Remarks by Ambassador Daniel L. Foote
Town Hall Discussion with Mulungushi University
Kabwe, Central Province, Zambia
October 17, 2018
(as prepared for delivery)
Madam Vice Chancellor Ng’ambi, Madam Deputy Vice Chancellor Lungu, Dean Mulikita, students, thank you for the warm welcome. All other protocols observed. I will keep my remarks brief so that we can spend more time in conversation and dialogue.
Mulungushi University awarded Zambia’s first President, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, its inaugural doctoral degree in 2017 in honor of his selfless service to the nation. In the spirit of President Kaunda’s legacy and in honor of Zambia’s independence, which you will celebrate a week from today, I challenge you to think of ways to serve your nation and make a difference.
In the 10 months that I have lived here, I have had the privilege of talking to many people, especially young people. My conversations with young Zambians have helped me understand the country better, and I strive to be a bridge to help Zambians understand America better.
Young Americans and Zambians have many of the same goals and aspirations. They both want a stable country, good jobs, and enough money to raise and educate their children so that they in turn can aspire to greater things.
Zambia needs to harness the power of its youth to drive economic growth. It will take you—your drive, your zeal, your innovation—to help Zambia emerge as one of Africa’s fastest growing economies. That is why the United States focuses so intently on helping Zambia’s young people.
Each year since 2014, Zambian youth have participated in the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program for Young African Leaders. In 2018, we selected 26 dynamic youth who stood out among the more than 1,000 applicants. We are excited to provide these outstanding young Zambians an opportunity to enhance skills, learn about America, and join with other leaders from across Africa and the United States to build a network of young leaders who can share ideas and best practices for dealing with challenges that communities face.
Zambia’s Mandela Washington Fellows and Zambia’s other young savvy professionals and entrepreneurs are key drivers of this nation’s economic development and rising government and civil society leaders. The accountability, transparency, and community engagement that you demand from government will play an important role in creating a stable and business-friendly Zambia.
Zambia’s young people—its future leaders—are known for their entrepreneurial spirit. However, more of you must join the fold. I urge you to be involved both politically and economically to push Zambia toward its bright future, to include playing a greater leadership role in Africa.
As that bright future unfolds, I predict that the friendship between Zambia and the United States will deepen still further, and that our partnership will make Africa and the world a better place.