Welcome. We’re honored to host you here in Washington.
I especially want to thank, and express how honored we are to be joined by the Heads of State who are with us today, and who you’ll hear from.
I also want to thank the ministers who are joining us today. The directors of multilateral organizations. Civil Society leaders. Private sector leaders. And Members of Congress.
I’m honored to share co-moderating duties with Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom of Ethiopia – who is such a wonderful leader on issues that matter to the people of Ethiopia and the people of the world and someone I have had the privilege to work with during my time in the private sector.
As you know, the continent is home to six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies. Just in the last ten years, real income across the continent grew by one-third and life expectancy increased by 10 percent. And looking forward to the next decade, GDP is expected to rise an average of 6 percent every year. So in many ways, the continent has become an international symbol of progress.
When President Obama visited Cape Town last year, he called for a new model of partnership between the U.S. and Africa. A “partnership of equals” that “empowers Africans to access greater opportunity.” A partnership that is only possible with healthy mothers, children, and public health systems.
We are here today because public health is an anchor of economic health and individual well-being in the U.S., in Africa, and in every part of our world.
Four Areas of Discussion
We hope to center today’s discussion around four areas:
- First: keeping the world safe and secure from infectious disease and emerging threats and challenges.
The lives we’ve lost to Ebola are a tragic and solemn reminder of why global health security must remain a top priority. Later today, I’ll be attending a meeting on how we can work together to save lives and defeat this outbreak.
- The second focus of today’s discussion is the goal we share for reaching an AIDS-free generation, building on the tremendous progress the continent has made.
- The third is ending preventable child and maternal deaths.
- The fourth is utilizing science and research to accelerate positive health outcomes. I can tell you that we in the United States look forward to working with the continent on the establishment of an African CDC.
I just want to reiterate once again how honored we are to host such a distinguished group of leaders in Washington today.
At this time, I’d like to turn the floor over to Dr. Tedros.