent and beyond. We are committed to helping the electoral process succeed, and last week we sent an electoral security advisor in order to support INEC’s efforts to advise on security concerns and to help develop a risk mapping tool to prepare for any violence that might emerge.

So let me be clear: Anyone who participates in, plans, or calls for widespread or systematic violence against the civilian population must be held accountable, including by ineligibility for an American visa. Violence has no place in democratic elections, and I can guarantee you that the perpetrators of such violence would not be welcome in the United States of America. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and one of the world’s largest democracies. It is blessed with some of the planet’s most valuable and abundant natural resources. Conducting accountable, credible, peaceful elections will help put the Nigerian people on a path to prosperity and regional leadership that is needed in order to address a wide range of challenges in this part of the world, including, obviously, violent extremism.

With this election, Nigeria has an opportunity to put an indelible stamp on the kind of future that Africa wants to see and most importantly that Nigeria wants and deserves. I want to reiterate what President Obama recently said, that he, I, and the American people stand with you as Nigeria’s great democratic exercise unfolds. And we stand ready to work with the Government of Nigeria, the Nigerian people, and whomever they elect next month continue – to continue building on the important partnership that we share.

And with that, I would be delighted to take a couple of questions.

MODERATOR: Our first question comes from (inaudible).

QUESTION: Could you give us a bit more of a response to these attacks by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria and how concerned you are about this (inaudible)?

QUESTION: And can you also give us a bit more of a sense of what concrete steps the U.S. is prepared to take with the Nigeria to fight Boko Haram? Because it has been a concern within the Pentagon about the capability or the commitment of the military to fight Boko Haram. And finally, could you give us sense from here that Boko Haram’s kind of spreading to other parts of Africa and aligning (inaudible) the Islamic State or other terrorist groups?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, let me take the last part of your question first. There’s no specific declaration by Boko Haram of an affiliation with Daesh, but there is evidence that Daesh is making an effort to spread its tentacles throughout a number of countries in the northern part of Africa, and it is obviously a concern that they may try more aggressively to try to spread to countries in the center and southern and other parts of Africa.

The United States is deeply engaged with Nigeria. And I’ve seen the articles that refer to some of the problems with respect to that engagement. Everybody’s heard certain criticisms that have been made. Some of them are just flat-out inaccurate. For instance, we do continue to share intelligence with the Nigerian military and intelligence folks. We do cooperate in many ways. We don’t believe that the level of support provided by the United States or the international community is the limiting factor in the Nigerian Government’s ability to fight Boko Haram.

And with respect to the military assistance that we’re delivering, we are currently helping the Nigerian – helping Nigeria to increase the capability of its military; to improve its counter-incident explosive detection and civil-military operations capacity; and to carry out responsible counterterrorism operations. Now, does it always well as work – work as well as we would like or as well as the Nigerians would like? The answer is no. There are developmental issues in that relationship and in those efforts. But the United States maintains a very significant level of military cooperation with various elements of the Nigerian security forces.

And we’re also providing law enforcement assistance, including by training Nigerian law enforcement officials on counterterrorism investigations and post-blast investigations and crisis management. Right now, we have a team of Nigerian Government crisis management officials in the United States who are participating in a senior crisis management exercise. We have provided equipment and training for the Nigerian intelligence fusion center. And most recently, we’ve worked with Nigeria’s neighbors Cameroon, Chad, and Niger to develop institutional and tactical capabilities that will increase the joint efforts between our countries in order to be more effective.

So bottom line, we want to do more. And that was part of my message to both President Jonathan and General Buhari today. We are prepared to do more, but our ability to do more will depend to some degree on the full measure of credibility, accountability, transparency and peacefulness of this election. And one of the principle reasons that President Obama asked me to come here at this moment is to reinforce to all Nigerians the desire of the United States to be able to engage even more so in the effort to push back against Boko Haram or any other violent extremist group, but the quality of the democratic process is important to contributing to our ability to do so. And that’s exactly why I’m here today.

MODERATOR: Our last question is from Victor Asije of the News Agency of Nigeria.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) and welcome to Nigeria.


QUESTION: Are you confident that President Jonathan and General Buhari can be held to their promises – promises they made to you, (inaudible), credible elections, (inaudible) that the U.S. (inaudible)? The other question is this: Now, even after the (inaudible) that the U.S. (inaudible) to discriminate against people from West Africa (inaudible)?

SECRETARY KERRY: Can you repeat the last part? The U.S. is likely to discriminate?

QUESTION: That the U.S. is likely (inaudible) to discriminate against people from West Africa who are (inaudible)?

