I am delighted to send greetings to each of you today as you work together for a better world for all women. I especially want to thank the governments of Namibia and Spain for making this conference possible.
Conferences such as this one are so important because they help us translate our common goals into common action. So many of you are working to help women get an education, expand their economic opportunities, and participate in the political lives of their countries.
In almost every country I visit, I hear stories of women who are overcoming odds, confronting injustice, promoting peace, starting businesses, pushing old boundaries, and claiming new rights. And when women succeed, they don’t just succeed for themselves. They lift entire communities up with them.
Leaders everywhere are taking note. The African Union has declared this the “African Women’s Decade.” From advancing food security to promoting women entrepreneurs, they are working to make good on that promise.
The United States has made it a priority in our foreign policy to unleash the potential of women in Africa and across the world. Earlier this year we sent a delegation of government and business leaders – all of them women – to Liberia and Sierra Leone to ensure that women in those countries reap the benefits of 21st century technology. Last year, we brought a group of African women entrepreneurs to America to participate in the AGOA Forum and a two-week training program. They were some of the most dynamic participants at the forum, and they had some of the best ideas about how to grow African economies. African women have shown what the research has already told us – you hold the keys to Africa’s economic future.
Look at the challenges we face today: poverty, climate change, food security, war and violence, hunger, and health. Women have a critical role to play in solving all of them. And the people gathered at this conference are not just heeding the call. You are leading the charge. You truly are “Women for a Better World” – and I thank you.