Posts Tagged ‘DRC’

Hillary Clinton describes the Obama Administration’s Africa policy in typical Hillary fashion as resting on four pillars.

  1. Promoting opportunity and development,
  2. Spurring economic growth, trade, and investment,
  3. Advancing peace and security,
  4. Strengthening democratic institutions.

China, as we know, is  heavily invested in Africa.  Her description of that relationship as one of exploitation of natural resources in exchange for glitzy structure and infrastructure that benefits them and excludes local labor.  Her concern is the damage being inflicted by some foreign investment.

She quotes her remark to a TV interview question in Zambia in June 2011.

… our view is that over the long run, investments in Africa should be sustainable and for the benefit of the African people.

Confronted with a suggestion that the Chinese model, basically a hands-off local government model might serve African nations better than the good-governance model that could be interpreted as imposed by the west, responded:


It is easy – and we saw that during colonial times – it is easy to come in, take out natural resources, pay off leaders, and leave. And when you leave, you don’t leave much behind for the people who are there. You don’t improve the standard of living. You don’t create a ladder of opportunity.

We don’t want to see a new colonialism in Africa. We want, when people come to Africa and make investments, we want them to do well, but we also want them to do good. We don’t want them to undermine good governance. We don’t want them to basically deal with just the top elites and, frankly, too often pay for their concessions or their opportunities to invest.

Hillary Clinton’s Media Outreach: Three Interviews from Lusaka, Zambia

She mentions this speech where she spoke of sustainable partnerships that add rather than subtract value.

Hillary Clinton on Building Sustainable Partnerships in Africa

 On the subject of the disturbing downward trend in electoral democracies on the continent she refers to a speech in 2011 at African Union Headquarters where she warned African leaders that the Arab Spring could spread.  We wondered, viewing the video, why she was speaking in the dark.  It turned out that there was a power outage that occurred while she spoke that might have been a coincidence.  It is a message that older, entrenched leaders do not want to hear.  Hillary remarks upon the reluctance of some of these leaders, often seen as liberators from colonialism, to cede power.  The phenomenon is endemic on the continent.

She delivered a similar message to Arab elders at Forum for the Future in Morocco in November 2009.  Neither was that audience particularly receptive to the message of inclusiveness.  The Arab Spring was a reaction to policies that she knew then, through her interactions with civil society in Arab countries, would boil over sooner or later boil over.  A look at the slideshow in this post speaks more than 1,000 words.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at African Union Headquarters, Addis Ababa

Putting forth the example of a grassroots Senegalese movement effectively defeating Abdoulaye Wade in their 2012 election,  she posits that democratic change is possible in Africa and quotes further from her sustainable partnerships speech in Dakar.

I know there is sometimes an argument that democracy is a privilege belonging to wealthy countries, and that developing economies must put economic growth first and worry about democracy later. But that’s not the lesson of history. Over the long run, you can’t have effective economic liberalization without political liberalization … the United States will stand up for democracy and universal human rights, even when it might be easier or more profitable to look the other way, to keep the resources flowing. Not every partner makes that choice, but we do and we will.

Liberia, today so unfortunately stricken with the ebola epidemic,  stands as a shining example of democracy in Africa as Hillary points out that former enemies on the field of battle now sit side by side in the legislative chambers.

Clinton poses with a Liberian newspaper in Monrovia

Hillary Clinton’s Address to Joint Session of Liberian National Legislature

Some of you have seen a film that tells the story of a Liberian woman’s efforts to end the war. Tired of the killing and the conflict, she organized women at her church and then other churches and in mosques until thousands of Liberian women had joined a vocal, public movement demanding peace … These were women who woke up one day and said, “Enough, enough. We’re better than that …  I know that the suffering of the people of Liberia has been broad and deep. But now, you each have a chance, both personally and publicly through your service here, to make a stand against the past and for a future that is worthy of the sacrifice and the suffering that went on too long. The United States is proud to support you.


Her 2009 visit to Kenya comprised several important speaking engagements to which she refers:  The AGOA Forum (Clinton administration legislation), a “townterview” with Fareed Zakaria, a visit, with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, to an agricultural research institute, and the usual ministerials.

Hillary Clinton’s Address at the Africa Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) Forum in Kenya

Hillary Clinton’s Townterview at the University of Nairobi with Fareed Zakaria

Students greeted her with signs reading “corruption-free zone.”  At this event Hillary shared the stage with Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathi who led a reforestation movement in Kenya.  The issue of natural resources being decimated arose.  You may recall that in her very lengthy confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Hillary was asked a question about natural resources in Africa (it might have come from John Kerry, but I am not certain).  Immediately she responded that “Botswana comes to mind.”  Here she shared the same example.

Botswana’s national trust fund has reinvested profits from its resources into the population and infrastructure with such success that both the Peace Corps and USAID pulled out of the country since their help was no longer needed.  Hillary credits Botswana’s Five Ds for the success: Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline, Delivery.


Hillary Clinton at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute

Well-intentio9ned as they were,  she notes that U.S. (and other) gifts of foodstuffs undercut the market for indigenous agricultural products.  She points to the Feed the Future Program as one that supports local produce and addresses the challenge of transportation.

Hillary Clinton With Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula


She also met with President Kibaki, Prime Minister Odinga, and the cabinet.  There was tough talk,  to which she refers,  in this meeting but no transcript from the State Department.  The agreed-upon shared power in the government was not going smoothly. Her subsequent words with Foreign Minister Wetangula provide some insight into the tone she adopted, however.

The United States worked hard last year with Kofi Annan and the team of African Eminent Persons to support the Kenyan people to resolve the crisis that afflicted this country. Unfortunately, resolving that crisis has not yet translated into the kind of political progress that the Kenyan people deserve. Instead, the absence of strong and effective democratic institutions has permitted ongoing corruption, impunity, politically motivated violence, human rights abuses, and a lack of respect for the rule of law.

These conditions helped fuel the post-election violence, and they are continuing to hold Kenya back. The reform agenda agreed to by the coalition government and discussed in the speech that President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga gave this morning must be fully implemented not just to avoid a repeat of the previous crisis or worse, but more importantly, to set the stage for a better future, a future worthy of the dynamic people of this country, a future of economic growth, democratic development, social justice, and the opportunity for every Kenyan child to live up to his or her God-given potential. I wanted the leaders to know that we respect greatly the way that the Kenyan people pulled their country back from the brink of disaster once, and the ongoing connection between the private sector, civil society, and the government that is the key to resolving these issues.


Hillary’s description of her visit to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in summer 2009 is a contrasting patchwork of horror and hope.   She begins with her visit, with NBA star Dkembe Mutombo to the pediatric unit he built and named for his mother.

Hillary Clinton at the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital and Research Center

There were so many bright and lovely moments on this first official State tour of Africa.  Most of those were, sadly, not covered by the media, but no one missed the “snap in the Congo.”  In an atmosphere that Hillary describes as sour with an air of sullen resignation in a stuffy auditorium at St. Joseph’s School. everyone saw her lose patience with a question, remove her earbuds, and tell a student at a town hall that she would not be channeling her husband.

Hillary Clinton’s Town Hall With Search for Common Ground and Congolese University Students

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton arrives at a town hall meeting with Congolese university students in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa


In the book, she explains that the student came to her after the event, apologized, and explained that he had not meant to ask her President Clinton’s opinion but rather President Obama’s.

Goma is one of the the grimmest, most dangerous places on earth, especially for women.  Hillary tells of her visit there and the spirit she encountered among the residents of the refugee settlement she visited.

Hillary Clinton’s Day at the U.N. Internally Displaced Persons Camp, Goma, DRC

She says she witnessed the worst and the best of humanity there.  She was inspired to chair a U.N. Security Council meeting the next month on the subject of sexual violence in conflict regions.

Secretary Hillary Clinton Chairing Security Council Meeting Today

Secretary Clinton & Ambassador Rice: Remarks After Meeting on the Adoption of a UNSC Resolution to Combat Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict

Hillary turns at this point to her visit to Africa’s and the world’s newest country, South Sudan in August 2012 when a standoff between the breakout state and Sudan from which it had seceded was festering.  South Sudan had oil and Sudan had the ports and refineries.  Clearly some kind of cooperative agreement would benefit both, but South Sudan had shut down the pipeline to the North.

Hillary Clinton With Foreign Minister of South Sudan Nhial Deng Nhial

Hillary Clinton in South Sudan

The surface issue was fees charged by Sudan to transport and process the oil.  Hillary used an Op-Ed by one of President Kir’s former comrades-in-arms, Bishop Elias Taban, once a boy soldier.   Below the surface, the dispute rested on old battle wounds.  Hillary told him “a percentage of something is better than a percentage of nothing.”  Taban’s words moved Kir to accept a compromise.   By 2:45 the next morning, the oil flowed again.

Hillary Clinton Welcomes Oil Agreement Between Sudan and South Sudan, Calls for Peace and Humanitarian Access

Hillary writes that South Sudan’s future remains uncertain, and indeed, while this post was being assembled the State Department issued this statement.

Bishop Taban, who provided the instrument that convinced President Kir to budge was her guest at last year’s Clinton Global Initiative where she presented him with the Global Citizen Award.

CGI 2013: Closing Plenary Session

She reviews Somalia’s war-torn, terror-ridden history and our efforts to assist through several U.S. administrations.  In August 2009, the president of the transitional government traveled to Nairobi to meet with her.  She wondered if he would shake her hand, and he did so very enthusiastically which was a very big deal all around.

Hillary Clinton With Somali Transitional Federal Government President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed

They met again for a final time in their respective official positions in August 2012.  A new president was elected the next month.

