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February 9, 2023

Florida Trade Mission in Senegal: Ambassador's Speech

Members of the Enterprise Florida trade mission,

Members of the business community in Senegal,

U.S. Embassy colleagues,

Good evening and welcome; Bonsoir, et bienvenu.

Puisque la délégation qui nous vient de la Floride, ainsi que beaucoup d’entre vous vivant au Sénégal, sont – en partie ou en totalité – anglophones, je ferai la plupart de mon discours en anglais.

Pour ceux d’entre vous qui sont plutôt à l’aise en français, je vous remercie de votre aimable compréhension; je vous promets que mon discours sera bref; et je vous remercie tous, très sincèrement, d’être avec nous ce soir.

I’m very grateful to each one of you for being here this evening, as we celebrate a very important visit by Florida-based U.S. businesses, and a very exciting opportunity to build linkages between our visitors and key Senegalese government and private sector leaders.

Welcome, and my sincerest thanks, to my friend Mahi Kane, President of the American Chamber of Commerce, and his colleagues from the Chamber, for being here this evening, and for all your work to support and strengthen U.S. businesses in Senegal.

And it’s a great pleasure to welcome Joseph Bell and all of the members of the Enterprise Florida trade mission, and to thank each one of you for making the trip to Senegal and for giving us a wonderful reason to come together this evening.

Senegal, with its deep democratic traditions, its long history of stability, and its essential leadership role within and beyond the African continent, is a key strategic partner of the United States.

Its economy is dynamic and growing, and has enormous potential for greater U.S. private sector engagement.

And so it’s no surprise that one of my top priorities as ambassador is to strengthen and deepen the economic and commercial relationship between our two countries.

This is true, first and foremost, because U.S. businesses can do very well for themselves, and by extension for the U.S. economy, in Senegal.

But it’s also true because U.S. businesses can do great things for Senegal, even as they do well for themselves.

I’m deeply proud of the U.S. Government’s many sizeable and productive investments in the development and security of Senegal, including significant programs spearheaded by USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State.

In countless ways, these programs are strengthening our two countries’ shared prosperity, security, and strong democratic governance.

But as consequential as these programs are, I firmly believe that only a critical mass of high-quality private sector investment – like the kind that comes from the United States – will ensure Senegal’s prosperity, job-creation, and long-term success.

In my many engagements with Senegalese government leaders, I hear the exact same thing from them, and the emphasis they too place on attracting – and supporting – U.S. business.

This was certainly among the top points of discussion between U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Senegalese government and business leaders, including President Macky Sall, during the Secretary’s multi-day visit here just three weeks ago.

Senegalese leaders know, just as all of us here tonight know, that the U.S. private sector is unsurpassed for quality; innovation; strong ethical, environmental, and labor standards; and win-win investments.

And because many of the U.S. businesses represented in the Enterprise Florida delegation are small and medium-sized firms, they’re truly at the forefront of spurring innovation, growth, and economic vitality.

Your visit to Senegal will amplify the potential to create still greater business opportunities for two exceptionally dynamic countries.

And your visit will also strengthen the particularly close ties between Senegal and the State of Florida.

Many of you may know that Dakar and Miami are sister cities, and as we continue to emerge from the worst of the COVID pandemic, my embassy colleagues and I are redoubling our efforts to revitalize this special relationship.

Last June, our embassy accompanied a Senegalese business delegation to Miami to explore commercial opportunities in the healthcare sector – a visit that’s already producing tangible results.

And now we have the great pleasure of welcoming a diverse range of dynamic Florida businesses to Dakar, which stand to create exciting opportunities in the days ahead.

And I commit, to you all, my fullest support, and the fullest support of our wonderful embassy team, as you pursue those opportunities.

Thank you all again for being here tonight, and have a wonderful evening.

Merci, et bonne soirée.