Good morning Mandela Washington Fellows and other distinguished guests from across the region. It is a pleasure to welcome you to this second YALI Regional Conference in East Africa on behalf of USAID.
Private sector engagement has been an important component of USAID’s work since our founding in 1961. Of course, the nature and breadth of that work has deepened over time, evolving from a strategy focused on enabling the conditions of a robust market economy to one of mutually beneficial opportunities.
For example, today we work with private investors not simply because of the strategic capital they can deploy, but also because of the skills, knowledge, and experience investment brings to help developing countries grow. And investors are increasingly seeing opportunities in emerging markets such as those found across sub-Saharan Africa, and with good reason. It’s at this nexus of business and development opportunities that we can help achieve transformative progress
President Obama underscored the importance of our cooperation during his trip to Kenya last year when he said, “America partners with Kenya in areas where you’re making enormous progress …on access to power, where Kenya is developing clean energy that can reach more people; on the important issue of climate change, where Kenya’s recent goal to reduce its emissions has put it in the position of being a leader on the continent.”
I had the pleasure and good fortune to be there at the birth of Feed the Future early in President Obama’s first term, and it was born out of a vision that the agriculture sector should be one that enables people to thrive, and survive, and grow, and create, and build their communities and countries. And not the source of pain and hardship and hunger and inequality. And what you all are doing and what I just saw out there, for which I thank all of you and I want to thank the USAID team across a number of bureaus, is making that dream come alive. So it’s a wonderful thing to see, the amount of energy and creativity and dynamism.
Good evening. It is a pleasure to join you as we mark what I am sure will be an extraordinary partnership between Stanford, one of the world’s premier universities, and so many of the great innovators and entrepreneurs here tonight. The Stanford SEED Transformation Program will bring new growth and innovation to Kenya through the promotion of business development and management skills. It will bring Silicon Valley ingenuity and the expertise of Stanford’s leading business faculty to help businesses across East Africa expand. And, ultimately, it will bring jobs and greater prosperity across Africa.
The United States and India have a long and successful strategic partnership in the energy sector. In 2009, our governments held a Strategic Dialogue focusing on five pillars including energy and climate change.
One of the most significant outcomes of this Dialogue is our Partnership to Advance Clean Energy, or the “PACE” initiative, launched by President Obama and former Prime Minister Singh in November 2009. It remains the flagship program for clean energy between the United States and India.
The U.S. Government is a committed to partnering with Kenya in improving the agricultural sector. We support Kenya through President Obama’s global initiative, Feed the Future, which aims to reduce poverty and stunting by 20 percent through improved technologies in agriculture. The Feed the Future Kenya Innovation Engine activity accelerates private-sector investment by sharing investors’ risk in backing innovations that address food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty across Kenya.
We are at the starting point of the USAID-funded Feed the Future Asia Innovative Farmers Project. Over the next five years, the project will support South to South innovation and regional networks to bring proven technologies to smallholders in the region. In particular to countries that face the greatest threats to food security.
As graduates of a school of public policy – and one of the finest at that – you will have plenty of opportunities in front of you to seek personal pride, and to fulfill personal ambitions. But you will also have opportunities to leave the world a better place than you found it.
I hope you’ll remember that this is a privilege, and an extraordinary one at that. And I hope you’ll remember that there is something bigger than you out there, and that it’s worth pursuing.
Because, as it turns out, when you remove yourself from the equation a bit, and when you remember that everything really isn’t about you, that’s when you do your best work. And that’s when you can have a real impact on the world.
Honorable Minister, Members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, It is an honor to address this gathering as you discuss the creation of a Right to Information bill designed to enhance citizens’ access to transparency and insight about their government. Any democracy requires that government officials be accountable to the citizens who elected them, and that accountability requires transparency.
Last updated: December 08, 2016