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HomeGovernmentSecretary Antony J. Blinken With RTI Ivorian TV

Secretary Antony J. Blinken With RTI Ivorian TV

Via Translation

QUESTION:  Hello everyone, and welcome to this exceptional edition.  As you may have understood, we are outside the premises of RTI, with an exceptional guest.  Indeed, Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, is currently in Côte d’Ivoire as part of his African tour.  He has granted us an interview, an exclusive by RTI.

Hello and welcome to Côte d’Ivoire.  We say “Akwaaba” here.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Akwaaba.  Very pleased to see you.  Thank you.

QUESTION:  So, is this the first time you are setting foot on Ivorian soil?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It is the first time, and I am delighted to be here, delighted to be here for this remarkable tournament, but especially delighted to be here to meet with our counterparts in the government, to continue the work that connects the two countries, the United States and Côte d’Ivoire.

QUESTION:  We are currently at the Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium of Ébimpé, where the match between Côte d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea is taking place.  Why did you insist on attending this match?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Because, you know, for us – and I think for you and for people almost all over the world – sports, and especially soccer, connect diverse people around the world.  And when you have barriers in terms of geography, language, politics, or religion, sports, soccer, break down all these barriers, and it’s really a way to bring everyone together.  And the world has come together here in Côte d’Ivoire, coming from Africa, coming from the United States, from almost everywhere in the world.

QUESTION:  So what would be your prediction regarding how this match will end, (inaudible) the competition, if you were to make one?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Ah.  Well, listen, since I am in Côte d’Ivoire, I must say, “Go Elephants!” right?

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Let’s get back to the slightly more diplomatic aspect of your visit.  In addition to Cape Verde and Côte d’Ivoire, you will also visit Nigeria and Angola.  What motivated all these travels?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  What motivates us is primarily President Biden, for whom Africa represents the future, the future for the United States.  Soon, one in four people will be African; the voices of Africa are increasingly heard around the world in all international meetings; and for us, it represents both an opportunity and, I think, a need to connect with a rising, young population.  We had all the African leaders in Washington last year, and this trip is a follow-up to that meeting, to ensure that all the commitments we made in Washington are followed through.

QUESTION:  Speaking of commitments, indeed, in 2022, the Biden-Harris administration pledged to invest $55 billion over three years in Africa.  Where do we stand?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  All of that is in progress.  We have significant investment, especially from the private sector.  The government’s role is to incentivize this investment, to support it if necessary, for example, in risk and insurance.  And it’s going well, I believe, in the sense that we see investments not only in infrastructure but also in healthcare systems, food security, combating climate change.  All of this is happening through —

QUESTION:  And security as well?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  — and especially security because you need a security foundation to do all the other things we want to do.

QUESTION:  So in recent years, we’ve observed an unprecedented pace of visits to Africa by the United States. It seems that the continent has become a priority again under the presidency of Joe Biden.  How do you explain this paradigm shift?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It’s obvious, as I mentioned, that Africa represents not only the future but also the present.  When I travel around the world, African voices are increasingly heard.  At the United Nations, Africa and the countries that make up Africa are a significant power.  We recently included Africa in the G20 under the leadership of the United States.  We want to see Africa integrated into all international institutions and, indeed, play a role that corresponds to the weight Africa holds in the world.

QUESTION:  So let’s go back to the last U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which accelerated cooperation between your country and Côte d’Ivoire, covering various areas.  What are the priority focus areas?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  The priority focus areas are investments in infrastructure, education, health, food security, and combating climate change.  These are the most important areas, but there is also a focus on youth and women because they need to be integrated into the economies —

QUESTION:  Towards a more inclusive economy?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  A more inclusive economy, because if women were included in the economy equally with men, we would add $28 trillion to the global economy.  That’s extraordinary.  So we want to do that, but what’s important is to do it in partnership.  We listen to each other.  We learn from each other.  It’s not just an investment in dollars; it’s also an investment in partnership, in relationships.

QUESTION:  But is this partnership truly a win-win?  The famous win-win that is often talked about?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Yes, it has to be.  It has to work for the communities here in Africa, for example, that attract investment.  It has to work for them, not just for the investors.  And it’s precisely by listening to the communities, listening to our partners, that we ensure what we’re doing is truly win-win and contributes to the well-being of our partners.

QUESTION:  Because Africa, in recent years, seems to have become a battleground for influence among major powers.  At what point do we think about the future of Africans?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It’s not for us to say they have to choose.  On the contrary, for us, the question is to present a good choice.  And then people will decide.

QUESTION:  It’s for Africans to choose —

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Exactly.

QUESTION: So, for this last question, I’ll go back to the world of sport.  You’ve come during the Africa Cup of Nations, and the United States of America will host the next World Cup in 2026.  Everyone says that this CAN is the most beautiful in history.  Will you get in touch with the relevant authorities to seek advice in terms of organization?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  I’m here, taking notes, watching, listening.  The work here in Côte d’Ivoire is remarkable, in terms of organization and professionalism, and we need to learn.  We need to learn the positive lessons from what’s happening here because we do have a challenge ahead of us in organizing the World Cup.  So I’m here with my notepad.  I’m taking the lessons.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much. This concludes the interview.  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.  This concludes the interview with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has left to watch the match.  Thank you for your attention.  Enjoy the rest of the programs on RTI-1.

Official news published at https://www.state.gov/secretary-antony-j-blinken-with-rti-french-tv/

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