Ambassador Sullivan at Nduenga Entrepreneurship Conference

The President of the Entraide-Congo Association,

Members of YALI-Congo,

Distinguished guests, dear youth,

Mboté na bino! Nayoki bino té, Mboté na bino!

I am thrilled to take part in this closing day of the third edition of this entrepreneurship conference, titled Nduenga. I would like to congratulate Entraide-Congo, the young volunteers, and the speakers from the United States, Kenya, the DRC, and the Republic of the Congo who combined their efforts to make Nduenga 2016 a success. TOBATELA BANGO MABOKO.

This conference, created by youth and for youth, is the reflection of the model engagement and contributions from the youth in African development advocated by YALI, the Young African Leaders Initiative, launched by President Barack Obama. On August 3rd of this year at the summit in Washington with a thousand young participants in the YALI program, President Obama explained that “our objective when creating YALI was to give you the means to build contacts between you, to put resources and networks at your disposal, so that you can become leaders in the business, the government, and the civil society of tomorrow. The talent that you all contain will be the future of your countries.” Today, I am happy to see the realization of the program’s objective.

Mr. Vulcain Yengo, President of Entraide-Congo and the initiator of the Nduenga conference participated in the YALI program. In addition, Ms.Kendi Miaro of Kenya and Mr. Honoré Nzabu of the DRC just shared their experiences as young entrepreneurs with you. Many other participants of the YALI program in the Congo contributed to make this conference a reality and a success.

The chosen theme for this year, “Launching a business: awakening, challenge, and perspective” reveals the believing engagement of young Congolese in contributing to economic development to create jobs. I encourage you to pursue this awakening by these actions. As our friend Kendi Miaro of Kenya said, “Money follows value. We must focus ourselves on value added, not on money. Since it is the value added that we create that transforms our societies.”

In other words, businesses who bring solutions to societal problems are the ones that prosper. Take for example RICHEL, one of the youth businesses in the booths outside. A young lady named Rachel Kombela, who is in the room, brought a simple, effective, and rapid solution by proposing a formula for saka-saka that was pre-cooked and pre-packaged. This permits women – and men- in housework to make good saka, that we all love, in 30 minutes instead of in three or four hours. A problem, a solution! Rachel, please stand – TO BETELAYE MABOKO.

“Africa today is a place of prosperity and opportunities without precedent,” declared President Obama to youth this year in Washington. You, you are young, dynamic, entrepreneurs, smart, and more; I believe that you can see the world with an innovative perspective. You can identify numerous opportunities – problems and solutions – and you will find success.

I would like to tell you a story about two shoe venders. They were both sent to far away villages where people didn’t wear shoes. The first vender sent the following message back to headquarters, “desperate situation – nobody wears shoes. Send me the plane ticket to return!” The second sent the following message, “fantastic opportunity – nobody wears shoes! Send me containers of shoes!” Which one will you be?

Walt Disney, co-founder of the Walt Disney Company said, “To launch yourself, you must stop talking and start acting.” The frontier between knowledge and action is one of the keys to success. The knowledge that you have acquired and the relationships that you have forged during this conference will be useless if you do not believe in your dreams and start acting. NDUENGA means “wisdom”. Have then the wisdom to believe in your brilliant ideas, and to act. You must inspire yourself with your colleagues in the booths outside to become a part of this dynamic and to engage yourself to promote prosperity and well-being in Congo.

Perseverance is another key to success. Failure is an integral part of entrepreneurship, and also in life. Let go of the word “failure” and use “lesson” in its place. You will surely fall, as we all do, but have the strength to pick yourself up, use the experience to improve, and continue. Remember this Napoléon Hill quote: “All that the spirit can conceive and believe it can do.” I am convinced that Congolese youth will do great things. You can always count on the support of the American government to accompany you.

Thank you.