3 May 2014. Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. US State Department, Remarks by Secretary Kerry: Commitment to Africa. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry comments on U.S. commitment to Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 3, 2014.
Published on 6 May 2014
The United States has learned through its own experience that entrepreneurship is an essential driver of prosperity and of freedom. That’s why President Obama launched the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which this fall will bring some of the world’s brightest minds to Morocco.
With Feed the Future, which was built on the foundation that was laid by the African Union with your own Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program, the United States is investing several billion dollars to improve seed quality, to enhance farming methods, to protect against soil erosion, and link small farmers to the marketplace. To underscore the importance of these commitments, the AU has made 2014 the year of agriculture and food security.
But it is no exaggeration to say that the greatest risk to African agriculture, and even to our way of life, not just in Africa but on this planet, comes from the potential ravages of climate change.
According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, portions of Mombasa, Dakar, Monrovia, and dozens of other coastal cities could be under water by the middle of this century. Yields from rain-fed agriculture in parts of Africa could decline by 50 percent. An additional 100 million people or more will be living without water or under greater water duress as a result of the changes from climate.
When 97 percent of scientists agree that the climate is changing, and that humans are responsible for much of the change, and that it is happening faster than predicted, let me tell you something: We need to listen to that 97 percent, and we need to act. And when this continent produces less carbon than almost any other nation, when the continent produces less carbon than almost any other nation, but has the most to lose climate change, it is true there is an inherent unfairness to that equation. And there can be no doubt about it: greater prosperity in Africa is going to demand greater energy supply.
The United States wants to support Africa’s efforts to develop more sustainably, even as we move to do so ourselves, and move to curb our emissions. And that’s why, as part of the President’s bold Power Africa Initiative, a partnership that will pump billions of dollars into the continent’s energy sector, we are working with programs such as the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative. We’re leveraging public resources and private resources to support $1 billion in clean energy investment from the private sector. Climate change is a global challenge, and it's going to threaten this continent and all continents in profound ways if it is not matched by global cooperative action.
This summer we will further advance the vital work that we are undertaking together with the Africa Leaders’ Summit. This summit will be the first of its kind. Never before will so many leaders from such a diverse cross-section of the African Continent come together with the President of the United States and leaders from all across American society in the United States. It’s an historic gathering that matches the remarkable importance of this particular moment. The theme of this Summit will be “Investing in the Next Generation.