Well, Jay Ireland, thank you very much for a generous welcome here to General Electric in Luanda in the center of this extraordinary economic activity. I’m very excited to be here. I’m sorry that my wife is not here, because she was born in Mozambique and speaks – her first language is Portuguese. (Applause.) So I hear it around the house all the time – muito obrigadoand all that stuff. (Laughter.)
But it’s a privilege for me to be able to be here, and I want to thank Foreign Minister Chikoti for his welcome and for the opportunity to be able to meet the president tomorrow and have a good conversation about the bilateral relationship between the United States and Angola. I am particularly pleased to be here with other representatives of the oil and gas industry, a representative from Chevron, from ConocoPhilips, as well as from ExxonMobil – Esso, as you call it here. And I’m very grateful that the representative from the U.S.-Angola Chamber of Commerce is here, too.
As you’ve heard in the earlier introductions, I’m here with former United States Senator Russ Feingold, who is our – President Obama’s and my special envoy to the Great Lakes region and who is working to produce greater stability and peace in the region. President dos Santos and Angola have provided important leadership, and I want to thank you, Angola, for the leadership an the participation and the help to solve conflicts that have gone on for too long.
But as I mentioned a moment ago, we’re standing in a place of enormous economic activity with great promise for future economic growth and development. I am accompanied on this trip by the president and CEO of the EximBank, Elizabeth Littlefield, because the EximBank is very much a partner with General Electric and very involved in helping to support economic development here in Angola and in other parts of Africa.
In fact, though EximBank we have just provided a $600 million, just about a $600 million loan guarantee that will assist in the purchase of a Boeing 777 for Angola. This will grow the opportunity of, obviously, more ability to have business and more ability to have trade, and also for people to simply come to be able to engage in some of the exciting things that are happening in Angola. In addition, Exim is providing another $300 million or so of additional economic investment here in Angola.
So let me just say quickly why being here is important today. Africa is changing. Eight of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world are here in Africa. There is enormous opportunity for the people of Africa, the people of Angola, to be able to gain in healthcare, in education, in jobs, in the quality of life. And I know the government is very focused on how to provide for increased standard of living for the people of the country. That comes from fair and reasonable trade agreements where everybody benefits, where there’s an ability to create jobs. When a Boeing airliner is bought from Boeing, it creates jobs in America, but it will also create jobs and opportunity here in Angola.
General Electric has recently sold four power turbines to Angola. This is for a project in Soyo. And this will help provide the power that then generates the ability for hospitals, for schools, for homes, for cities, for stores to be able to grow and prosper. So we believe there are great opportunities on which we can build where, most importantly, Angolans will benefit.
I just spoke with the representative for ConocoPhillips, who tells me and the representative for Chevron – who tell me about the several thousands of employees. ConocoPhilipps is newer here, but Chevron has about 3,500 workers employed. So more and more Angolans are being trained to take on more and more different kinds of important jobs.
The first lady of Angola was in Los Angeles a number of years ago, and she was talking with the executives there about a disease here in Angola. A lot of people thought you couldn’t do anything about it. But Chevron, which had been working here for many years, stepped up and they talked with the Texas Children’s Hospital and they got care to be able to come her to help cure this disease for children. More than 3,000 children’s lives have been saved
So this is not just about business. This is about building a relationship between two people, two countries, and building a future. And when I look out at the economic energy out here in the port in all these containers and these ships and the work that you’re doing, I am confident that Angola, working together as you are now, will be able to help contribute to an extraordinary journey in Africa as a whole, and we will provide greater opportunity to everybody.
Thank you for the privilege. Muito obrigado. (Applause.)