For Immediate Release
U.S. President Barak Obama visited Senegal from June 27-29 as part of a three country trip to Africa which also included South Africa and Tanzania.
While in Senegal, President Obama toured a Feed the Future Agricultural Technology Marketplace, which presented leading agriculture technologies used by smallholder farmers in West Africa. Five booths, each with a rural marketplace feel, presented a farmer or producer as well as an end user. The booths highlighted food security technologies and products used in Senegal and more broadly throughout West Africa, including improved seed varieties, bio-fortified crops, portable rice mills, virtual technologies and highly nutritious agricultural products.
“I believe that Africa is rising,” President Obama said in public remarks after the tour. “It wants to partner with us, not to be dependent but to be self-sufficient. And what we’re seeing here today are business people, farmers, academics, researchers, scientists, all combining some of the best practices that have been developed over the course now of decades, and leveraging it into concrete improvements in people’s lives.”
Exhibitor Pierre Ndiaye, director of Les Mamelles Jaboot, a manufacturer of a yogurt- and millet-based porridge developed for school feeding programs and city markets explained to President Obama how Feed the Future assisted his enterprise to develop a supply chain. “The President thanked us for providing jobs for women, and helping keep children healthy and productive through the nutritious products we produce.” More information from the White House is here.
‘New Alliance’ Roundtable
During the visit, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah presided over a regional agricultural roundtable that brought together high-level officials already participating in the G-8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which Senegal is now set to join. Senegal was represented by Minister of Agriculture Abdoulaye Baldé and Minister of Economy and Finance Amadou Kane, who said “our country is proud to be part of this alliance.”
Participants from the African Union and ECOWAS, as well as key private agricultural investors, highlighted progress under the Alliance, discussed policy reforms to spur private investment in agriculture, and encouraged focus on private investment. The Alliance works through government commitments to drive country plans and advance policy reforms for food security; private sector commitments to increase investments in response to these reforms; and donor assistance to help expand Africa’s potential for agricultural growth. President Obama was represented by Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, who said “the private sector holds the real potential for growth in Africa. Governments are just the catalyst.” Find more on the Alliance here.
First Ladies Visit USAID-Supported School
First Ladies of the United States and Senegal Michelle Obama and Marième Sall visited USAID-supported Martin Luther King all-girls middle school in Dakar as part of the presidential visit. After welcoming remarks and a dance presentation by the students, Mrs. Obama met privately with a smaller group of students learning English. “By making this critical investment in your education, and in the future of your country, you all are serving as role models not just for girls here in Senegal, but for girls in the United States and around the world,” Mrs. Obama told the students. The First Lady’s complete remarks are here.
Last updated: December 11, 2013