U.S.-Africa Relations: New Steps Forward
David J. O'Reilly, Chairman and CEO
Leon H. Sullivan Summit
Abjua, Nigeria, July 12, 2003
It is a great honor to be with you today on the eve of another Leon H. Sullivan Summit. This is the sixth Sullivan summit, and I am confident it will leave an indelible mark on Africa's path toward economic and social progress.
A year ago, I was privileged to share the same stage with U.S. President Bush and Nigeria President Obasanjo at the Leon Sullivan awards dinner in Washington, D.C.
That night, President Bush accepted an invitation from President Obasanjo to travel to Africa to help spread the good word about trade and investment on the continent. This week, he is making good on that commitment, and I'm sure I speak for everyone here when I say that we are deeply honored by his presence.
At that same dinner a year ago, I said we all share a commitment to Africa's future. My company certainly does. During the next five years, we plan to further increase our already substantial investments in Africa. But there's more to doing business in Africa than five-year plans for investment.
Success requires accepting broader economic and social responsibilities, and forging new public and private partnerships to create an environment in which Africa's people can realize their potential and achieve prosperity.
That's what this summit is about, and it is also what President Bush's visit symbolizes -- taking new steps to create a prosperous Africa through a strengthened relationship between the U.S. and Africa.
We salute the administration's actions, including significant commitments to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS, one of the largest public health initiatives in history, and increases in development assistance.
Africa's leaders are also stepping up to the challenges and responsibilities demanded by a greater role in the world economy. They are initiating reform.
Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation, recently made a successful transition to democracy. It is an especially appropriate venue for this year's summit.
I'm sure everyone here will join me in congratulating you, President Obasanjo, on your re-election and on your commitment to furthering the democratic process in Nigeria.
Leon Sullivan once said "even a limitless supply of money will fall short if the will to help oneself is lacking; he believed that our collective will and commitments can accomplish the task at hand."
So, presidents Bush and Obasanjo, I -- heartened by your commitment and even more by your actions -- urge this summit's delegates to once again take up the task at hand. Let's all work together to make Leon Sullivan's vision of Africa a reality.
Read remarks by U.S. President Bush
Updated: July 2003