Hello. I am delighted to be returning to Africa this week. And I am looking forward to celebrating all of the progress that is being made all across Africa—the world’s most diverse continent.
As some of you know, Africa is close to my heart. My wife, Teresa, was born in Mozambique and educated in South Africa. As a Senator, I came there to help lay the groundwork for PEPFAR and visited Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island. And as Secretary of State, I was in Ethiopia just last year to celebrate 50 years of the African Union, and all the amazing things being done across the continent.
And now I’m able to return, and because all of us at the State Department understand that what’s happening in Africa is so important. The decisions made in Africa over the coming decades will determine so much about the world’s future. Will we be able to finally put an end to poverty? Can we build a more peaceful world system? Can we defeat the scourge of preventable disease once and for all? African governments, activists, business people, and everyday citizens are seeking answers to these difficult questions every day.
But we also know that Africa’s future is about more than facing these challenges. Nations like Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Nigeria are creating growth and prosperity at a faster clip than anywhere else in the world. In fact, Africa is home to eight of the 10 fastest growing economies. And that growth is becoming accessible to more Africans every single day. That is critical, because the enormous potential of its people is the greatest resource in all of Africa.
That commitment to improving the lives of everyday people is at the heart of the U.S.-Africa partnership—a partnership that is as dynamic as it has ever been. President Obama and I are fully committed to growing this relationship and to making it even more successful than it is today. That’s why we’re convening the Young African Leaders Initiative and the U.S.-African Leaders Summit in Washington this summer to continue our dialogue and to build on those hard fought gains.
So I’m looking forward to seeing many of you on my trip, to discussing the challenges and the opportunities, and to having another chance to celebrate all that is being done in the name of prosperity.