SECRETARY KERRY: No, I – let me answer that first. I’m personally very proud, and I think every American is very proud, of the extraordinary efforts the United States has made in order to combat the Ebola disease. President Obama made a remarkably courageous and critical decision right up front, when people didn’t know all – publicly, certainly – all of the potential dangers. But when he, by virtue of his briefings and his understanding through his medical advisors, had a strong sense of what was possible, the President committed 4,000 U.S. troops to go to Liberia immediately in order to begin to build the capacity to fight Ebola. We worked extremely closely with our friends and allies, the French and the British particularly, but with many other people – Japan, China. Many countries stepped up as we came together at the United Nations in September, summoned more response, sent people over here, many workers, as you know, who have come back to the United States, and a few of them who came back with Ebola and they were treated, one of whom who died and others who were cured.

We have confidence in the ability of people to be cured. We have confidence that this is – that we are gaining in our capacity to control this; we’ve made enormous strides, and I can guarantee you there will be no discrimination against people from anywhere because this is a disease from which people can be determined to be either cured or free in the first place from any infection. As long as protocols are followed, as long as the screenings are taken, I don’t think anybody has to fear any form or any nature of discrimination. I think the efforts of the United States, frankly, speak volumes against that possibility.

On the first part of your question about the promises of the two leaders, let me make this clear: I think the real question ought to be will the Nigerian people be able to count on the president, whoever it is? The promises to the people of Nigeria – and to the world really, but principally the people of Nigeria – and I think it’s up to the people of Nigeria to make the judgment about whether they’re confident that any particular person or candidate is going to live up to their word. It’s not up to us to make that judgment. The proof will be in what happens in the days ahead.

But I’m here today because President Obama and the American people and the world are looking at Nigeria in this extraordinary exercise of democracy, in this important country in Africa, with the largest democratic election on the continent – and it matters. And that’s why we’re here: to emphasize to everybody, nobody gains by violence. Nobody gains by turning a political disagreement into a killing spree or some other kind of violence. And our hope is that Nigeria will set a remarkable example for the world in this election, and that that will give whoever is President coming out of this election the momentum that he needs in order to be able to define the future that the people of this country so want. And the proof will be in the actions that are taken in the course of the election and afterwards.

So thank you all very, very much. Appreciate it.

U.S. Delegation to Attend Inauguration of Zambia’s President-Elect Edgar Lungu

Office of the Press Secretary
January 24, 2015

President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to Attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Edgar Lungu, President-elect of the Republic of Zambia

President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Lusaka, Zambia to attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Edgar Lungu, President-elect of the Republic of Zambia on January 25, 2015.

The Honorable Sarah Sewall, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, will lead the delegation.

Members of the Presidential Delegation:

The Honorable Eric T. Schultz, Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Zambia

The Honorable Deborah L. Birx, Ambassador-at-Large and United States Global AIDS Coordinator


Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 25, 2015

The Government of the United States congratulates the people of the Republic of Zambia for conducting another democratic election. Facing significant logistical challenges, Zambians went to the polls to uphold their democratic traditions. We acknowledge the important work of the Electoral Commission of Zambia and its chair, as well as the domestic, regional, and international monitoring groups. We hope that any issues will be resolved in the same spirit and democratic tradition. We encourage the people of Zambia to move forward, as their national motto states, as “One Zambia, One Nation.”

We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with the Government of the Republic of Zambia and its newly elected president, Edgar Lungu. Together, our two nations have a strong friendship on which to build. We cooperate on providing health care to those most in need, in promoting peace and security in the region, in attracting investment, and in spurring economic development. We look forward to an even more dynamic and positive partnership in the years to come.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

U.S. Issues Statement On Increased Violence in DRC

Jen Psaki
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 21, 2015

The United States is deeply concerned after a second day of violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, following the National Assembly’s passage of electoral legislation and as the Senate began consideration of similar legislation. ‎

The United States is troubled by reports of widespread violent demonstrations, looting, unlawful arrests, and violence against protesters. We call upon all Congolese security forces, as well as civil society and opposition members, to exercise restraint and refrain from acts of violence.‎

We stress the importance of protecting political space and ensuring that all citizens have the right to peacefully assemble and exercise their rights to free speech.‎ The right to free speech is a cornerstone of democracy and critical to a credible and transparent electoral process. In this regard, the United States is also alarmed by reports that internet sites, text messaging services, and radio stations have been shut down.