Hillary Clinton With Somali Roadmap Signatories in Kenya


At a military base in Uganda, U.S. Special Operations advisors showed her a surveillance drone used in the search for Joseph Kony chief of the Lord’s Resistance Army and elements of Al Shabaab.  She notes that it resembled a child’s toy.

Hillary Clinton at Kasenyi Military Base in Uganda


She mentions the September 2013 attack by Al Shabaab on a shopping mall in Nairobi that killed Elif Yavuz who worked for the Clinton Health Access Initiative which battles HIV/AIDS and other health challenges.

Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Offer Condolences on the Death of Elif Yavuz

 In the struggle to conquer HIV/AIDS on the continent, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) begun by George W. Bush plays a major role.  She recalls this event in Johannesburg in 2009 where she was accompanied by Eric Goosby,  the State Department’s Global AIDS Coordinator, her Congressional Representative, Nita Lowey, and the late, Honorable Donald Payne who was a friend of this blog.

Hillary Clinton at PEPFAR Event in South Africa

Hillary declared a goal of an AIDS-free generation on World AIDS Day 2011.

Secretary Clinton on World AIDS Day 2011


Hillary Clinton at the Reach Out Mbuya Health Center, in Kampala, Uganda

Hillary begins drawing this Africa chapter to a close in South Africa around Nelson Mandela beginning with recollections of her visits to South Africa as First Lady, the second time bringing Chelsea with her.   A lifetime friendship ensued.



Hillary Clinton with Nelson Mandela

One working relationship that brought many smiles over the years was her friendship with South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.   She gave parties for Hillary on both of her visits.  There was a rare snowfall on Hillary’s last visit and she was called ‘Nimkita’ – one who brings the snow.

Hillary Clinton With South African Minister of International Relations Nkoana-Mashabane


Hillary Clinton with South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Hillary Clinton’s Meeting With U.S. and South African Business Leaders

Hillary Clinton at a Dinner Hosted by South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

 Hillary led a delegation of business leaders to this summit.  Our friend Grace Bennett of Inside Chappaqua accompanied Hillary’s traveling press on this trip,  and Hillary called her over to meet Maite.

Hillary Clinton at the U.S.-South Africa Business Partnership Summit


There was one last visit to Nelson Mandela.

Hillary Clinton Visits Nelson Mandela

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nelson Mandela

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nelson Mandela,  Graca Machel


Hillary Clinton at The United States – South Africa Partnership

She refers to these closing remarks in this speech.

It’s a burden being an American or a South African, because people expect you to really live up to those standards. People hold us to a higher set of standards, don’t they? And we owe it to all who came before, all who sacrificed and suffered, to do our very best to keep working every single day to meet those standards. But we mostly owe it to our future.

Many things have changed since Robert Kennedy came to Cape Town and Nelson Mandela left Robben’s Island. But some have not. The world we want to build together still demands the qualities of youth and a predominance of courage over timidity. So in that spirit, let us work together so that the values that shaped both our nations may also shape a world that is more peaceful, more prosperous, and more just.

Clintons Close CGI in Rio and Convene in South Africa to Honor Nelson Mandela

Hillary went on Air Force One with the Obamas and the Bushes.  Bill and Chelsea went from Rio.


Hillary ends this chapter with hopes for an Africa worthy of Nelson Mandela’s long walk to freedom.


Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>



Read Full Post »

Supreme Court Decision Confirming Results of the Presidential Election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 20, 2011


The United States is deeply disappointed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the electoral commission’s provisional results without fully evaluating widespread reports of irregularities. We believe that the management and technical execution of these elections were seriously flawed, lacked transparency and did not measure up to the democratic gains we have seen in recent African elections. However, it is still not clear whether the irregularities were sufficient to change the outcome of the election.

We believe that a review of the electoral process by the Congolese authorities and outside experts may shed additional light on the cause of the irregularities, identify ways to provide more credible results, and offer guidance for the ongoing election results and for future elections. We strongly urge all Congolese political leaders and their supporters to act responsibly, renounce violence, and resolve any disagreements through peaceful, constructive dialogue.

We have called on Congolese authorities to investigate and prevent election related human rights violations and we urge security forces to show restraint in maintaining order. The United States continues to offer our assistance and we stand with the Congolese people in their quest for greater peace and democracy at home and throughout the region.

Read Full Post »


What I Saw in Goma


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Op-Ed; people.com
Washington, DC
August 21, 2009


The following is an Op-Ed authored by Secretary Clinton that appeared on People.com following the Secretary’s trip to Africa. Read the article: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20299698,00.html
In 11 days of travel across Africa, I saw humanity at its worst – and at its best. In Goma last week, I saw both.

The Mugunga Internally Displaced Persons Camp sits in a land of volcanoes and great lakes on the edge of Goma, a provincial capital in the eastern Congo. The camp is now home to 18,000 people seeking refuge from a cycle of violent conflict that has left 5.4 million dead since 1998. Chased from their homes and villages by armed rebels and informal militias, these men, women and children walked for miles with little food or water until they reached this relatively safe haven.

Now they live in tents, one next to the other, row after row, some clinging to life, others hanging on to whatever glimmer of hope remains in a region plagued by years of brutality. Many of these people have been robbed of their homes, possessions, families and, worst of all, their dignity.

Women and girls in particular have been victimized on an unimaginable scale, as sexual and gender-based violence has become a tactic of war and has reached epidemic proportions. Some 1,100 rapes are reported each month, with an average of 36 women and girls raped every day.

I visited a hospital run by the organization Heal Africa and met a woman who told me that she was eight months’ pregnant when she was attacked. She was at home when a group of men broke in. They took her husband and two of their children and shot them in the front yard, before returning into the house to shoot her other two children. Then they beat and gang-raped her and left her for dead. But she wasn’t dead. She fought for life and her neighbors managed to get her to the hospital – 85 kilometers away.

I came to Goma to send a clear message: The United States condemns these attacks and all those who commit them and abet them. They are crimes against humanity.

These acts don’t just harm a single individual, or a single family, or village, or group. They shred the fabric that weaves us together as human beings. Such atrocities have no place in any society. This truly is humanity at its worst.

But there is reason to hope. We have seen survivors summon the courage to rebuild their lives and their communities. We have seen civic leaders and organizations come together to combat this appalling scourge. And we have seen health care workers sacrifice comfortable careers so they can treat the wounded.

In Goma, I met doctors and advocates who work every day to repair the broken bodies and spirits of women who have been raped, often by gangs, and often in such brutal fashion that they can no longer bear children, or walk or work. Caregivers like Lyn Lusi, who founded Heal Africa in Goma, and Dr. Denis Mukwege, who founded the Panzi hospital in Bukavu, represent humanity at its best.

The United States will stand with these brave people. This week I announced more than $17 million in new funding to prevent and respond to gender and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We will provide medical care, counseling, economic assistance and legal support. We will dedicate nearly $3 million to recruit and train police officers to protect women and girls and to investigate sexual violence. We will send technology experts to help women and front-line workers report abuse using photographs and video and share information on treatment and legal options. And we will deploy a team of civilian experts, medical personnel and military engineers to assess how we can further assist survivors of sexual violence.

While I was in the DRC, I had very frank discussions about sexual violence with President Kabila. I stressed that the perpetrators of these crimes, no matter who they are, must be prosecuted and punished. This is particularly important when they are in positions of authority, including members of the Congolese military, who have been allowed to commit these crimes with impunity.

Our commitment to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence did not begin with my visit to Goma, and it will not end with my departure.

We are redoubling our efforts to address the fundamental cause of this violence: the fighting that goes on and on in the eastern Congo. We will be taking additional steps at the United Nations and in concert with other nations to bring an end to this conflict.

There is an old Congolese proverb that says, “No matter how long the night, the day is sure to come.” The day must come when the women of the eastern Congo can walk freely again, to tend their fields, play with their children and collect firewood and water without fear. They live in a region of unrivaled natural beauty and rich resources. They are strong and resilient. They could, if given the opportunity, drive economic and social progress that would make their country both peaceful and prosperous.

Working together, we will banish sexual violence into the dark past, where it belongs, and help the Congolese people seize the opportunities of a new day.

Read Full Post »

Remarks En Route Nigeria


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
En Route Nigeria
August 11, 2009

QUESTION: I just want to know what your offer about — today, especially (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you know, I’ve been in a lot of very difficult and terrible settings in my years. And I was just overwhelmed by what I saw, both in the camp and in the conversation (inaudible) and I had with two women who met with us.

It is almost impossible to describe the level of suffering and despair, in the camp, particularly. I’ve been in camps, (inaudible). It is just tragic, to see 10,000 people in that space. And still, you know, children are still, you know, dying of malnutrition, they’re dying of diarrhea, they’re dying of malaria, the women are getting raped, they (inaudible) the confines of the camp. It’s just horrific.

And we met the two women (inaudible), incredibly, brutally, horribly attacked, and suffered extreme injuries. Thanks to that hospital, they are at least alive. As one of the women said, you know, her husband was killed. Her older children heard the guns, went out and they were killed, and she felt abandoned. So they came back into the house, her other two children that they brutally raped (inaudible).

And the other woman is a young woman living with her husband. And she was eight months’ pregnant. And she was attacked. They beat her very badly, and killed the baby and left her for dead. And it wasn’t quite clear — they were telling (inaudible) people came to try to help her, and the baby was dead, and they had to — the nearest health facility was 85 kilometers. They couldn’t carry her all that way, and she would have died anyway, because of her toxemia. So they — you know, the people around her got the baby out (inaudible) and packed her cavity with grasses, which prevented her from bleeding. And she ended up going to the hospital.

