Brazzaville, December 20, 2023
Mbote na bino! (Greetings to all!)
In November two thousand twenty-two, I was pleased to officially launch the Conservation through Economic Empowerment in the Republic of Congo Activity (CEERC) in Brazzaville. Its main goal was to support local communities in and around the Republic of the great Congo Basin tropical forests of this country, to stimulate environmentally sustainable private investment, and to diversify the economy while mitigating threats to the environment.
One year later, I am delighted to participate in this ceremony to present equipment and checks to the project’s beneficiaries. This donation includes agricultural equipment for individual farmers and checks to support small and medium-sized enterprises. Recipients were chosen through a rigorous process, and I want to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues from the government of the Republic of the Congo for their support and participation in selecting the most deserving beneficiaries.
The United States’ top goal in Congo is to help the Congolese government and people preserve and protect its environmental treasures. We are the largest international donor that supports sustainable management of the Congo Basin rainforest and promotes efforts to sustainably manage, preserve, and protect its biodiversity and unique tropical forest ecosystems. This entails more than just protecting the flora and fauna but also supporting the Congolese people who live in and around these forestlands. We do this by promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly economic development through programs like CEERC. Simply put, the United States is pursuing a positive future for the planet while also seeking a bright future for the Congolese people.
In all, the United States has spent nearly seven hundred and fifty million dollars since nineteen ninety-four to protect the Congo River basin including fifteen million dollars, or about ten billion francs CFA, for CEERC.
In today’s donation, the people of the United States will invest three hundred eighty-five thousand dollars or two hundred and thirty-two million francs CFA in four medium-sized and fifteen small cooperatives working in sustainable value chains. This investment will improve employment opportunities and will generate income for almost three hundred people who live in and around Congo’s tropical forests, of whom more than half are women and indigenous peoples and while also conserving forests and natural resources.
These kinds of grants will help Congolese farmers enhance production, and sustainably manage precious resources throughout the country. If the Republic of the Congo produces more green agricultural produce, farmers will have opportunity to expand sales into international markets, including those of the United States. Since 1994, a trade agreement between the U.S. and the Republic of the Congo has helped facilitate trade between the two countries. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) also provides paths for Congolese farmers to sell their products in the Unted States. In two thousand twenty, the United States imported a hundred and forty-four million dollars’ worth of goods from the Republic of the Congo. These exports can continue to grow thanks to this initiative and your valuable partnership.
The United States will continue to work hand in hand with the Republic of the Congo towards environmentally sustainable private investment and environmental conservation.
Both President Biden and President Denis Sassou Nguesso share this vision.
Programs like CEERC, will continue to help small-scale farmers, as well as local small and medium-sized enterprises, so that together we support local communities and work for environmental conservation, income generation, and other development challenges facing us today.
Long live the cooperation between the United States of America and the
Republic of the Congo!