U.S. business leaders gathered to learn more about trade and investment opportunities in the West African nation
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 2018 – While the Sahel region has long been embroiled in sporadic insecurity, H.E. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President of the Republic of Mali, said his country has prioritized creating a stable and secure environment to pave the way for attracting greater trade and investment in the West African nation and region.
More than 100 U.S. business leaders and investors gathered for the evening forum, where President Keita drew attention to new opportunities to strengthen U.S. and Malian relations and economic ties. The President invited U.S. business leaders in attendance to explore investment opportunities in Mali.
Acknowledging that security is the most pressing challenge facing the region, President Keïta underscored the importance of private sector investment in the country, citing agriculture and agro-processing, energy, and infrastructure as key sectors for U.S. investment.
Boosting youth employment in a country where some 60 percent are young people is another key priority to help steer youth away from joining terrorist groups and is a viable alternative to youth radicalization.
During her opening remarks, Leila Ndiaye, president of the Initiative for Global Development (IGD), noted that IGD was founded after the Sept. 11 attacks in the US because IGD founders believed that the private sector could create jobs and opportunities and expand economies to allow youth “to see hope and a future for themselves, and become integrated into growing economies, rather than being isolated and falling prey to extremists.”
“The country of Mali has taken tremendous efforts to combat terrorist activity in the region and is striving to build a strong private sector to answer the question of job creation among the most vulnerable, but yet the promising sector of the population: the youth,” said Ndiaye.
On his first visit to the United States since winning the presidential elections in August, President Keita emphasized his country’s commitment to democracy and building strong institutions. “Institutions are more important than individuals,” said the Malian president.
Ndiaye presented a plaque to President Keïta in appreciation of his participation in the Presidential Forum on Doing Business in Mali.
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The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) promotes U.S.-Africa business investment by advising, educating and forging partnerships between the US and African private sectors for sustainable economic growth and shared prosperity. To learn more about IGD, please visit www.igdleaders.org.
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