And I said, “Well, how did you end up in a hospital (inaudible)?” He said, “Well, we send people out in the forest to find these women.” What an amazing guy (inaudible) going out into the forest, rescuing women who have been brutally, savaging, inhumanely attacked, and just left there. It was an incredibly emotional (inaudible).


Read Full Post »

This is a particularly long day in an incredibly dangerous place.

Secretary Clinton Tours Refugee Camp


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
August 11, 2009

Video Link

Excerpt from AP video of Secretary Clinton  remarks after touring Refugee Camp.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I have just come from a meeting with two survivors of sexual attacks. The atrocities that these women have suffered, which stand for the atrocities that so many have suffered. The United States condemns these attacks and all those who commit them and abet them. And we state to the world that those who attack civilian populations using systematic rape are guilty of crimes against humanity.”

SECRETARY CLINTON: And today I am announcing that we will provide more than 17 million dollars in new funding to prevent and respond to gender and sexual violence in the DRC.

SECRETARY CLINTON: “I made the point that these crimes, no matter who commits them, must be prosecuted and punished. That is particularly important when those who commit such acts are in positions of authority, including members of the Congolese military.

Secretary Clinton Meets With Democratic Republic of Congo President

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo
August 11, 2009

Video Link

Excerpt from AP video of Secretary Clinton’s meeting with Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I offered, and the president accepted my sending a team of legal and financial and other technical experts to the DRC to provide specific suggestions about how to overcome these very serious obstacles to the potential of this country.

Roundtable With NGOs and Activists on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Issues


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
HEAL Africa
Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo
August 11, 2009

DR. LUSI: Secretary Clinton, we are honored to have you among us. We know that you have a very tight schedule, and you have given us this time. And we are honored to receive you. We are eager to hear what you have to say to us.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you, Dr. Lusi, and thanks to everyone here associated with HEAL Africa and all of the other groups that are working so hard. I appreciate your welcoming us here today, and I am deeply moved and admiring of the heroic work that you and your colleagues are doing.

Yesterday, I spoke with a group of young people in Kinshasa, and I said that here in Africa we can find humanity at its worst and humanity at its best. And we have seen both here, in Goma. My delegation and I have been working hard, even before we came, to see what we could do to try to assist in the ongoing efforts to end the conflict and the violence that still stalks this land, and to help the Congolese people, who have suffered enough.

I have just come from a meeting with two survivors of sexual attacks. The atrocities that these women have suffered, which stands for the atrocities that so many have suffered, distills evil into its basest form. The United States condemns these attacks and all those who commit them and abet them. And we say to the world that those who attack civilian populations using systematic rape are guilty of crimes against humanity. These acts don’t just harm a single individual, or a single family, or a single village, or a single group. They shred the fabric that weaves us together as human beings. Such atrocities have no place in any society.

Amid such abject inhumanity, we have also seen the hope and the help that you represent. We have seen survivors of these attacks summon the courage to rebuild their lives and their communities. We have seen health care workers sacrifice comfortable careers so they can treat the wounded. We have seen civil society leaders come together to combat this appalling epidemic.

In the face of such evil, people of good will everywhere must respond. The United States is already a leading donor to efforts aimed at addressing these problems. And today I am announcing that we will provide more than $17 million in new funding to prevent and respond to gender and sexual violence in the DRC.

This assistance will be distributed to organizations across the Eastern Congo, and is being targeted to respond to the specific needs that you have identified, such as training for health care workers in complex fistula repair. Working through USAID, we will provide medical care, counseling, economic assistance, and legal support to 10,000 women living in North and South Kivu, and other areas.

We are dedicating almost $3 million to recruiting and training police officers, particularly women, so that they understand their duty to protect women and girls, and to investigate sexual violence. We will be sending a group of technology experts to the eastern DRC next month, as part of an effort to equip women and front-line workers with mobile devices to report abuse, using photographs and video, and to share information on treatment and legal options.

And we will be deploying a team comprised of civilian experts, medical personnel, and military engineers from the United States Africa Command to assess how we can further assist survivors of sexual violence.

We are raising this issue at the highest levels of your government. I had very frank discussions about sexual violence yesterday with your prime minister and other ministers, and today, in my meeting with President Kabila. I made the point that these crimes, no matter who commits them, must be prosecuted and punished. That is particularly important when those who commit such acts are in position of authority, including members of the Congolese military.

This problem is too big for one country to solve alone. And I am pleased also to announce a new partnership with the Norwegian government to upgrade a medical facility in North Kivu, so that health workers there will be able to provide better treatment to survivors of sexual violence and serious maternal injuries.

Our commitment to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence did not begin today, and it will not end today.

I have come here with my long-time friend and colleague, Melanne Verveer, who many of you already know. Melanne, for many years, was the chair of Vital Voices. And some of you, I know, were with us in Washington, when we made awards to heroes on behalf of women. She now serves as the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Women’s Issues. She will continue to be a voice for you inside our government, as we work together to combat this scourge.

As we provide this assistance, we are redoubling our efforts to end the fundamental cause of this violence: the fighting that goes on and on here, in the eastern DRC. We will be taking additional steps inside our own government, at the United Nations, and in concert with other nations, to bring an end to this conflict.

I am looking forward to hearing from you. But before I turn it over to each of you, I want to thank every one of you. I want to thank you on behalf of women and men everywhere, who know what you are doing, who care about your patients, who ache for the survivors. I know the hours are long, and the work is very hard. The conditions are harsh, and I am sure that, at times, the task you face can seem overwhelming.

I was told yesterday that there is an old Congolese proverb that says, “No matter how long the night, the day is sure to come.” You are all helping to hasten the days coming, when thousands of Congolese women will be able to walk freely again, to go their fields, to play with their children, to walk with their husbands, to do the work of collecting firewood and water without fear.

We want to banish the problem of sexual violence into the dark past, where it belongs. I thank you very much, and I look forward to now hearing from you all. Thank you.


DR. LUSI: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary. We are encouraged and heartened to know that Congo has found a friend, a friend of women. And now I would like to turn it over to the people around the table, who represent so many of the organizations who have worked hard, and long, and continually, and with great commitment. And they will add some ideas, as well, of what our friend can do to help us.

So, let me start with Justine.

SPEAKER: (Via translator.) Thank you, Madame Secretary, dear guests. Women in North Kivu would like to welcome you all, and allow us to say something about impunity, as impunity is one of the problems that we — that the populations who are a victim of violence, sexual violence and other crimes — is a problem that we fight, impunity.

Impunity in the DRC exists because the — our leaders don’t have much of a willingness to prosecute the authors. For instance, Aganda, and other authors of these crimes. And the weakness to implement laws, especially laws that deal with sexual violence, in particular part of the problem, and the fact that we cannot have access to criminals that belong to LRA and FLDR. Children are killed, women are raped, and the world closes their eyes.

The international justice is not (inaudible) to this — can be (inaudible). Justice exists, can act, it’s credible, but it’s slow, and that’s a limitation. And because it is slow, evidence disappears, and there is a limited number of trials. And there is the distance that separates, you know, the place where the crimes were committed, and the place where trials are held.

So, in view of this, we would like to propose the creation of mixed courthouses that — be created with international courts. So these mixed chambers, or joint chambers, would be credible, because the personnel would be made of foreigners and Congolese. They are independent, and they do not suffer from interference and corruption. And they bring those who should be judged closer to justice.
Time is short. It is easy to carry out investigations that goes a little faster than when international justice alone does it. But that’s better than national, domestic justice.

There is — it doesn’t — these mixed courts do not replace entirely national justice. But I think it is a way for — thank you very much.


SPEAKER: (Via translator.) Madame Secretary of State, His Excellency the Ambassador, CARE International wants to thank — all the intervention that were designed to fight impunity must go along with helping the victims of sexual violence.

Now, CARE International and other humanitarian agents are asking for access to health care, and also confidentiality, in the context of a strategy that is led by local authorities that could help the local people, and especially pregnant women and those who have a need for health, reproductive health.

Except and besides medical assistance, and besides help to the victims, there needs to be a psycho-social assistance that could help and assist also financially and economically, to help survivors to be helped to reintegrate into society.

CARE also commits to help in multi-sectoral areas, to help in the community, and help the women’s role in society. All these interventions have the goal to prevent violence through behavioral change. And I thank you.


SPEAKER: Security will come. Peace will come. But we have other challenges. The education is the main one. Somewhere, where Children’s Voice are doing activities for helping children, only five percent of children have been to school. Somewhere in other activities, 95 percent of the population do not know to write or to read. Most of kids or young persons recruited in army — I mean in armed groups — have not been at school. And those people will be in the army and police.

Of course, the country needs to develop many things. The villages will be again full. I mean the (inaudible) will be back. But what will happen if you need — I mean, when you want to help a country? Please think about children and young people.

Of course, we have many challenges in this country. We are very happy that you are here. The international community has already done their best, really. But very nice that you are here. And we hope that you will help the country, you will help the government of DRC, to do what is very important for people. We need to educate pupils, young men, young women, and then the development will follow.

Of course, we have many children in the street. That is because most of parents don’t know what to do, how to help them, because scholarship is not there. Scholar fees are paid by the parents. Parents are not paid any more. We hope that you will be our ambassador to your country, to your government, and you will be back to help this country. Thank you.


SPEAKER: (Via translator.) Madame Secretary of State, Madame Ambassador, we waited a long time for this particular moment here, and we — for engagement against the sexual violence struggle. We need peace, we need security, and I think this is the priority of all priorities, to stop, to put an end to the cycle of violence.

