U.S. Affirms Friendship with CameroonJendayi E. Frazer, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs
Remarks at the Inauguration of the New Embassy Compound
February 16, 2006
Thank you, Ambassador Marquardt, for that kind introduction.
Mr. President, Ministers, ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests. It is a pleasure to be here to celebrate the inauguration of the new United States embassy compound in Yaounde.
This is a special occasion, and I’d like to echo Ambassador Marquardt’s thanks to the Government of Cameroon for joining us. I would also like to thank President Biya most warmly for being here today. I bring greetings to you from President Bush and Secretary Rice.
This embassy is a concrete demonstration of the United States’ commitment to Africa and Cameroon. As many have noted, an embassy like this one in Yaounde shows that we are indeed here to stay.
Many of you may have heard about Secretary Rice’s recent remarks on Transformational Diplomacy. In addition to our visible commitment to having a presence in Africa, we are evaluating how and where we deploy U.S. diplomats: Cameroon is a central destination! Our goal is to recalibrate where our professional talent works, taking into account today’s global realities and focusing on regions where engagement is needed most.
In the coming years, hundreds of diplomatic positions will be shifted to important emerging areas, such as Africa. We are redoubling our efforts to match the right people with the right places, ensuring that embassy employees have the skills and resources necessary for success. Our actions will also be guided by Secretary Rice’s directive that our relationship should be one of partnership, not paternalism.
Over the last five years, the United States has energized its commitment to Africa under President Bush’s leadership. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, commonly called PEPFAR, is providing care and medicine for people in need. The Millennium Challenge Corporation, or MCC, provides aid money to countries that are striving toward increasing democratization and investing in their own people.
The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, often referred to as AGOA, provides trade advantages to some 37 African countries, including Cameroon. This trade agreement aims to help countries develop their indigenous industrial sectors, by increasing their exports to the United States.
AGOA can be particularly beneficial go Gulf of Guinea countries that are trying to diversify their economies and reduce their economic dependence on oil and gas.
We are working with African countries in a variety of ways to support local efforts to resolve local challenges. Our support takes a variety of forms, whether through the consolidation of democratic tendencies, the creation of environments conducive to business development and investment, or attention to basic human needs, such as: food, clean water, and access to medical care.
We are actively engaged on the environment front through a variety of local organizations that help countries protect native flora and fauna and ensure that commercial use of forests, particularly in the Congo River Basin, is sustainable and environmentally responsible.
In our increasingly globalized world, we are ever more connected through trade, travel, the Internet, and satellite TV. Our collective well-being is therefore interdependent. It is in every country’s interest to have neighbors, whose governments are responsive to the needs of their people.
A free and stable Africa, that is both prosperous and healthy, is an American hope and foreign policy goal. We look forward to continuing work with the people of Cameroon, as you pursue your vision of a better Central African region tomorrow.