Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Natalie E. Brown at African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) High-Level Forum
Kampala, Uganda | January 17, 2023 | (As prepared for delivery)
It is lovely to be here with you this afternoon and part of this distinguished panel. My friend and colleague Ambassador Jessye Lapenn asked me to join on her behalf, as she completes her tenure as U.S. Ambassador to the AU [African Union] tomorrow. I welcomed the opportunity to be part of the discussion about international partnership and horizontal cooperation for sustainable development.
You can well appreciate the relief and gratitude that we can now proudly state that the Ebola Outbreak is over. This is thanks to the efforts of the government of Uganda, and specifically the Ministry of Health, which led the response and coordinated donor partners like the United States. This model, U.S. support for African-led initiatives, was one of the keys to success, and this type of cooperation was one of the themes of the mid-December U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.
We are very pleased with the success of last month’s U.S.–Africa Leaders Summit, which took place in Washington, DC. The Summit was a wonderful opportunity to renew and expand the partnership between the United States and the African continent. This partnership, which is extraordinary in its scope and reach, is critical to tackling the food security and climate crises; strengthening health systems and preparing for the next pandemic; building a strong and inclusive global economy; supporting good governance and respect for human rights; addressing the needs and aspirations of a growing youth populations; and advancing peace and security. Fundamentally, the Summit, and all the engagement leading up to and flowing from it, is a recognition of how critical African leadership is to confronting the era’s defining global peace, security, and governance challenges.
We recognize leadership also comes from African civil society, which is critical to the development and success of vibrant, inclusive democracies that deliver tangible benefits. The United States seeks to collaborate with a diverse range of African partners on shared priorities, focusing on the strong linkages between inclusive and accountable governance and sustainable and resilient economies.
Specifically on our partnership with the AU and Agenda 2063, President Biden hosted an event with Secretary of State Blinken dedicated to this topic. Current AU Chair President Macky Sall of Senegal and AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki participated in that event along with numerous African heads of state. There is full recognition that our partnership needs to be shaped and consistent with the AU priorities as agreed to by the continent’s leaders. During that meeting President Biden stated the plan, in working with the U.S. Congress, to commit $55 billion dollars over the next three years to advance the priorities we share and to support the Agenda 2063. That figure represents a comprehensive commitment from the United States to invest in Africa’s people, Africa’s infrastructure, Africa’s agriculture, Africa’s health system, Africa’s security, and more.
For all these reasons, I am delighted to participate in this High-Level forum with APRM. Our role as a steadfast international partner to African nations and the AU is also to delve more deeply into shared values and that common agenda, whether in bilateral or multilateral arenas, and to ensure that we are moving forward together for a broad and robust 21st century partnership.
Given the recent health crisis here in Uganda, I must underscore the U.S. role in health partnership on the continent. I was honored to be part of last Wednesday’s ceremony in Mubende declaring an official end to the Ebola outbreak and so pleased to see some many partners there, including from the Africa CDC and the East African Community. Their presence at the ceremony and engagement throughout the crisis response reinforce how an event in one country has the potential to affect many others, and the importance of strong communication and collaboration.
The United States is proud to be the world’s largest donor for global health. We are committed to working with countries in Africa and across the world, alongside regional and global partners – including Africa CDC and the World Health Organization – and with a diverse range of public, private, and civil society partners to achieve our goals for continued improvements in global health and global health security.
Closing critical gaps in African countries’ pandemic preparedness and response capacities is pivotal to achieve these goals. Strong and resilient health systems are the foundation upon which pandemic preparedness must be built. In turn, healthy citizens will be the foundation for resilient societies, which again, as I just mentioned, is the heart of our partnership.
Lastly, I would like to thank the organizers of this forum once again. My colleagues in Addis Ababa have been working with APRM to support this African-led and African-owned mechanism, in recognition of that common agenda and desire to support the policies, standards, practices to which AU member states have agreed. As we move forward in partnership, we are working together to engage more on the national levels via our bilateral missions. Here in Kampala, we are proud to be part of that continental effort.