The military operations are — continue to be carried out. But these military operations are not a solution to the problem. That’s why, when it comes to security, we would like that you — the leaders of the countries of the Great Lakes — Rwanda, Congo, and Uganda — so that — will take on their responsibility to protect their citizens.

We all know that it’s not just a Congolese problem. So that’s why we think that, for peace and security to come back, we have to pressure the neighboring countries so that they accept (inaudible), so that the (inaudible) will peacefully go back to their country —


SPEAKER: — because we now know the worst — with villages, they are burned down, numerous cases of sexual violence, and other problems.

Still talking about security, we know that the DRC does not have a Republican Army. And therefore, it is considered like the soft belly of this region. And, therefore, it’s a real base for terrorists, and this continues to be the case for as long as security measures are not taken here.

So, the situation here is a mixture of civilian and militaries of all types and categories. The people would not have the same laws.


SPEAKER: The reason we ask the United States to help the DRC to form a Republican Army, united, with no roots, who could take the place of the United Nations, when it leaves. And this army should be complemented by police, a police with women


SPEAKER: And thank you very much for what you said during your presentation, Madame Secretary. You said that there will be police with women here to protect civilians, and particularly women and children.

And, finally, I will also plead for the freedom of the press. Many media outlets have been banned here, in the DNC. And even a radio station, Radio Mudanga, was banned. Therefore, we ask you to please plead in favor of freedom of expression. Thank you.


SPEAKER: Madame Secretary, first of all, I want to thank you for considering to come in Congo, and specifically in Goma, because it shows us that this administration considers Congo as — and the people of Congo — a vital component of U.S. foreign relations.

Resolution 1820 was supposed to make the United Nations more sensitive to the issue of sexual violence. But yet we still see too many women and too many children have been raped, violated, not far from those camps of UN sometimes. And we have seen cases of UN soldiers and UN staff, not only UN but even other international organizations, committing those rapes. We want to know what is happening with them. If they have been judged in the country, I think the population of Congo needs to know what the judgment has been.


SPEAKER: Another problem we are having that we need to address today is the presence of this many UN staff and international NGOs. Their presence has caused the cost of life to go very high all over the country, and specifically here, in Eastern Congo. We are having problem — local people having problem — to even find comfortable housing, affordable housing, because ex-pat have the cash and locals don’t have the cash.

We are asking that Resolution 1820 be enforced. We are asking, as well, that the rule of the international community and the UN be redefined, because if they cannot protect our women and our children, I don’t see why they should stay here.


SPEAKER: Madame Secretary of State, Madame Ambassador, as those who preceded me, I would like to say that we are very honored by your visit here, in the Eastern Congo.

I would like to talk about the self-congratulations of certain agencies. And I think that the obligation to protect is the obligation of international law. So that should be the first role of the United Nations.

Today — and I am talking as someone who had come to her province, to her country after 20 years of war — we know, we really know, the stakes. We have received many, many visitors, each more important than the one before. We have received many, many celebrities, too. At the end, we have the impression that people only came to consume human poverty, human misery. And, in the end, all that we got was a pile of business cards.


SPEAKER: And after, to, you know, have good conscience — and I am talking as a native of this country — the only thing they had for their good conscience said that — through the radio we heard about the millions of dollars that “we gave to the Congo,” but when you went to the more distant villages, the beneficiaries didn’t even have access to the aid that was given to the people themselves.

So, coming back to the responsibility to protect, in 2004, when we — the (inaudible) was attacked, we saw the UN take care of the expatriates, rather than the Congolese, for whom they had come to the Congo for, so we were really vexed by that.

SPEAKER: So, you see around this room — you see (inaudible). That means, you know, the posters here. Women are more precious resources, but we look to the Congo for mineral resources, forgetting that our first more important resource is the woman. Woman is who gives life, the life that we’re destroying here.


SPEAKER: Madame Secretary of State, besides your function as Secretary of State, you are a woman, like us. We know your history, political history, and you have the chance, the fortune of — to have at your side Ambassador Verveer, who is also our ambassador. And she represents hope.

And I want to come back to the war that we have here, in Eastern Congo. This is a stake only to really get the resources from DRC. Certain western countries that I will not mention here, because the reports are everywhere — and those are UN reports, really — those reports mention certain western companies, and I hope that they will not be forgotten. And I think that they will be acted upon. And the investigations must take place, so that responsibilities must be found out and responsible parties must be punished.

As Ms. Chou Chou said, the problems of Congo — international problems, not just Congolese problems — many western countries really manipulate certain neighboring countries because they want to take the resources here. And, Madame Secretary, we want you to be our spokesperson, our voice, Madame Secretary, so all this stops.

So, if they want to explore our minerals, but they — let — do it legally and adequately, so that the Congolese take a really — reap the benefits of this (inaudible) our riches. Thank you very much.


DR. LUSI: We are now going to ask Dr. Mukwege to summarize what he has heard.

DR. MUKWEGE: It’s a very difficult task. Madame Secretary of State, this is a very important day for us. This is not a day to be receiving business cards, but this is a day to find a solution, and a solution that will be long-lasting to the problems that have torn this country apart. And we are honored for your visit here, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Those who spoke before me tried to paint the situation. And what we can remember here is the two things that have been said most often: rape and peace. And when we summarize, we see that there is sexual violence because there is no peace. There would be no solution if we don’t understand why there is no peace.

Now, if you analyze what the previous speakers have said, there is a problem of a lack of commitment, political commitment of regional leaders in the Great Lakes region that do not want to stop the situation that has been going on for the last 15 years. There is also an army in the Democratic Republic of Congo that is not well trained. And with all these resources, mineral resources, there is a real problem when the army is not trained and well paid.

What we have also understood is that all the citizens, based on the international law, have the right to be protected. And the United Nations, through MONUC, are here. But the way the United Nations operate is a serious issue, because the local population are not protected as they should be.

And we believe that, Mrs. Secretary of State, the solution goes through this solving of fundamental issues. And she said that. And we suggest that the very first thing to do would be to tell regional leaders to be conscious and responsible of the populations. And it is important that we help the Democratic Republic of Congo. Because as long as there will be weakness and turmoil, soft belly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, there will always be a problem in this region.

The mineral resources of the Congo, the exploitation of those mineral resources, must be under strict rules so that we will not allow those who rape, so that they will not continue to use the mineral resources to carry on their evil tasks.

We also want organizations that take care of the socio-economic conditions of the population.

We also want to stress the fact that we do have a justice system, but there is also an international justice system through the international courts. But you understand that the international tribunal cannot take care of all the issues that are taking place in the Congo. So, my suggestion is that we will have in place a tribunal that will take care, or rule, over cases that — or crimes that have been committed since 1983.

There is also the problem of illiteracy that makes the population that, even if there is peace in the land, and is not trained or intellectual, or cannot read or write, literate, there will always be a problem.

Mrs. Secretary of State, we are very honored, and we have understood that the first introductory words that you said were very complete. And, as Christine said, right now we will not just receive a business card, but there is going to be long-lasting solutions, because we know that you have compassion for women in the Congo. And I would like to thank you.


DR. LUSI: Madame Secretary, we would like to know if you have any questions to ask the panel.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me tell you how grateful I am for the very specific suggestions, as well as the analysis concerning the overall situation that the people of the Congo face.

I think it is important to try to work with your government to address a lot of these. And I told President Kabila today that if he were willing, I would send a team of legal and technical and financial experts to try to provide suggestions about how to do a number of the things that you are talking about.

For example, you need new laws and regulation to protect the mineral resources of your country, for the benefit of the Congolese people. You need an army that is, as the doctor just said, well paid and well trained, that will protect the people and not feel as though it has to feed off of the people, and victimize the people.

There needs to be a process that President Kabila began with his outreach to President Kagame, which I know was controversial, but which I thought was an act of leadership. Because, as several of you have said, unless there is a regional agreement to try to end the violence and build a better future for the region, it will be difficult for the DRC to do that alone.

On each and every one of the points that you made, we will try to help. But I want to emphasize something I said yesterday, when I spoke with the young people. Just as President Obama said in his historic speech in Ghana, the future of Africa is up to the Africans. The future, ultimately, of the Congolese people is up to the Congolese people. There have to be changes, politically. There have to be changes in the impunity. There have to be changes that only the people of this country can demand, and can help bring about.

We will try to provide the help that we’re both asked for and that we think could be useful. But, ultimately, that help has to be received, changes have to be implemented, people have to be committed. And I hope that we’re beginning to see that, here and in the region and internationally.

I will also raise the issues that have been raised concerning the UN and the problems that come with the NGO community arriving in a location such as Goma and displacing people, and raising the cost of living. Those are very real problems that have quite severe effects on many people.

So, there is much to be done. I do not want to overpromise. I am not just here to leave a business card, but I don’t have a magic wand, either. But what I do pledge to you is that we will work. We will work hard. We will work with your government, we will work with groups like many of you represent. We will work with individuals, the private sector, civil society, to try to help resolve the conflict and provide a better future.

But it is ultimately up to the people here. And I have seen so many examples of courage. I know the Congolese people do not lack in courage. And I know they do not lack in hard work or perseverance or survivorship.

So, I hope that we will see the changes from within and outside that will lead to the end of these problems so that our children will not even know what we were talking about. Thank you.


DR. LUSI: I would like to say once again, in the name of everybody around the table and everybody in this room, how much we are grateful for your visit, and how we have listened with attention to what you have to say. And we know that you have listened with attention to what we are saying.

