June 1, 2023
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sylla
Ladies and gentlemen
Welcome to our celebration of the 247th anniversary of our country’s Declaration of Independence.
Thank you, Minister Sylla, and distinguished guests for sharing this important day with us.
Thank you, also, to the many generous sponsors who supported today’s event.
The United States and Madagascar have enjoyed a relationship with each other for more than 150 years.
We show our commitment to this relationship in many ways.
For example, the U.S. government is Madagascar’s largest bilateral donor in the health sector and the largest single-nation provider of emergency and development assistance to southern and southeastern Madagascar.
A range of USAID programs mobilize partnerships with the Government of Madagascar and local implementing partners to design and deliver life-saving assistance in the areas of public health, nutrition, and food security.
U.S. development assistance also supports environmental protection and sustainable development and livelihoods. It supports people-to-people exchanges, governance reforms, and primary education.
This assistance is only one aspect of our relationship with Madagascar; we also have an important and growing commercial relationship.
The United States is committed to helping develop Madagascar’s economy in a way that is sustainable, open to investment, and mutually beneficial to both countries.
Last year, for the first time, trade between our two countries reached almost one billion dollars.
The United States is the largest market for two of Madagascar’s most important exports: textiles and vanilla. These exports enter the United States duty-free thanks to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
I am pleased to announce that the United States, though USAID, has helped Madagascar develop a National AGOA Strategy for 2022-2025, which we launched earlier this week.
We also work together with the Government of Madagascar to promote national and regional security through cooperation with the National Police, Gendarmerie, and armed forces.
For years we have worked with the Malagasy Navy to combat violent extremism, illegal fishing, and the trafficking of people, narcotics, and wildlife, and will continue to stand by your side into the future.
With this objective in mind, we contributed to the refurbishment of a maritime operation center in Diego Suarez which will open next week.
We are particularly pleased that two Malagasy candidates have been accepted to the U.S. Military Service Academies. These young people will begin their leadership training at the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Coast Guard Academy later this month.
This has also been a year of good news for the Peace Corps, as we celebrated the return of Peace Corps Volunteers to Madagascar following the COVID-19 pandemic and celebrate their work to return to pre-pandemic levels of engagement with the Malagasy people.
These Volunteers are already hard at work across the country, teaching English, supporting sustainable agriculture, and promoting community health.
We share Madagascar’s commitment to free and fair elections and look forward to the announcement of the election dates for later this year.
Even as we look to the future, it is important to recognize members of our Mission who have made this important work possible.
Please join me in thanking them for their many contributions.
Thank you, again, for joining us in the celebration of our country’s independence, and we look forward to visiting with you throughout the afternoon.