President Joyce Banda addressed the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC, United States, on Thursday, September 20, 2012, urging on Americans to enhance their interest, politically and economically, particularly in private investment in Africa through much stronger cooperation between the public and private sectors.
The Congressional Black Caucus is a highly esteemed group in the US of the African American members of the US Congress. According to State House Press Officer, Tusekele Mwanyongo, the audience, when President Banda addressed conference, included members of the US Congress such as Karen Bass, a member of the Foreign Affairs and Budget Committee in the Congress.
“Let me start by thanking Representative Karen Bass and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation for holding this event in my honour and that of African Ambassadors accredited to the United States. I wish to thank you most sincerely and for inviting me to make this keynote address,” said the Head of State.
“Honourable Bass and the organizers of this event, I applaud you for the theme that you have chosen for this occasion–Africa Rising: A Continent of Opportunities. This theme cannot be as appropriate as at this time. Africa is indeed on the rise and its opportunities are continuously saying ‘Africa, your time has come’.
“There is increasing optimism about Africa due to the continent’s promise and consistently rising levels of investment over the past decade,” observed the President.
Banda said Africa is rich with minerals and plants; rich in rain forest and virtual absence of emissions and effluents that harm the global environment; and that Africa has fertile land and archaeological sites containing a wide variety of flora and fauna.
“In east and southern Africa, there have been great discoveries of minerals like gold, platinum, coal, oil and gas, among others,” she said.
The President said she was encouraged by President (Barack) Obama’s challenge to Africans and Americans alike that “Africa needs partnership, not patronage” and that she was also happy to see that President Obama’s challenge was echoed by Secretary of State Clinton when she made her trip to Africa recently and talked about a model for sustainable partnership that adds value rather than extracts it.
President Banda said Africa appreciates the current US administration’s comprehensive strategy on Sub Saharan Africa based on the four pillars—to promote opportunity and development; to spur economic growth, trade and investment, third to advance peace and security; and to strengthen democratic institutions.
The Malawi leader also thanked the African Ambassadors in the US for working closely with the US administration and US Congress in pursuit of issues of common interest.
“For example, the extension of the AGOA “third country fabric provision” would not have been possible without the cooperation of the African Ambassadors, members of Congress and their staff, and members of the administration. I would like to thank you all for this,” she said.
The President said by extending the validity of the provision to 2015, Congress has demonstrated a resolve to assist the people of Africa, especially the thousands of women employed in the textile industries in Africa, to lift themselves out of poverty.
Banda said upon assuming, she set out her vision to eradicate poverty through economic growth and wealth creation; to see Malawians enjoy freedom, dignity and sense of pride; and maximize their capacity to realize social, political and economic empowerment.
“My administration then established an Economic Recovery Programme to deal with political and economic governance. The programme seeks to create sustainable and progressive monetary and fiscal policies to stabilize the economy and it also introduced austerity measures to cut on waste and promote prudent fiscal management.
“While we were challenged by poor political and economic governance for the past three years, and macroeconomic policies that hindered our growth, we are now poised for strong growth in the years to come,” said President Banda.
Banda explained that her administration has undertaken to promote a private sector- led economic growth with agriculture, tourism, mining, energy and infrastructure development as its pillars.
The press aide said President Banda informed that she established the presidential initiative on maternal health and safe motherhood and the presidential initiative on hunger and poverty reduction aimed at fast of tracking interventions to address social needs of the disadvantaged.
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