Now, Secretary Clinton will have to leave, because she has such a tight schedule. And I ask you to please stay seated in the room, please, while the delegation leaves. Thank you very much.

Remarks With Congolese Foreign Minister Alexis Thambwe


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo
August 12, 2009  (August 11)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. And also I wish to thank the President for receiving me and my delegation today here in Goma. We had a very productive, candid, open, comprehensive discussion. As the foreign minister mentioned, I told the President that President Obama and I want to see a new era of partnership in our relationship with the DRC and the Congolese people.
We know that the DRC, its government, and people face many serious challenges, from the lack of investment and development to the problem of corruption and difficulties with governance to the horrible sexual and gender-based violence visited upon the women and children in the country. We know these are big challenges, and we are ready to help the government address them. I offered and the president accepted my sending a team of legal and financial and other technical experts to the DRC to provide specific suggestions about how to overcome these very serious obstacles to the potential of this country.
We have offered our partnership and assistance, but as I said yesterday, the future of this country, like the countries throughout Africa, is really up to the people. And we hope that there will be a better future for the Congolese people.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you. We discussed in some detail with the president what the situation is now. He said that it is better than it was six months ago and a year ago and five years ago, but it is not what it needs to be yet.
I commended the president for his outreach to Rwanda and other neighboring countries, which is an important part of trying to bring peace and stability to the eastern Congo. And we have begun a discussion as to what ways we could be of help to the Congolese military, including enhancing the training that we are doing, trying to professionalize the military, trying to ensure that the soldiers get paid so that they will not feel so undisciplined.
But of course, we raised concerns about the behavior of soldiers, and I sought specifically for an update about the five senior officers who have been charged with rape. And we are going to continue to work with the government as well as our international partners, including the United Nations, to see how all of us could do more to end the reign of violence that has afflicted the people in the northern and southern Kivu province for too long.
MODERATOR: Mary Beth Sheridan –
(Question unrecorded.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are very concerned about civilian casualties, both deaths and rapes and other injuries from the military action. We talked at length on the flight here with the United Nations representative and his team about what their forces can do to try to protect civilians. They are launching joint protection teams. We are going to be following that closely, offering whatever assistance we can. And I spoke at length with President Kabila about the steps that need to be taken by the Congolese army to protect civilians.
QUESTION: (In progress) …or insecure?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We do support the efforts to end the militias and the violence they have visited so terribly on the people of eastern Congo. We believe that a disciplined, paid army is a more effective fighting force. We believe there can be more done to protect civilians while you are trying to kill and capture the insurgents. We believe there should be no impunity for the sexual and gender-based violence committed by so many, and that there (inaudible) prosecutions and punishment, because that runs counter to peace and stability for the Congolese people.
And I look forward to returning to Goma sometime in the future and traveling through this beautiful part of your country.
MODERATOR: Janine Zacharia from –
(Question unrecorded.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: First, with respect to companies that are responsible for what are now being called conflict minerals, I think the international community must start looking at steps we can take to try to prevent the mineral wealth from the DRC ending up in the hands of those who fund the violence here.
Of course, you know that many of the mineral producers are very small operations. They are not corporations even. They are certainly not international, so this is a very challenging problem but we’re going to address it.
With respect to Aung San Suu Kyi, she should not have been tried and she should not have been convicted. We continue to call for her release from continuing house arrest. We also call for the release of more than 2,000 political prisoners, including the American John Yettaw. (Inaudible)

(Questions unrecorded)

FOREIGN MINISTER: I would like to answer two questions that you asked, the one about China and the second (inaudible). For more than a hundred years the riches of the Congo have served to develop foreign countries but not the Congo or the people of the Congo. Geologists say that, as far as our country’s concerned, it’s a geological scandal. But it’s a geological scandal doesn’t really serve the people of the Congo. (Inaudible) so far with (inaudible) beneficial to other countries and detrimental to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The (inaudible) government to – has asked the government to study the different approaches to work with other partners who are willing and able to cooperate with us and use our mineral resources and, in turn, help us with our infrastructures.

This country is as big as Western Europe. We don’t have a single road that goes from north to south or east to west. So the government wanted to see how we could work in partnership with countries, not only with China, but with other countries that are willing to help us with our infrastructure so that we can solve problems with electricity, water, and poverty in exchange with our mineral resources. So it’s not a matter of numbers, but it’s a matter of working with anyone, any other partner who is willing and able to help us improve our infrastructures.


The reason for the U.N. planes is that the airstrip in Goma is not long enough to accommodate her 757.  As you can see, the camp is well-guarded  by U.N. forces.

08-11-09-S-01 08-11-09-S-02 08-11-09-S-03 08-11-09-S-04 08-11-09-S-05 08-11-09-S-06 08-11-09-S-07 08-11-09-S-08 08-11-09-S-09 08-11-09-S-10 08-11-09-S-11 08-11-09-S-12 08-11-09-S-13 08-11-09-S-14 US Secretary of State Escorted by MONUC Troops at Goma Airport Goma

Read Full Post »

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton arrives at a town hall meeting with Congolese university students in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa


-08/10/09  Interview by Christian Lusakueno of Raga TV;  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
-08/10/09  Interview by Jaldeep Katwala of Radio Okapi;  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Read Full Post »

Remarks at the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital and Research Center


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
August 10, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am very honored to be at this hospital which is such a place of hope and healing, particularly with its emphasis on mothers and babies, which is very close to my heart. Dikembe built this in honor of his mother, who I had the privilege of meeting in the White House in 1994.

MR. MUTOMBO: Four, yes.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And so for me it’s like coming full circle, having met his mother and knowing how much she inspired and supported him, and now he has taken his extraordinary success as a professional basketball player and has one of the biggest foundations in Africa, working not only here in his home country, but around the continent to help provide services to people. And it’s a great tribute to his mother and to the values that she raised him with.

MR. MUTOMBO: Thank you, Madame Secretary. For me, all I will say is that we are honored to have Madame Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to visit us here. You know, this hospital was such a dream, and today becoming a reality and serving the community of more than 3 million people. And we are trying to save as many lives as we can. In all, we think that Congolese people deserve better health care, and we hope that what we are doing here, we’re just setting an example so that people can have hope and so that their future is more close to them, that there are people there in America, at least somewhere else, who are thinking about them.

Thank you, guys.


Read Full Post »

Secretary Clinton Meets Wth Embassy Personnel and Their Families


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Chief of Mission Residence
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
August 10, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: (In progress) here is expanded. We have already seen the benefit of your hard work to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. We are enrolling more than a million children in educational programs (inaudible) include governance and promotion of human rights as well as (inaudible) humanitarian assistance, and to assist American citizens and American businesses in providing the (inaudible) that is necessary.We’re going to be asking a lot of you because we think that there is a lot we can do together (inaudible) this country, not only government-to-government, but people-to-people. So I really welcome your ideas. (Inaudible) our State Department website, my Secretary website, and offer your suggestions and (inaudible) with any ideas that you think we ought to be considering.

I’m working hard to increase the funding for State Department and USAID. We’re also beginning to address the disparity in pay between officers who serve overseas and officers who serve in Washington. We’re going to keep accountability in pay as a top priority in trying to resolve that disparity once and for all.

President Obama and I, along with (inaudible) thank you, and we thank our Congolese partners who work at this mission. And we are very intent on realizing the promise of a stronger U.S.-Congolese partnership.

I’m also well aware as I travel around the world now (inaudible) 16 and a half years, how hard it is to do these trips. When somebody like me drops in, it takes a lot of work in addition to everything else that you are doing. And I want to (inaudible) I know what goes in to a trip like this.

But I’m also well aware of (inaudible) that I think certainly should be followed in this case, and that’s a wheels-up party. When I finally leave the territory of the DRC and I become the responsibility of your counterparts in Nigeria, you all deserve to (inaudible) because I know how difficult it’s been to make all the arrangements. (Inaudible) work, and it’s work that is important and consequential, and work we literally would not (inaudible) without your leadership and your commitment to opening this relationship (inaudible).

Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)

Read Full Post »

Prior to this “snap”  she had learned that Dr. Paul Farmer had withdrawn from the vetting process to become Administrator of USAID, a process she had called “infinitely frustrating.”   The following day Farmer was appointed as the Deputy UN Special Envoy for Haiti, by Bill Clinton, UN Special Envoy for Haiti.  To be clear, the frustration was not with her husband, it was with the White House vetting process. 

Town Hall With Search for Common Ground and Congolese University Students


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
St. Joseph’s School
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
August 10, 2009

MS. BAROANI: (Via interpreter) Mrs. Secretary, Mr. Dikembe Mutombo, dear friends from the international and local press and dear friends of the students of Kinshasa, good afternoon. (Inaudible) good afternoon.

AUDIENCE: (Inaudible.)

MS. BAROANI: (Via interpreter) It is an honor for Search for Common Ground to be able to welcome you. That Mrs. Clinton is here in this room today to exchange with you, university students of Kinshasa, is a recognition that you are the leaders of tomorrow, the dynamics of the change for a prosperous and democratic Congo. It is this recognition that’s at the basis of the collaboration between Search for Common Ground, of which I am the director in the DRC, and COJESKI, the Collective of Organizations of the Youth in the Congo. With the support of USAID, we organize town hall meetings between students, authorities, and elected representatives for the promotion of good governance. These exchanges, as today’s, focalize on dialogue, because without communication, we do not have real information. Without dialogue, we cannot have the understanding of the other people in order to find common points, despite differences.

It is with this approach of finding a common ground that we work in the DRC since 2001, through radio and television programs, through training, cultural activities, and sensitization activities with use of the civil society organizations, the Congolese Army, and the country’s authorities.

