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October 5, 2023

Ambassador Davis Ba Remarks at the 2023 Tech Challenge


Today we are here to celebrate innovation and ingenuity, collaboration and connectedness in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, and around the world.

The United States is proud to sponsor the U.S. West Africa Tech Challenge because competitions like this represent the thriving relationship between the United States and the entire region.

Events like this show the importance of working hand-in-hand with our esteemed friends in West Africa.

Together we are brainstorming, innovating, and discovering solutions to complex global challenges.

Around the world, malign actors are misusing and manipulating information to create divisions and sow conflict.

Extremists and practitioners of oppression practice violence and coercion to gain power.

And just as alarming, some of these actors have used digital tools to destabilize societies and recruit others to do wrong—all with minimal cost or effort.

And so, the challenges we face are both immediate and long-term; they are local and global.

Which means we rely on people like Rukayatou Saka, an Ivoirian entrepreneur who helped designed “Yehlin,” a platform to combat misinformation during COVID19.

We rely on you all to contribute a safer digital and physical world.

From the private sector, to non-profit organizations, to simply imaginative young people with great ideas, we all have a role in supporting People, Peace, and Prosperity – the United States Embassy’s main mission in Cote d’Ivoire.

This is why last year, President Biden launched the U.S. Strategy to Promote Stability and Prevent Conflict.

It is a presidential partnership to address root causes of violent extremism and prevent its spread southward from the Sahel.

The United States is also dedicating more than $20 million to strengthen community resilience and economic empowerment opportunities.

The goal of all these activities is to invest in people and the future, because when we invest in people, peace and prosperity will follow.

The United States commends his Excellency Minister Coulibaly, and his colleagues at the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, for investing in Côte d’Ivoire’s people and security.

By working together, Côte d’Ivoire and the United States are building technological capacity and increasing resilience.

But these steps—as bold as they are—will not be enough.

This region, and the world, needs your ingenuity and expertise.

We salute the participants of the Tech Challenge for having the audacity to imagine.

Together we will work toward a safer digital era.

Thank you for your efforts.

Congratulations on participating in this exciting challenge and we are eager to see what you will achieve.