Ambassador’s Opening Remarks, JPR Press Conference

Good morning everyone.  As you have just heard, the partnership between the Government of Senegal and the American government through USAID has again achieved impressive results for the year.

Later today, technical specialists from both sides of the partnership will work together to map out a plan for the next year based on priorities set by the government, building upon what worked well last year, taking into account the lessons we have learned in the last 12 months.

Once again this year, the U.S. government was the biggest bilateral donor to Senegal’s Health sector through malaria eradication, maternal and child health, family planning, and strengthening of service delivery.

Our work will continue to be guided by strong planning documents like the Plan Senegal Emergent, which provides a strategic blueprint for our work in Economic Growth and Agriculture.

Through our work helping provide certified seeds to farmers, locally-grown rice can compete with imports and move Senegal toward self-sufficiency in the sector.

We have also helped women small-farmers access credit, and provided agricultural insurance to help farmers cope in time of drought.  Most important, we facilitate involvement of the private sector in agriculture.

We all recognize that learning to read early in one’s education is essential to further success in schooling.  Strong basic reading skills help students later to more effectively contribute to family, community and the nation.  This is a top priority for all of us.

Finally, the United States is together with Senegal as it nurtures inclusive, transparent, and accountable governance that includes a robust civil society — the key to maintaining democratic institutions for generations to come.

Thank you, Mister Minister, for joining us today as we review our successes of last year and plan for another year of fruitful collaboration between the United States and Senegal.   Ladies and gentlemen of the press, thank you for your interest in our partnership.  I think we’re ready to take your questions.