With their exemplary leadership in their efforts for establishing peace, building democracy, and laying the groundwork for economic prosperity, the United States of America today honored four leaders from Sierra Leone, Senegal, Malawi and Cape Verde for their successes and their stewardship of the U.S.-Africa relationship.
In his remarks at a luncheon in honor of four African countries, Deputy Secretary William J. Burns welcomes the President Banda of Malawi, Prime Minister Neves of Cape Verde, Foreign Minister Ndiaye of Senegal, and Foreign Minister Kamara of Sierra Leone in Washington DC.
“It is a pleasure to host you here at the Department of State.” – Mr. Burns
US optimistic of Africa’s future
Mr. Burns says he is I am an Africa optimist.
“I am an optimist because the tide of wars and civil strife is receding. “ – Mr. Burns
He says he is an optimist because the continent continues to make steady progress in political reform – more than half of the countries in Africa have embraced democratic, multiparty rule and elections and term limits are now widely accepted norms.
“And I am an optimist because Africa’s growth rate will soon surpass Asia’s and seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are African.” – Mr. Burns
US Commends the African leaders for building strong, independent, and democratic institutions
According to Mr. Burns, the US credits these transformations for the leaders and courageous citizens across the continent.
He says looking back over the past two decades, the United States is proud of its modest contribution and steady support.
“Each of you illustrates the potential of these partnerships.” – Mr. Burns
He says President Bandain one year has led Malawi out of a deep abyss, moving swiftly to stabilize the economy and elevate human rights.
He notes the United States was pleased to restore its partnership with your government, including lifting the suspension of our $350 million MCC Compact.
The US is looking forward to continuing to work together further to strengthen Malawi democracy, address hunger and improve food security.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Neves of Cape Verde, the country reached middle-income country status, joined the WTO, attracted significant foreign investment, and solidified its social safety net.
The US values its cooperation on maritime security and in countering narcotrafficking and are pleased to launch a second five-year MCC compact to accelerate economic growth, Mr. Burns said.
In addition, Mr. Burns says Senegal is one of the United States’ strongest partners and a leading democracy in Africa.
“We applaud the Senegalese government’s commitment to improve governance, regional security, and bilateral cooperation.” – Mr. Burns
The US deeply appreciates President Sall’s efforts for peace in the Casamance and his leadership on peacekeeping and regional security.
In 2012, Sierra Leone held fair, free, and credible elections.
“We thank President Koroma and his government for their commitment to strengthening Sierra Leone’s democratic institutions.” – Mr. Burns
He indicates predictably, the economy responded to President Koroma’s efforts, expanding by 30% in 2012.
Mr. Burns also notes US deep appreciation for its government’s troop contribution to the Somalia peacekeeping force.
US boosts partnership with four African nations
According to Mr. Burns, President Clinton worked with Congress to pass the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the region.
He notes President George W. Bush created the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, programs that saved millions of lives and brought hundreds of thousands of Africans out of poverty.
In addition, over the last four years, President Obama has built on this foundation by forming partnerships based on mutual respect and responsibility with governments, entrepreneurs, youth, women, and the private sector to strengthen democratic institutions, spur economic growth, promote opportunity and development, and advance peace and security.
Mr. Burns points out there is no doubt that they face many challenges in the coming years from the Horn to the Great Lakes, and the Sahel.
He notes this is why their partnership has never been more important.
“Fortunately, it has never been stronger.” – Mr. Burns
US values partnership with Senegal
With its commitment to address malnutrition in Senegal, more than 25,000 at-risk pre-school and elementary students in Senegal are set to benefit from a new daily lunch initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and implemented by the nonprofit Counterpart International.
The three-year program starts in March and provides U.S. commodities, technical assistance and other resources to children in 156 schools in Senegal’s remote province of Matam, as well as providing rations for 1,600 pregnant and lactating women.
Senegal enjoys a superb relationship with the United States. The Government of Senegal has supported the U.S. in the United Nations, particularly in troop contributions for peacekeeping activities.
The United States maintains friendly and positive relations with Senegal and provides considerable economic and technical assistance.
Senegal is said to be the only nation on mainland West Africa not to have seen a coup or civil war since independence.
US and Cape Verde share a commitment to democracy, good governance, and economic development
Both the United States and Cape Verde share a commitment to democracy, good governance, and economic development. Both countries we are improving maritime security in the Atlantic, strengthening the rule of law and encouraging investment in Cape Verde.
Cape Verde’s achievements in democracy and economic development serve as a model to other nations in West Africa.
Cape Verde is commended praised as the best example among African nations for its stability and developmental growth despite its lack of natural resources.