By 2040, one in five of the planet’s young people will live in Africa. In many places, young people already make up more than half the population. And you represent unprecedented opportunity for a continent brimming with potential.
Along with opportunity, comes responsibility. Responsibility to build on the progress of recent years, such as declining rates of poverty and child mortality, rising primary school enrollment, and greater access to clean water. Fewer violent conflicts and more free and fair elections. Growing civil society movements and stronger democratic institutions. These gains are real – and they are encouraging – but it is up to you to translate them into sustainable and lasting progress so that all Africans are able to realize their full God-given potential.
The United States will stand with you as a friend and partner every step of the way. Through efforts such as this forum, the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, and the AGOA forum, we seek to create new networks of cooperation linking African and American leaders and activists, entrepreneurs, and investors – and especially young people.
I hope this forum will enable you to learn from each other and for us to learn from you. I encourage you to this use this time to think creatively about the future of your communities and countries – and about how we can work together to turn your visions into reality. So thank you again for participating today and for sharing your ideas, perspectives, and experiences. I can’t wait to see what you achieve.