Deputy Assistant Secretary for West African Affairs Gives Remarks about the Importance of Ivoirian Elections to Groups from Civil Society, Women Leade

Ambassador Bisa Williams during the conference (Dept. of State)
Ambassador Bisa Williams during the conference (Dept. of State)

ABIDJAN – Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, responsible for West Africa and sub-Saharan African economic policy issues, Ambassador Bisa Williams, gave remarks about the importance of inclusive, transparent and peaceful elections on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Statistique et d’Economie Appliquée (ENSEA) in Abidjan.  Before an audience comprised of leaders from civil society, heads of women’s associations, youth, and State Department exchange alumni, Ambassador Williams declared “a successful election will go a long way to help this country regain its traditional place as a regional leader and realize its goal of becoming a strong, vibrant democracy and an emerging economy by 2020.”

She reaffirmed the Government of the United States’ commitment to support the ongoing electoral process.  Speaking of this assistance, and the partnership between the U.S. and Côte d’Ivoire, Ambassador Williams underscored the importance of all the recent election and those to come in the region.  She said, “The elections are an important step in the country’s emergence and all Ivoirians have a role to play in making it a success.  Other countries facing their own elections will also look to Côte d’Ivoire to set an example for inclusive, transparent, and peaceful elections.”

Ambassador Bisa Williams during the conference (Dept. of State)
Ambassador Bisa Williams during the conference (Dept. of State)

Ambassador Williams also congratulated all the attendees, including women, youth, and the media, for their collaboration with the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) for voter registration that is transparent and inclusive.  She noted that “The youth of Côte d’Ivoire are committed to turning the page on violence and building a stronger future for themselves and their country.  You too can continue to spread the message.  Tell your peers, your relatives, all who will listen to “Go to the polling stations. Vote. Participate.”

Ambassador Williams’ remarks were followed by a Question and Answer session with the audience and a press conference with national and international journalists.  Ambassador Williams has been in Côte d’Ivoire since July 2 as part of a West African tour.   Ambassador Bisa Williams is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, with the rank of Minister Counselor. She served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Niger from 2010 to 2013. She was the Coordinator for Cuban Affairs and also served as acting Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau for Western Hemisphere Affairs.