The United States reiterates its support for peaceful, credible, and timely elections in the DRC in accordance with the Constitution.‎

U.S. Condemns Violence in Niger

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 20, 2015

The United States strongly condemns the violence that occurred in Niger on January 16 and 17 during protests against the depiction of the Prophet Mohamed in the French journal Charlie Hebdo, which resulted in the deaths of at least 10 people and the destruction of residences, businesses and other property, including places of worship. We express our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the victims of the violence.

The U.S. Government respects all faiths. In a democratic society, freedom of expression includes allowing expression that one disagrees with and protecting the right of all persons to hold different views. This freedom does not imply acceptance of content, nor is there any justification for the wanton killing of innocents and destruction of property.

We commend the efforts of government officials, religious and traditional leaders, and civil society to end the violence and encourage calm in the affected communities. The United States remains firmly committed to our partnership with Niger to expand prosperity and counter regional threats to peace and security.

Ambassador Scheinman Travels to Nigeria and Morocco

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
January 20, 2015

Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation Ambassador Adam Scheinman will travel to Abuja, Nigeria and Rabat, Morocco January 19-21 for consultations in preparation for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon).

For more information about the NPT RevCon or the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, please visit our website: http://www.state.gov/t/isn/npt/.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Carter, Carter Center Congratulates Ghana for Eliminating Guinea Worm Disease

Jan. 19, 2014

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Congratulates People of Ghana for Eliminating Guinea Worm Disease

ATLANTA…Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and The Carter Center congratulate Ghana on being certified by the World Health Organization this week as having eliminated Guinea worm (Dracunculus medinensis), a water-borne parasitic disease poised to be the second human disease in history to be eradicated.

“Ghana’s triumph over Guinea worm disease serves as a reminder to the world and the remaining endemic countries that the greatest challenges can be overcome with hard work, political commitment, and the support of the international community,” said President Carter, founder of The Carter Center, which has led the international campaign to eradicate the disease.

President Carter has recalled seeing his first case of Guinea worm disease in Denchira, a village near the Ghanaian capital of Accra in March 1988 (Read more in President Carter’s essay for TIME magazine ).
The WHO’s International Commission for the Certification of Dracunculiasis Eradication, in consultation with Ghana’s Ministry of Health, sent a certification team to Ghana in July 2014 to assess whether transmission of the disease continued or whether it was interrupted for three or more years after the last indigenous case was reported. On Jan. 14, 2015, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan provided Ghana with official notification that WHO has certified Ghana as Guinea worm-free.

For a disease to be eradicated (worldwide), every country must be certified as free of the disease, even if transmission has never taken place there. To date, 198 countries and territories have been certified. The WHO is responsible for certifying countries as Guinea worm-free, and is the only organization that can officially certify the eradication of a disease.

The Carter Center began leading the international Guinea worm eradication campaign in 1986. The following year, Ghana became one of the Carter Center Guinea Worm Eradication Program’s first country partners. Nearly 180,000 cases of Guinea worm disease were reported during the county’s first national case search in 1989. This ranked Ghana second in the world in cases at the time.

Strong partnerships throughout the campaign helped the nation overcome many challenges and setbacks, including a massive Guinea worm outbreak in Savelugu town in 2007. As a result of redoubled program efforts and reaffirmed national and international commitments, cases were reduced the following year by 85 percent—the greatest single-year reduction of any moderately endemic country in the history of the campaign.

In May 2010, Ghana reported and contained its last indigenous case, indicating that the disease cycle had been broken after a 22-year (1988-2010) nationwide battle.

Today, Guinea worm disease remains endemic in pockets of South Sudan, Mali, Chad, and Ethiopia. On Jan. 12, 2015, The Carter Center announced that there were 126 provisional Guinea worm cases reported in 2014. When the campaign began, there were an estimated 3.5 million cases in 21 countries in Africa and Asia. Critical to the campaign’s success has been long-term collaboration at the community level as well as among the national ministries of health and key implementing partners.

Guinea worm disease afflicts the world’s poorest and most isolated communities, and is contracted when people consume Guinea worm-contaminated water. After a year, a meter-long worm slowly emerges from the body through a painful blister in the skin. The ancient disease is being wiped out through health education and behavior change, for example teaching people to filter all drinking water and keeping anyone with an emerging worm from entering water sources. There are no vaccines or medicines to prevent or treat the disease.

“The last cases of any disease are the most challenging to wipe out, especially when stability is threatened in the endemic communities of South Sudan and Mali,” said Carter Center Vice President of Health Programs Dr. Donald Hopkins, who has led the international campaign with Dr. Ernesto Ruiz-Tiben, also at the Center.

“But we know that with the international community’s support, eradication of Guinea worm disease is not a question of if, but when,” Dr. Hopkins said.

