Africa-America Institute Opening Ceremony – November 14, 2019

Remarks by
Ambassador Tulinabo Mushingi
Africa-America Institute Opening Ceremony
King Fahd Palace, November 14, 2019

(As prepared)

H.E. Mrs. Haija Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou, First Lady of the Republic of Niger
Esteemed Ministers
Kofi Appenteng, President of the Africa-America Institute

Good morning.  I am happy to be with you at the start of a promising event focused on the role education plays in creating a more prosperous Africa. I am excited to be surrounded by people who share my belief that education leads to better opportunities for young Africans.

As the United States Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea Bissau, my team and I work towards three main goals:

1) increasing trade and investment,

2) promoting security, and

3) advancing good governance to make Senegal, Guinea Bissau, and the United States safer and more prosperous.

Today, as we launch the Africa-America Institute’s fifth conference on the State of Education, I want to focus on the first goal of shared economic prosperity. Education spurs economic growth, improves workforce development, and helps increase trade between Africa and the United States. A well-educated workforce is also a key factor for attracting foreign investment.

We need to act now.

Africa’s population will likely double by 2050 to approximately 2.5 billion people. More than 60 percent will be under the age of 25. Quality education is critical to unlocking their potential and ensuring this generation has the skills to compete in today’s globalized marketplace. Unleashing the potential of young Africans is one of my biggest priorities.

We have a variety of short- and long-term programs that send secondary, university, post-graduate students, teachers and university professors to the United States. Each year, Embassy Dakar sends 85 students, professors, and professionals to the United States on educational and cultural exchanges. We also help over 500 Senegalese students every year pursue their collegiate studies in the United States.

Locally, we provide English language learning opportunities to approximately 700 Senegalese youth in underserved areas. We organize youth-focused workshops to teach entrepreneurship and science, technology, and math skills through our five American Spaces in Senegal – Dakar, Thies, Louga, Ziguinchor, and in Guinea-Bissau.

We partner with Senegal on Lecture pour tous, an innovative program that helps children learn to read in their native languages. To broaden our investment in the future of Africa, we launched the University Partnerships Initiative, which will encourage new collaboration between U.S. and African universities. Our ultimate goal is to strengthen Africa’s educational institutions.

We know that Africa-America Institute and all of you share the goal of strengthening education in Africa. An old African proverb says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.” We plan to go far together with our African partners.

Thank you.  I look forward to a successful conference.