For Search for Common Ground, it is a real honor to welcome the Secretary of State of the United States as well as Mr. Mutombo. Mrs. Secretary, who is part of a government that shows its willingness to have a dialogue, a frank and sincere dialogue, on all present questions. It is President Barack Obama himself who said nobody is excluded from the search of common ground. We are, therefore, proud to be here before you, the 140 university students of Kinshasa who have come from different institutions. I myself, when I was a student at Stanford University, I was very active. I know that Mrs. Clinton was president of the students when she was at Wellesley College. These moments of activism are moments which mark somebody’s life. If you’re young and you can change something, you become loyal to these principles of activism throughout your life.

Mrs. Clinton, we know that you have studied law, and as we have just seen, the person who will give you the floor is Khande Yollande , who is a student of law. She is also the provincial coordinator of Kinshasa for COJESKI. It is a pleasure to give the floor to Mrs. Yollande, and once more, welcome.

MRS. KHONDE: Good afternoon. Thank you, (inaudible), to give me the floor. In the name of COJESKI DRC, it is an honor to welcome Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Mutombo Dikembe among us – not just an honor, but an opportunity, an opportunity first for us women to dialogue with a woman who has gone beyond her limits. After your track record as teacher, lawyer, First Lady, you were not satisfied yet. You became elected senator, and finally to become a presidential candidate of the United States. Now, as Secretary of State of the United States, Mrs. Clinton, you are among the most important politicians in the world. Your track record is fascinating. What can you tell us today, and dear comrades, what are the questions that you would like to ask Mrs. Clinton?

It is a privilege for me as well to say welcome, even if it is in his homeland, to Mr. Mutombo Dikembe, after having spent part of his youth in the country. You’ve gone to the United States, where you became one of the most reputed basketball players, but even more through your work like the Hospital Biamba Marie Mutombo in Masena, and working with youth, you are a model of patriotism.

I am particularly happy to welcome you today before my comrades, students of Kinshasa, because this kind of exchange is not – doesn’t happen often here. I am the coordinator, provincial coordinator, of COJESKI National Youth Network, which has existed for the last 14 years in Kinshasa, (inaudible) for human rights and the promotion of values – I’m sorry, the sound is gone.

In order to start a dialogue with our authorities, the doors are closed for us. Our universities and superior institutions are full of corruption, intimidation, and tribalism, violence and anti-values. For us, the students, there is a further challenge: the inequality. This is why our activities with Search for Common Ground encourage us. It is through the town hall meetings that we see the importance of dialogue and, particularly, of transparency. It is through these exchanges that we are planting the seeds of change which are taking root now.

Please be at ease, comrades. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Mutombo are with us for a frank and open dialogue. Listen – let’s listen to their advice. Let’s take advantage of their experience, because tomorrow it is going to be us to take the relay. Welcome to you all. Thank you. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Yollande. And I loved hearing your words that showed such energy and commitment to the future of your country. Léon, thank you for what you’re doing with Search for Common Ground. The cooperation between Search for Common Ground and COJESKI is a very important partnership. I also want to thank Father Charles and Saint Joseph’s School for the use of this auditorium today.

And I’m delighted to have Dikembe with me in his country. I have known him in my country. In fact, I first met him in 1994 when he came to the White House when my husband was president. And I had, at that time, a chance to meet his mother as well. And now I’ve just visited the hospital that he built in memory of his mother. And I think it is fair to say that he is a true patriot of this country. He is an all-star on the court and an all-star as a human being, and I am very pleased he could be here.

I also want to bring greetings to you from President Obama. He has deep ties to Africa, and he is proud to be a son of Africa. He wants the United States and the Democratic Republic of Congo and other African countries to be partners and allies to face the challenges that confront us.

I think it’s important to note that the dialogue we are having today is supported by the United States Government because we believe in democracy, in good governance, in the rule of law, in human rights and women’s rights, in peace building, and we want to be a partner with you – not only with your government, but with the people of the DRC.

I think that student leaders like yourselves are the ones who have to speak out for the progress that you seek, speak out to end the corruption, the violence, and the conflict that have for too long eroded opportunity across this country. Together, you can write a new chapter of Congolese history.

President Obama said last month in his historic speech in Ghana that the future of Africa is up to Africans. It is up to Africans to address the challenges that are holding back millions of young people from fulfilling their God-given potential. I have always believed that talent is universally available across the world, but opportunity is not. There are millions of people who could be doctors and lawyers, basketball stars and presidents, leaders of all kinds, who will never get the chance. And in this country, with a life expectancy of 45, think of the potential that is lost.

I am here today because the United States is committed to the people of the DRC. We believe in your promise and your potential, and we want to be your partners in strengthening democratic institutions, building civil society, and creating an economy that spreads the wealth of its country to more people.

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at a town hall at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. Wangari Maathai was there. She is the great Kenyan environmental activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize. She made a comment that stuck with me. Here is what she said: “Africa is rich. The gods must have been on our side when they created the planet, and yet we are poor.”

I thought about her comment again a few days later when I toured an AIDS clinic in a rural part of South Africa that has chronic poverty and one of the highest HIV rates in the world. It is also in the area where the largest diamond ever found was discovered. Yesterday, I was in Angola, one of the biggest oil producers in the world – now the seventh biggest oil producer in the world – yet the majority of people live in poverty. Tomorrow, I will go to Goma, an area wealthy in mineral resources, to visit with refugees and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. That is truly one of mankind’s greatest atrocities.

This continent and this country have seen humanity at its worst. But you have also seen it at its best. You see it in the many acts of kindness between people who help each other even though they themselves have so little. You see it in a man who did so well in America, but decided to build a hospital that treats 100 patients a day and has created hundreds of jobs in the country he calls home. You see it in the activists from Kenya to Ghana, from South Africa to Senegal, who are leading movements against poverty, hunger, violence, and environmental destruction. You see it in Mo Ibrahim, one of world’s most successful entrepreneurs who decided to bring cell phones to Congo when no one else thought it was worth the investment.

I saw it in women researchers in Kenya who are developing new techniques to improve agriculture for African farmers, particularly the 70 percent of whom are women. I saw it in a woman I first met in 1997 in Cape Town, a homeless woman who had been pushed from her village by apartheid and was squatting on the side of a road, who decided she wanted to build a home. And she didn’t wait for government. She didn’t wait for a university. She didn’t wait for anybody. She began to talking to her neighbors and then studying about what they could do, this woman with no education at all. And they decided to form a group, and they would save their money, the small amount of money they made from working in a home or sweeping a street or selling vegetables in the market. And when they had saved enough money, they began to build homes.

I visited in 1997 when they started. I brought my husband when he was President Bill Clinton back in 1998, and I went back a few days ago. These uneducated women and a few good men have built 50,000 homes in South Africa.

There are so many people who are battling against the odds. They need help. They need support. They need government leaders and business leaders who will understand the struggle and be part of the solution.

Now, you are students, and I remember I was once a student. And sometimes it is hard to know, what can I do to address the crisis in Goma and eastern Congo or take on corrupt officials or stand up for the fight for equality?

This is a big and diverse country, but it is one country and it deserves your best efforts to help make a difference. And you never know what might happen once you start working with people who need leadership, advice, and counsel, speaking out on behalf of those who are voiceless. You don’t have to be a 7-foot, 2-inch all-star basketball player or have an arm-span that reaches across two continents. You can use new technology. Use those cell phones to help organize, create political movements, expose crime and violence and corruption, empower the poor with information, access to credit, and social networks. Members of COJESKI are already demanding higher standards for yourselves, your government, and your country.

So think about what you will do both as students and when you finish school and become politicians or civil servants or teachers or journalists or military officers or entrepreneurs, lawyers or judges. And do not forget the commitment you feel today to making the change that your country deserves.

The United States stands ready to help you. We know that the promise of the DRC is limitless. We will help you build a strong, civilian-led government that is accountable and transparent, an independent judiciary, a professional military that respects human rights, a free press, and an active and engaged citizenry, a society whose institutions follow the rule of law.

I appreciate your being here this afternoon because I want to listen even more than talk. I want your ideas and suggestions about what we can do better. President Obama and I are committed to this effort. We see Africa as central to the future of the world, and we know that right here in the center of Africa there is so much we can do together for the betterment of the people of the DRC.

Thank you all very much.


MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) As we start on the questions, she said she was here to listen to us, so let us exchange.

We’ll start with whom? Okay, now, the rules. You get up, you say your name, the university or institute where you’re studying, and the question. Okay. We’ll get start – we’ll start a man and a woman. Okay.

