An official website of the United States government

June 26, 2023


Ambassador Davis Ba Speech on the Occasion of Independence Day
Thursday, June 22, 2023

Your Excellency Mr. Vice-President,
Excellencies, Honorable Ministers,
Excellencies, Ambassadors, Colleagues
Honorable guests,
Ladies and gentlemen
Dear sponsors,
Dear friends,
Changemakers, Innovators, Impactors –

Akwaba! Welcome to the Residence of the United States!

Thank you for being with us tonight to celebrate the 247th anniversary of American independence.

We celebrate freedom, the foundation of our nation’s leadership in all sectors – economy, defence, technology, culture, health, education and diplomacy.

We celebrate a vision for freedom.

Your presence here today is a testament to the relationship of trust between the United States and Côte d’Ivoire, two countries bound by a common vision, based on shared values, open communication, and mutual respect.

We are partners.

This year we celebrate together the youth, who represents the future of us all, hence the choice of the theme of this evening: “Innovative Youth”

We are in synch with His Excellency President Alassane Ouattara who by declaring 2023 “Year of Youth”, encourages us to promote the dynamic development of young people – to support our future.

As we look to the future, we have a duty to remember the past.

This year marks the 247th anniversary of the independence of the United States.

The founders of our country defended a revolutionary vision that made our country the nation it has become today: a model of participatory democracy.

247 years of challenges and opportunities, innovation and progress.
Our strength lies in our diversity.

The United States, like Côte d’Ivoire, is a land that brings people of all backgrounds together to form a more complete nation.

Let’s celebrate freedom and diversity!

In the United States, young people have always been at the forefront.
The average age of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence was 44.
More than a dozen of them were 35 or younger.

I would like to underline a key phrase contained in our Declaration of Independence: “All men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Every day we celebrate these shared values that form the basis of our partnership.

For us, the best celebrations start with a good meal.
Tonight’s menu takes us across the Atlantic, showcasing the geographic and cultural diversity of the United States.

So, our seafood rolls are reminiscent of the flavor of the Northeast, our tortillas taste of the Southwest, and our shrimp and grits and fried okra take us to the South.
In all these dishes, you will discover the influences of the first peoples of America and the African influence that are the foundation of our cuisine.

So let’s celebrate the melting pot – our cuisine and our nation!

The excellent work of our team at the Embassy is focused on the three Ps – People, Peace and Prosperity.

Through our partnerships, in all sectors, we impact lives.

We encourage innovation.

Our governments have invested in peace by taking a comprehensive approach to addressing the root causes of instability.

Together, we build partnerships for peace.

Our governments have invested in prosperity by supporting the private sector, entrepreneurs to foster innovation.

Our companies offer the American dream to changemakers around the world.

It is thanks to the support of American companies, our sponsors, that this evening was possible. You are an example and an inspiration.

Together, we build partnerships for prosperity.

To achieve our common goals, the United States invests in the People, especially the Youth – Innovative Youth.

We celebrate youth.
Young people are the future.
Young people are the engine of innovation.

Through our social networks, we invited young people to submit videos on the theme “Innovative Youth”. Here’s what one of them said: “The innovative youth is me, it’s you, it’s all these people who want to have a positive impact in building the future. So don’t put yourself on the sidelines and join us! »

What wisdom from our young people!

75% of the Ivorian population is under 35 years of age. Like the founders of the United States, Ivorian youth are bearers of hope for the future.
That is why the United States invests in people through education.

Our American Spaces in Côte d’Ivoire host training programs in English and on Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Science, and Technology – free of charge.

Through our school feeding program, we provide hot meals to 125,000 students every day.
We keep vulnerable children, especially girls, in school.

Through the Millennium Challenge Corporation and our investment of more than $500 million in a road and school construction projects, we are helping to improve the lives of 11 million people.

Through a sustainable health system, the United States and Côte d’Ivoire save lives.
Through the PEPFAR program, the United States has invested $2 billion in Côte d’Ivoire to fight HIV/AIDS.

People are at the heart of our partnerships.

We celebrate the people.
We celebrate youth.
We celebrate freedom.

Ivorian changemakers, like Grace Houffouet, invest in people by creating their own businesses.

Grace is a talented executive chef in San Pedro who opened a restaurant that employs female ex-prisoners. According to her, the goal is to “give women a chance to build a new life”. Well done, Grace!

Then there is Khady Cissé, a young educator who focuses her actions on health awareness. Khady created the Organization for Child, Women’s and Family Health which aims to promote sexual and reproductive health among young people. Bravo Khady!

What about Gui Ange Emmanuel aka Suspect 95. This changemaker used his voice to advance mental health awareness – especially with the song “Dans ma tète”.
I salute his courage to highlight universal issues. Bravo Suspect!

Grace Houffouet, Khady Cissé and Suspect 95 are three leaders, changemakers who are moving Côte d’Ivoire and the world forward.

I invite all innovative youth, all changemakers to raise their hands so that we can salute your courage and innovations for a peaceful and prosperous world.

Relations between the United States and Côte d’Ivoire are strong.

Let’s celebrate friendship!

I thank our Embassy team who prepared this celebration of Independence and who work every day to expand partnerships between our two countries.

I particularly thank His Excellency the Vice-President for his presence at the head of the government delegation.

I thank the sponsors of this evening for their support of our mission, our youth, and the friendship between the United States and Côte d’Ivoire.

Thank you all for being here to celebrate the future.

We are together.

Thank you.