Strong Partnerships

Many generous foundations, corporations, governments, and individuals have made the Carter Center’s work to eradicate Guinea worm disease possible, including major support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID); Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) – United Kingdom; and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, in the name of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The DuPont Corporation and Precision Fabrics Group donated nylon filter cloth early in the campaign; Vestergaard donated pipe and household cloth filters in recent years. ABATE® larvicide (temephos) has been donated for many years by BASF. Key implementing partners include the ministries of health in endemic countries, The Carter Center, WHO, CDC, and UNICEF.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mamadou Samba Appointed Director of DC Mayor’s Office of African Affairs

Source: DC Mayor’s Office of African Affairs

Mamadou Samba was appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser in January 2015 to serve as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of African Affairs (OAA). Originally from Dakar, Senegal, Mamadou was a former Commissioner of the DC Commission on African Affairs, a role in which he served as a strong advocate for diverse African diaspora communities. Mamadou, has extensive experience in addressing challenges faced by African immigrants in the District and nationwide. He played a significant role in securing grants for African nonprofit organizations, highlighting issues impacting African-born residents in the United States. He also partnered with community groups to develop capacity building, provide cultural sensitivity training, and facilitate education outreach programs to illuminate complex issues, including the negative impact of stereotypes and social stigma.

In 2011 Mamadou was one of six out of nearly 100 candidates selected to join the Capital City Fellows program a mayoral initiative to attract and recruit graduate students to work for the District. As a Fellow, he rotated among several agencies, including the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, the Department of General Services, and the Office on African Affairs, where he served as the agency’s Public Information Officer. While at OAA, he researched and compiled the District’s first-ever report highlighting African immigrant population growth since the 1960s, highlighting accomplishments and socio-economic challenges and proposing policy recommendations based on the needs of diverse African communities.

Prior to his appointment, Mamadou worked as a Capital Budget Administration Analyst in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, where he was primarily responsible for the formulation and execution of the District’s seven billion dollar Capital Improvements Plan. He specifically oversaw the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) capital budget in excess of three hundred million dollars annually, including local and highway trust funds.

Mamadou earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Kennesaw State University, and a Bachelor Degree in Political Science from the University of South Carolina Aiken, where he was awarded an NCAA athletic scholarship. He is fluent in French and Wolof.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Maryland and KwaZulu-Natal State, (South Africa) Sign Sister-State MOU

Photo (c) AMIP News
Annapolis, Maryland
State House
Thursday January 15, 2015

By Frederick Nnoma-Addison

Maryland and KwaZulu-Natal State, (South Africa) today signed an MOU to become Sister-States under the Maryland Sister-States Program. https://www.facebook.com/MDAfrican

Governor Martin O’Malley (Maryland) and Premier Edward Senzo Mchunu (KwaZulu-Natal) signed the agreement on behalf of their respective states at approximately 12:30am EST, at the Governor’s Reception Room of the State House, Annapolis. About 60 leaders from the diplomatic, business, academic, religious, development, and nonprofit communities witnessed the ceremony.

Before signing the MOU, Governor O’Malley and Premier Mchunu highlighted the importance of the common interests, aspirations and challenges of Marylanders and KwaZulu-Natal citizens, and pledged to collaborate on various initiatives in the coming years. After the ceremony, KwaZulu-Natal State became the 15th State under Maryland’s Sister-State Program, and the fourth in Africa. The governor and premier later exchanged official gifts.

According to the Office of the Secretary of State, the Maryland Sister-State program oversees an array of international exchanges promoting a balance of business, educational, and cultural interests. It is chaired by the Secretary of State, steered by a devoted and spirited Advisory Board of Directors, and staffed by an army of citizen-volunteers. It was established in 1980 to provide a forum for the promotion of international cooperation and understanding.

A full list of Maryland’s other sister states is available at the Office of the Secretary of State

Maryland prides herself in being one of the few U.S. states with a Governor’s Commission dedicated to African Affairs, aside other ethnic groups http://www.african.maryland.gov/

The African Affairs Commission is a part of the Governor’s Commission of Community Initiatives.

* John P. McDonough – Secretary of State, Maryland
* Anna Yankova – Director, International Affairs, Office of the Secretary of State
* Maryland Sister State Program Board of Directors
* Roger Lawrence, President, Maryland Sister State Program Board of Directors

Maryland/KwaZulu-Natal Sister State Committee Members
* Dr. Jean Bailey – Chair
* Senator Verma Jones-Rodwell – Vice Chair
* Mr. Frank Islam – Member
* Sheila Khati Esq. – Member

* Dr. Sonya Smith
* Henry Osborne
* Kendal Tyre


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

U.S. Government Contributes $1 Million to IAEA in Ebola Fight

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
January 8, 2015

The U.S. Government has contributed $1 million to the International Atomic Energy Agency for a new project that will improve and streamline efforts to diagnose the Ebola virus in Africa. Of the total U.S. contribution, $650,000 is provided through the IAEA’s Peaceful Uses Initiative and $350,000 through other extra-budgetary contributions to the IAEA.

