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December 13, 2022

Amcham: Back to Business Cocktail at CMR

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you very much for joining us for what is, for me, an important post-pandemic step toward restoring the normal conduct of U.S. embassy business and an essential component of our business – which is re-energizing and expanding our engagement with you.

It’s been over two years since our embassy hosted a gathering like this, which makes this “Back to Business” event something of a “Back to…Back to Business” event, and I couldn’t be happier to see you all here tonight.

One of our top priorities as an embassy, and mine as ambassador, is to strengthen the economic and commercial relationship between the United States and Senegal.

And central to this effort is supporting companies like yours that are doing business here, and helping even more U.S. companies find opportunities here as well.

The U.S. private sector is an essential part of the positive image – and the positive impact – of the United States overseas, and your work is an essential complement to, and extension of, our diplomatic work in Senegal.

America’s brand is top-quality products and services, win-win investments, state-of-the-art technology, and resolutely moral business practices.

I often tell our Senegalese partners that, while I’m enormously proud of the extraordinary scope, quality, and impact of the United States’ development and security partnerships with Senegal, what will ultimately be the most transformational for this country will be high-quality private-sector investment, first and foremost the kind that comes from the United States.

We tell them that U.S. companies are scrupulous in abiding by, and sometimes even elevating, strong labor, legal, ethical, and environmental standards.

We tell them that U.S. companies’ emphasis on diversity and inclusion means, among many other things, empowering Senegalese citizens – and in many cases women – in leadership roles.

We tell them that U.S. companies support technology sharing and transfer that guarantees mutually beneficial outcomes.

We tell them that U.S. companies offer training that strengthens individual lives and Senegal’s collective workforce.

And we tell them that U.S. companies are helping Senegal achieve its paramount economic and development goals, simply by doing business the American way, and that the American way of doing business harmonizes perfectly with the U.S. government’s policy and development engagements as well.

So in short, your success is, first and foremost, our success.

But your success is also Senegal’s success, and the success of the United States’ shared goals with Senegal, and we want to partner with you to ensure your success and to help you and other U.S. businesses build you’re your successes.

That means not only helping companies overcome obstacles and navigate a sometimes tricky business environment, but working hard with Senegalese partners to improve the business climate and U.S. businesses’ prospects for success.

I look forward to meeting with you on a regular basis; to working with you to advance our shared interests and address our shared concerns, and to ensuring that our excellent economic and commercial team in the U.S. embassy has the support they need to support you.

Over the coming months and years, we will rely on your insights on doing business in Senegal, and on how you feel the U.S. embassy can be most supportive and impactful.

We’re already engaged on issues that some of you have raised, including challenges with taxation, payments, and customs processes.

Please keep your requests, advice, and experiences coming, and we’ll do everything we can to ensure that your partnership with us is relevant and fruitful for you.

Before I pass the floor to Mahi, please let me take a moment to recognize, and make sure you can recognize, our terrific Economic and Commercial Team: Economic Section Chief Aysa Miller; Richard Bakewell, who covers our Environment, Science, Technology, and Health portfolio; the newest member of our team, Commercial Officer David Hutchinson II, who has been in Senegal for just over one month; and our tremendous Senegalese colleagues, who are truly the backbone of our work:  Medina Sy, Mame Khar Sarr, and Katy Diop.

I’m sure those of you who’ve met them already will agree you’re in excellent hands.

And if you haven’t met them yet, tonight’s your chance.

Again, thank you for joining us this evening, and please let me invite Mahi to offer a few words.

Thank you.