- Excellencies, Heads of State and Government
- Florie Liser, CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa
- Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
Thank you for the opportunity to address you today.
The Corporate Council on Africa has been the voice of private sector engagement between the United States and Africa for a quarter-century.
In June 2020, we met virtually. Unfortunately, we still have to meet virtually today.
The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing us to adjust and adapt. We don’t know how much longer it will be with us.
That is why we need even stronger partnership between Africa and the United States.
The United States is now stepping up to provide millions of Covid-19 vaccine doses through COVAX.
The first deliveries have already begun to arrive in Africa. This is very positive.
But donations are not a long-term solution to a global health challenge of this magnitude, nor do they address the issue of equity.
It is therefore a good sign that the United States is preparing to join with partners in Africa, through the U.S. Development Finance Corporation and other agencies, to support local manufacturing of vaccines and other pharmaceuticals.
Africa is doing its part with the imminent entry into force of the Africa Medicines Agency treaty, which will create a continental regulatory body to reinforce national regulators.
This presents a tremendous opportunity for companies on both sides of the Atlantic.
We have already seen examples of how this kind of collaboration can produce innovations that impact the entire world.
A few years ago, a small start-up from California called Zipline approached Rwanda about piloting a futuristic technology to deliver blood supplies to remote hospitals using drones.
After proving the concept in Rwanda, Zipline expanded not only elsewhere in Africa, but also to Japan and the United States itself, where engineers and technicians from Rwanda now reinforce the company’s global operations.
The company is now valued in the billions of dollars.
Let’s use the urgency of this moment to identify similar opportunities for partnership between Africa and the United States, focusing especially on the young men and women on both our continents who see solutions, where others only see problems.
I thank you once again and wish you a very productive summit.