The IAEA’s project will provide high-quality training and cutting-edge equipment based on nuclear science applications to teams of virologists in 11 African countries—Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Uganda—to help them more quickly and safely diagnose emerging diseases, including Ebola.

Since the launch of the IAEA peaceful uses initiative in May 2010, the United States has contributed more than $50 million in the last five years and allocated more than $45 million of this amount to specific projects. This initiative, announced at the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference, reinforced the commitment of the United States and other donors to IAEA activities that promote peaceful uses of nuclear technology in areas such as human health, water resource management, food security and agriculture, environmental protection, and nuclear power infrastructure development. To date the United States,17 other donor countries, and the European Union have contributed approximately $77 million to the PUI, which funds IAEA projects that benefit more than 120 countries. This is in addition to annual voluntary contributions from member states, including the United States, averaging more than $85 million to the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation program.

New U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau Sworn In

State Department Photo

Washington, DC
January 13, 2015

On Friday, January 9, 2015, James Peter Zumwalt was sworn-in as U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. Acting Deputy Secretary Sherman officiated the swearing-in ceremony.

Prior to this appointment, James Peter Zumwalt, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Japan and Korea in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State, a position he has held since 2012. Mr. Zumwalt served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan from 2008 to 2011. From 2006 to 2008, he served as the Director of the Office of Japanese Affairs at the Department of State and from 2002 to 2006, he served as an Economic Minister and as an Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Mr. Zumwalt served as an Economic Counselor and as an Economic Minister-Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China from 1999 to 2002. From 1994 to 1996, he was Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State and from 1993 to 1994, he was the Economic Unit Chief in the Office of Korean Affairs at the Department of State. Mr. Zumwalt was an Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from 1989 to 1993 and served as the Political Officer in the Office of Philippine Affairs from 1987 to 1989. He was Staff Assistant in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 1986 to 1987. In 1986, Mr. Zumwalt was assigned to the Office of Japan and China at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. He also served as Vice Consul at the U.S. Consulate General in Osaka-Kobe, Japan and as the Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, Zaire. Mr. Zumwalt received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.S. from the National War College.

U.S. Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Borno State, Nigeria

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 9, 2015

The United States condemns the recent escalation of attacks on civilians carried out by Boko Haram, which shows no regard for human life. All those responsible for these recurring terrorist attacks must be held accountable.

The United States abhors such violence, which continues to take a terrible toll on the people of Nigeria and the broader region, including Cameroon. We extend our sympathies to the loved ones of all victims of violence at the hands of Boko Haram.

The United States is committed to working with Nigeria and its neighbors to end the scourge of Boko Haram. We urge Nigeria and its neighbors to take all possible steps to address the urgent threat of Boko Haram. Even in the face of these horrifying attacks, terrorist organizations like Boko Haram must not distract Nigeria from carrying out credible and peaceful elections that reflect the will of the Nigerian people.

President Obama Congratulates Tunisia’s Elected President, Beji Caid Essebsi

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia during a foreign leader call in the Oval Office, Jan. 5, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) 06 January 2015 00:53

In a phone call with President Beji Caid Essebsi, Obama commended Tunisians “for the spirit of peaceful compromise that has prevailed throughout their historic democratic transition of the last four years.”


President Barack Obama congratulated President Beji Caid Essebsi on Monday for his victory in Tunisia’s first presidential election under its new constitution.

In a telephone call, Obama commended Tunisians “for the spirit of peaceful compromise that has prevailed throughout their historic democratic transition of the last four years,” according to a White House statement.

“He underscored the United States’ intent to continue strengthening and expanding our strategic partnership with Tunisia and emphasized our readiness to assist the incoming government as it works to meet all Tunisians’ aspirations for security and economic opportunity.”

Essebsi took the oath of office last week as Tunisia’s first democratically-elected president following a 2011 revolution that ousted autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

The statement noted that the two leaders affirmed their desire for continued close cooperation and Obama invited Essebsi to visit Washington to continue their discussion at a mutually agreeable date.

Essebsi, who served as a parliament speaker under Ben Ali, defeated incumbent interim President Moncef Marzouki in a Dec. 21 presidential runoff, with 55.68 percent of the votes.

He is due to begin his term Jan. 14.