Thank you very much for the floor.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) My name is Willie Kalahar, University of Kinshasa. I have one concern only. We want to know today that each year – almost each year our reports are published with regard to human rights violations in the DRC, and also with regard to the pillage of resources, mining resources of our country and forest resources as well. And with regard to all these reports, we have never heard a single declaration from the United States, be it to condemn the Congolese authorities involved in all this, or be it a word to say that we have listened to this. And now that you’re here, Mrs. Secretary of State, what are you today going to tell us or promise us for the future, because it is always the same authorities who continue to be with us. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me start by saying that I am not only listening, but I condemn the exploitation of the great natural resources in this country, and we want to work with civil society and others in the DRC against the corruption that undermines the development of this country and the creation of jobs and prosperity that would lift more people out of poverty. I am particularly concerned about the exploitation of natural resources, like the mining and the timber, where the revenues do nothing to help the people of this country.
We want very much to work with the DRC on the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative that would require more openness about who’s getting the contracts, what the revenues are, and where the money goes. We want also to work with all of you to create a fund for the people so that as your natural resources are used, some of those revenues will come back to build roads, to build hospitals, to build and train – to build schools and train teachers.
So I very much condemn the exploitation and the expropriation of the natural resources of this country. It is what Wangari Maathai was referring to. Africa is so rich and most of the people are so poor. We want to have the riches of Africa benefit the poor people of Africa.
MODERATOR: (Inaudible.) They now – we can take a lady.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) My name is Frances Yehta. My question is short. As a woman, what is your opinion with regard to the phenomenon that is called sexual violence which is very important here and particularly in the east, and also the mechanisms against impunity and criminality?
SECRETARY CLINTON: One of the reasons that I’m going to Goma tomorrow is to speak out against the sexual and gender-based violence that has affected women and girls in eastern Congo. I think it’s right to say that 13,000 women a month are raped. It’s an astonishing and horrible figure, and many of them are children. The entire society needs to be speaking out against this. It should be a mark of shame that this happens anywhere, in any country.
We will be announcing some programs to help the victims of this terrible violence who are often physically hurt in very serious ways. But we have to do more to prevent it. And we have to speak out against the impunity of those in positions of authority who either commit these crimes or condone them. Any person who commits a crime, and that’s what this is, should be arrested and prosecuted. And the militias that are operating in the east are too often able to commit these crimes with no accountability at all.
And as you, I’m sure, have heard, there are even some cases of these terrible crimes committed by members of the Congolese military. And the United Nations has asked that five people who we have evidence that they committed these crimes in the military be prosecuted. And three of them are being and two more have been arrested. We have to keep the pressure on the government, and we have to keep the pressure on the governments of neighboring countries – Uganda, Rwanda – so that all together, we can end this scourge of violence. But let me also add, violence against women is not limited to one part of one country. Violence against women happens everywhere, to a greater or lesser degree.
We are now in the 21st century. It is no longer acceptable for there to be violence against women in the home, in the community. And people need to stand together against it. And so I hope that here in the DRC there will be a concerted effort to demand justice for women who are violently attacked and to make sure that their attackers are punished. And I hope that students will take the lead in this to speak out, because these are fundamental human rights and we need to protect them. Just as much as we worry about exploitation of minerals, we need to worry about exploitation of women. Because both of them undermine democracy and the rule of law. So I hope that that will become a real cause here in Kinshasa that will sweep across the country.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Thank you. I would like to know what is the policy – my name is Patrick (inaudible). I want to know what is the policy of the Obama Administration with regard to the Congolese resources, which are considered by most people as a global patrimony. When you know that the Kyoto Protocol in the United States was one of – is one of the largest polluters, we wonder – and now they are asking us to capture the carbon. What is the policy of your Administration with regard to the local population which is concerned? And through your presence here, does this start a new era? Can we now consider to have – with regard to the Congolese students to be able to speak a Congolese language and have local pressure for that? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I hope that you do feel as though the Obama Administration is creating a new era of partnership between the United States and the DRC. That is our intention. That is why President Obama went to Ghana. That is why I have been on a trip that’s taken me from Kenya to South Africa to Angola, here, and then I will go on to Nigeria and Liberia and Cape Verde. And in very place, we are saying the same thing: We want a new relationship, a relationship of mutual respect and mutual responsibility. We cannot solve the problems of this great country. Only the people, the Congolese people themselves, can solve it. But we can be your partners and your friends and your allies.
Let me say a word about climate change. There is no doubt that the United States is the historically biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions. We did not take responsibility for that until President Obama became president. Our prior administration would not accept that responsibility; now we are. So we know we’ve got to do a lot to make up for the fact that we have developed in a way that created a lot of the global warming problems. And President Obama has begun to do that. We are spending nearly $90 billion on clean energy technology and research that we’ll be able to share with the world. We are working very hard with other countries that are developing countries like China and India to figure out what we can do together.
I think there’s a role for the DRC and for the countries of central Africa, which is to look for ways to develop that don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. There is a great opportunity for renewable energy in this country, but we have to get organized in order to take advantage of it. When I just came from Angola, their government asked me to make sure my government helped them with hydropower, with wind power, with solar power, even though they have all this oil.
Well, I would be honored to be asked by your government to help with all of that. We’re creating a research center in Angola. We’d be more than happy to partner with scientists and researchers and experts here in the DRC. Protecting your natural resources, particularly your forests, is a contribution to ending global climate change. I would like to give you credit, and I hope we can get you credit at the Copenhagen agreement, for protecting your forests, protecting your water supply as you develop.
So I think this is an important dialogue to have. We accept responsibility for the past, but we both must accept responsibility for the future because Africa will be among the hardest hit of any place in the world if we don’t stop and reverse climate change. The beauty of this continent will dry up. The drought that we have seen in Kenya for four years, where 10 million people are facing acute hunger, is, in part, climate caused.
So I think there is a lot of opportunity here if we are honest with each other, we accept responsibility for what we have to do, and you accept for what you can do. But we will not do anything that interferes with your development because we want you to develop; we just want you to do it in a way that doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the past.
Dikembe, did you want to add anything to that?
MR. MUTOMBO: Yes. Thank you, Madame Secretary. One thing I wanted to add is I was a regular student like each one of you in this room and I received a scholarship because of my grade from the USAID here in Kinshasa, but I went to America. So there’s a great effort can be done on your part and are you doing your school to go to a college level, or even to go study your Ph.D. I don’t know how many of you right now are using your computer. If you get in a computer, you do some of the research right now. You go to different university websites. You can see there’s a way you can get a scholarship. You don’t have to just have to wait for the U.S. Government to give you a scholarship. But there’s a way you can look at the scholarship by yourself and search in the computer, look at a bunch of university websites. And again, you can get financial aid or you can get the full scholarship based how you’re doing your school. And there are people in the U.S. Embassy, I believe, who can help you with whatever the information you need to get a scholarship.
Don’t think that the Embassy is going to come to you and the university will say, okay, we are looking for a student to go to America. Sometime you have to go both, where you have to make an effort. I don’t how many of you are going even to the Embassy even to get the information, what it’s like getting a scholarship, what it’s like going to America. And I think that’s the best way I can respond to this question.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) My name is Grace. I’m student at Kinshasa University. I’d like to know what will be the place of the DRC in the relationship between the United States and other countries. I would just like to point out there’s one of our compatriots here who has succeeded and who is now helping the youth. Since we are young, we can also ask questions to Mr. Mutombo, and it is the moment to do that.
SECRETARY CLINTON: We hope that we have a strong partnership with the DRC. There are many countries in Africa. I am going to seven of them, and one of them is the DRC because we want to send a strong message of the importance we see on our relationship. We can be helpful and supportive, but ultimately the future of this country, like any country, is up to the people in it.
And we want to encourage as many Congolese as possible to be active and participate and look for ways to make a contribution and to also demonstrate the kind of initiative that you just heard described. Don’t wait for people to come to you. Look for ways that you can go out and find opportunities that will help you, and then return here and work hard for the changes that you are all talking about.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Thank you. My name is Oteko, a law faculty of Kinshasa University. Mrs. Clinton, I would like to say here that the United States say that the Congo can only develop through the efforts of the Congolese. It becomes a little bit of a paradox why. The Congolese do want to work for the interests of the Congo, but there is the implication – your (inaudible) implication of the United States which does not allow the Congolese to work for the interests of the Congo.
For example, none of the Congolese students can deny that when Laurent-Désiré Kabila came into this country, we lived – we all had at least some hope of a better future, but later it was a hope which has been stopped. And we know – I have just read a book published in 2009 by (inaudible) and prefaced by an American lady, which shows the implication of the United States in the conflict of the east and in the process which we have known in this country.
And I am a little bit concerned at the disappearance of Laurent-Désiré Kabila, which I can attribute there are some origins in the United States. So what – can you reassure us today – us, Congolese students – that is it true that if I become president tomorrow of this country, will I be autonomous and independent and work for the interest of my compatriots, or will I be – will I be killed if I refuse to follow what I am being told? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I cannot excuse the past and I would not try. Many countries, including many in Europe and many in Africa, have interfered with the development and the potential of the Congolese people; that is a fact. Now, we may argue about the specific issues that are raised, but there has been a history of colonialism and a history of interference. I’m only here to make a very simple point: We can either think about the past and be prisoned by it, or we can decide we’re going to have a better future and work to make it. That is the choice. Every human being who gets up every morning has that choice. Will I be dragged down by the past, or will I decide to do something that will give me the chance to have a better future?
President Obama and I want to do whatever we can to give you the chance to have a better future. There are many people and countries with interests in your country. A lot of the mining that is going on that is helping to fund the violence in the east has nothing to do with the United States. Many of the problems that exist in your political system and your government have nothing to do with the United States. So we take responsibility for the role that we have played in the past, but others must as well.
And now we have a choice: Do we try to figure out how to work together and build that better future, or not? Now, there are many countries in Africa that want to work with the United States, so we have choices, too. We can go work with people who are willing to forget the past and focus on the future. We’re not going to work with people who are looking backwards, because that’s not going to get us where we want to go.

So that is really the offer that President Obama and I are making. We expect more from your government, whoever is in your government. We expect more transparency and accountability. We expect more from your neighbors and from other countries and corporations that do business in your country.

It’s not going to change overnight. There are problems that go back hundreds of years. But that’s our choice, and we stand ready to work with you in civil society, and particularly the academic community, both faculty – I was once a law professor, so both faculty and students, with the private sector, with civil society, with all of the constituent parts of this country. But everybody has to decide they want to go forward. That’s the choice. And we will talk with your government. I came here before I spoke with anybody in your government to hear what was on your mind. And we will do what we can to help you, but it is an accurate saying that President Obama said in Ghana: The future of Africa is up to Africans.

