SECRETARY BLINKEN: It’s a great pleasure to really welcome a close friend and partner of the United States, the President of Senegal Macky Sall. Mr. President, you were kind enough to welcome me in Dakar last November. It’s a pleasure to be able to help reciprocate and have you here this week in Washington.
And Senegal has worked very closely with us to ensure the success of this summit. We’re grateful for that. I really want to commend your leadership both in Senegal itself but also in leadership of the African Union as the chair in what has been a very challenging year. But I think the leadership that you’ve shown on dealing with everything from COVID to food insecurity has been important and made significant contributions to helping get through these dual challenges.
Senegal is a very strong partner with us on security cooperation, on building economic prosperity, confronting the climate crisis, dealing with a whole host of regional issues. And so, Mr. President, today thank you for taking the time. It’s very good to continue the conversation and the partnership that we have between us. Welcome.
PRESIDENT SALL: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much, honorable Secretary Blinken, my dear Antony. It is a pleasure for me to meet you again. And above all, allow me to congratulate President Biden for the second edition of the USA-Africa Leaders Summit in order to build bridges between Africa and the United States of America.
I would really like to commend the excellent level of bilateral cooperation between our two countries – exceptional, I should say, at all levels – and also commend the United States leadership on the major issues of the day at global level – peace and security and the role of the United States in the fight against the pandemic and the emerging challenges facing us, and also commend the cooperation in particular through the MCC, Millennium Challenge Corporation. Senegal has signed a second compact, and we are currently focusing on the energy sector in order to (inaudible) bottlenecks to growth, fighting against poverty, in particular ensuring universal access and reforming the electricity sector.
But we have also come here to build and to make a new start with the United States on the issue of food security. For Africa, following the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, we have seen how vulnerable Africa was. What is at stake for us today is to have access to the grain market, to the fertilizer market. I have no doubt that the United States will be able to help us access the market at conditions that are market conditions, i.e. fair prices.
This will not only help Africa, but beyond access to grain and fertilizers we also need to build a new agriculture, a new African agriculture that is resilient and based on technology, irrigation technology, investment. And on all of these issues we have planned to have thorough discussion with our American counterparts.
I have already seen the draft declaration (inaudible) statement for this summit, which is very encouraging going forward, and we are fully supportive of it. And we would also like to commend the historic position of President Biden, and I think he’ll confirm as much with regard to granting African Union a place at the G20. And I think this will help build strong cooperation with Africa in a more dynamic way. For the remainder of issues, we will probably be able to thrash them out tomorrow and look closer into the challenges ahead.
Thank you very much for hosting us.