I’ll give you an example. Why does this country allow its natural resources to be exploited and expropriated through corruption? Bad leadership, no pressure against the forces that want to do that. Compare this country with Botswana. When Botswana discovered diamonds, their leaders said let’s put the revenues from the diamonds into a fund for the future of Botswana.

So how many of you have ever been to Botswana? Anybody been to Botswana? If you go to Botswana, there are roads everywhere in Botswana. There are not roads everywhere in the DRC. There is clean water everywhere in Botswana. There is not clean water everywhere in the DRC. Why? Because the leaders and the people of Botswana, without any other country interfering, said we’re going to have a law, and we’re not going to let you come in an exploit our natural resources unless we can get money to go for the betterment of our country. Contrast that to what is going on now in this country.

So there are choices. And we will help you, if that is your desire, to make choices that will give you a better future.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Thank you. My name is Esther Nyagi. I’m a student at the University of Kinshasa in law. Earlier, you just mentioned a choice, or an offer. This choice is motivated by what? We are – are we – do we – are we inspiring your pity so much that you say I have to go here and help these people, or what is your motivation?

Secondly, you are here – you finance COJESKI through the Search for Common Ground. What we – the youth, can we expect from your visit here and, in particular, through COJESKI? Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’ve always wanted to come here, and this seemed like a good reason to come, because I have known some very brave Congolese in my country and have read about others who have stood up for human rights and for changes in government, or who have, like Dikembe, given their resources to help their people. And I guess I would describe it as a motivation of hope. You know President Obama ran on the idea of hope. And hope is an important ideal, but if it’s not brought down to earth and translated into action, it stays up in the clouds.

So President Obama and I look at the opportunities for this country, and we see great hope and we see great potential. And we think that there is a lot that we could do together. I will be very honest with you. We don’t need to do any of this. Let me be honest. You have a lot of other people who are in your country, who are involved in your country, who are doing things for good and for not so good. And especially with President Obama, all of Africa wants to be a partner with the United States. So there are many places that are saying come up help us with renewable energy, come help us with women’s rights, come help us with health and education, come help us with security, come help us with governance and to fight against corruption. So we have a lot to do.

But this particular place at this particular moment in time holds out such promise. I think it is what would be described as at a tipping point. There is the opportunity to pull everyone together and make progress, and there is the opportunity to stay down and stuck in the past where individuals, like many of you, will do fine. You will get your education. You will do well if you stay in this country. You will do well if you leave this country. But the vast majority of Congolese will not.

So it is our hope that we would have the chance to work together in a positive way to respond to the needs of the Congolese people, and to be part of helping to build that better future that will give the vast majority of Congolese a chance at a better life.

What motivates me ever since I was a law student is the opportunity to help children. Today at the hospital, I saw a picture of a child who was born prematurely and was about to die. And his parents carried that baby to three hospitals, and every one said, I’m sorry, that baby will die. And then the parents decided to go to the hospital that Dikembe built. And there they found not just hope; they found well trained doctors and nurses, they found modern equipment, and they saved that baby’s life.

So there was a picture of what the baby looked like when he came into the hospital, and then there was a picture of this very healthy, fat baby with a big smile as a result of the work of one person and the team that he put together. That can be multiplied across this country. We are ready to help if you want our help.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Thank you. I’m (inaudible). Mrs. Clinton, we’ve all heard about the Chinese contracts in this country, the interferences from the World Bank against this contract. What does Mr. Clinton think through the mouth of Mrs. Clinton, and what does Mr. Mutombo think on this situation? Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Wait, you want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the Secretary of State. I am. So you ask my opinion? I will tell you my opinion. I’m not going to be channeling my husband.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) My question is addressed to Mrs. Hillary. Today, it is not only because the United States has had many important politicians that we talk about the U.S., but we have already known – we have also know a number of important men in culture. And I would like to know what is the opinion of the Obama Administration in terms of cultural relationships between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter.) My name is Ann. I’m at the University of Kinshasa. My question is to Mrs. Clinton first. You mentioned in your speech about mechanisms of transparency. You insisted on that. Do you think that our leaders, the Congolese leaders, are really – really want to put these mechanisms into place? Because it’s known by everybody that most of our leaders like more to enrich themselves, to the detriment of the population.
And the second question is addressed to Mr. Mutombo. Apart – the patriotism that has guided you in returning to your country, which is also our country, I would like to know why did you not want to invest in another area than the one of health, especially since, in my opinion, it is perhaps not very profitable with – in comparison to other areas. Thank you.
MR. MUTOMBO: First of all, when I left this country, I had a scholarship to go to study medicine in the United States of America, and which was – the goal was after studying medicine to return back to Congo and practice my medicine. But I didn’t get a chance to go all the way to becoming a doctor, because all the things happened in my life, which is the game of basketball. That came when I was a sophomore at the Georgetown University. And I took that very serious, but I didn’t forget where I came from.
And when I got a chance to be blessed and to be in the shoes that I am on, I decided that I want to go home and do something. And I studied a different way, which way I was going to start. But I remember myself, saying to myself, that you always want to becoming a doctor. Why don’t you do something in medicine? Then I went to talk to the people at USAID, CDC, the World Health Organization. I did a lot of research on myself. I talked to a lot of institution in America.
Then I realized that the Congo was in a deep need on healthcare. As Madame Secretary mentioned at the beginning here, that Congo, as we all know, people are dying and they are dying rapidly. The population right now – the mortality rate on men is 45, on women is 46. And the women are dying every day for child deliveries, and childrens are dying.
The African continent itself lost more than 1.5 million children under age of 5 because of malaria. So the continent’s been losing people for so long. The HIV/AIDS, the pandemic that has destroyed the fabric of our society, as we all know here in the city of Kinshasa, where more than 15 percent of population are living with HIV virus. In the continent itself, we have lost more than 25 million. And right now as we are talking, we have more than maybe 30 million people living with the virus in the continent of Africa. More than 50-some plus million children are walking on the street of Africa, have been left orphans with no parents. Our villages have been destroyed. There is no more history. Our civilization is gone.
I don’t know how many of you live in Kinshasa to go even outside the outskirts of Kinshasa, to see even if some of the village are existing. Most of them are gone because all men and all people who live in the village are all are dying from HIV virus. There’s things that need to be done, not just in a political sector, because everybody want to do politics. But who’s going to do business? Who’s going to take care of the healthcare? Who’s going to be working in the social system? Right now in the Congo, 73 percent of population in the Congo are under age of 24 years old, including all of you guys in this room.
Remember what the future of Congo belong to, as Madame Secretary was saying. President Obama said that in Ghana. When they talking about the future of Africa belong to you, don’t say just it doesn’t belong to me because people are closing the gate on me. They’re asking you to continue to study and to learn as much you can learn, because the leader of tomorrow are not there, and the leader of tomorrow is you in this room. And so if we don’t provide a good healthcare for you, how you going to work, how you going to practice politic, whatever you want to do?
So that’s the reason why I went and built a hospital. But the most reason, it was because of my mom, who died here in Kinshasa because they couldn’t reach the hospital. My parents don’t live far away from here. And they live only eight minutes away from Hospital Galema. But because of the curfew that was in Kinshasa in 1998, my mom didn’t make it to the hospital. So that kind of pushed me a little bit to realize that the hospital would be a wise choice, that people can do this, there’s a chance for me to save thousands and thousands of lives and to give Congolese people – which is my people, where I came from – a hope.
And Madame Secretary say hope is something is in the sky. We all are hoping to be rich. We all are hoping to get married. We all are hoping that we have childrens. Nobody in this room sitting here, you don’t hope for nothing. Don’t you hope that you can live much longer than people are living in Congo? Don’t you hope that maybe one day you will have a better house and you’ll have a better job, maybe you can go and find the way to help your mother and your father?
So we got to have a hope. Do not lose your hope. And that’s what is happening in the Congo, especially in young people. You are losing hope and you are thinking that there’s nobody who’s thinking about you. If there was nobody who was thinking about you, what have I been doing coming every year in this country and putting an institution that costs more than $30 million, and trying to continue to put money in to save more lives? You think nobody is thinking about you? If there was no hope, why do you think Madame Secretary Clinton was able to arrange this meeting to be held here at the school St. Joseph here in Kinshasa?
There is hope. There is hope because you are here. Somebody thought about you. Somebody said that I need to talk to you. Somebody said I need to talk to the child, give him a hope. There is hope there. So keep hoping that the sky is the limit for all of us, that the future of the African continent – not just Congo, but the future of our African continent – will be brighter than it is today. We don’t know when. It can be in 10 years, 15 years, or maybe our grandchildrens will have a better future than us.
My parents grew up very poor. My mom grew up – my dad worked as a teacher making only $37. But he didn’t think that maybe one of his kids will have hope to becoming somebody? All he did is stress the education. In the family, that’s all he did. And what we did, we used the education as a vehicle to move us forward, and that’s why I’m here today sitting here.
So you better have hope. And thank you for your question. (Applause.)
MODERATOR: (In French.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. (Applause.)

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton arrives at a town hall meeting with Congolese university students in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa U.S. Secretary of State Clinton arrives at a town hall meeting with Congolese university students in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa U.S. Secretary of State Clinton arrives at a town hall meeting with Congolese university students in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa U.S. Secretary of State Clinton arrives at a town hall meeting with Congolese university students in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC 08-10-09-S-10

Read Full Post »

Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton SONY DSC

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: