Today’s executives are dealing with a complex and unprecedented brew of social, environmental, market, and technological trends. These require sophisticated, sustainability-based management. Yet executives are often reluctant to place sustainability core to their company’s business strategy in the mistaken belief that the costs outweigh the benefits. On the contrary, academic research and business experience point to quite the opposite. Embedded sustainability efforts clearly result in a positive impact on business performance. Drawing from our own research and our colleagues’ research in this area, we have created a sustainability business case for the 21st century corporate executive. Hoping to alleviate their concerns, this article also provides concrete examples of how sustainability benefits the bottom line. For the purpose of this article, we define sustainable practices as those that: 1) at minimum do not harm people or the planet and at best create value for stakeholders and 2) focus on improving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance in the areas in which the company or brand has a material environmental or social impact (such as in their operations, value chain, or customers). We exclude companies with a traditional CSR program that supports employee volunteering in the community – this does not by itself qualify as sustainability. Driving competitive advantage through stakeholder engagement Traditional business models aim to create value for shareholders, often at the expense of other stakeholders. Sustainable businesses are redefining the corporate ecosystem by designing models that create value for all stakeholders, including employees, shareholders, supply chains, civil society, and the planet. Michel Porter and Mark Kramer pioneered the idea of “creating shared value,” arguing that businesses can generate economic value by identifying and addressing social problems that intersect with their business. Much of the strategic value of sustainability comes from the need to continually talk with and learn from key stakeholders. Through regular dialogue with stakeholders and continual iteration, a company with a sustainability agenda is better positioned to anticipate and react to economic, social, environmental, and regulatory changes as they arise. When firms fail to establish good relationships with their stakeholders, it can lead to increased conflict and reduced stakeholder cooperation. This can disrupt a firm’s ability to operate on schedule and budget. A study of the gold mining industry, for example, found that stakeholder relations can heavily influence land permitting, taxation, and the regulatory environment, thus playing a substantial role in determining whether a firm has the right to transform gold into shareholder capital – therefore, as the study authors wrote, stakeholder engagement “is not just corporate social responsibility but enlightened self-interest.” Improving risk management Supply chains today extend around the world, and are vulnerable to natural disasters and civil conflict. Climate change, water scarcity, and poor labor conditions in much of the world increase the risk. McKinsey reports that the value at stake from sustainability concerns can be as a high as 70% of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. In the largest study on climate change data and corporations, 8,000 supplier companies (that sell to 75 multinationals) reported on their level of climate risk. Of the respondents, 72% said that climate change presents risks that could significantly impact their operations, revenue, or expenditures. Unlike traditional forms of business risk, social and environmental risks manifest themselves over a longer term, often affect the business on many dimensions, and are largely outside the organization’s control. Managing risks therefore requires making investment decisions today for longer-term capacity building and developing adaptive strategies. In the agriculture, food, and beverage sector, the impacts of climate change have the potential to alter growing conditions and seasons, increase pests and disease, and decrease crop yields. Disruptions in the supply chain may affect production processes that depend on unpriced natural capital assets such as biodiversity, groundwater, clean air, and climate. These unpriced natural capital costs are generally internalized until events like floods or droughts cause disruption to production processes or commodity price fluctuation. For example, Bunge, an agribusiness firm, reported a $56 million quarterly loss in its sugar and bioenergy segments due to drought in 2010. Flooding in 2011 in Thailand, harmed 160 companies in the textile industry and halted nearly a quarter of the country’s garment production, increasing global prices by 28%. To address these threats along their supply chain, companies like Mars, Unilever, and Nespresso have invested in Rainforest Alliance certification to help farmers deal with climate volatility, reduce land degradation, and increase resilience to drought and humidity—all of which ensure the long-term supply of their agricultural products. Certification also improves productivity and net income: According to an independent study by COSA, Rainforest Alliance reported that certified cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire, for example, produced 1,270 pounds of cocoa per hectare, compared with 736 pounds per hectare on non-certified farms. Net income was also significantly higher on certified cocoa farms than noncertified: $403 versus $113 USD per hectare. Companies are also experiencing risks in their manufacturing due to resource depletion – particularly water. Water has largely been considered a free raw material and therefore used inefficiently, but many companies are now experiencing the higher costs of using the resource. Coca-Cola, for example, faced a water shortage in India that forced it to shut down one of its plants in 2004. As the 24th biggest industrial consumer of water, Coca Cola has now invested $2 billion to reduce water use and improve water quality in the communities in which it operates. SabMiller has also invested heavily in water conservation, including $6 million to improve equipment at a facility in Tanzania affected by deteriorating water quality. Water-related risks threaten to strand billions of dollars for mining, oil, and gas companies. “Stranded assets” are investments that become obsolete due to regulatory, environmental, or market constraints. For example, social conflict related to disruptions to water supplies in Peru has resulted in the indefinite suspension of $21.5 billion in mining projects since 2010. Fostering innovation Investing in sustainability is not only a risk management tool; it can also drive innovation. Redesigning products to meet environmental standards or social needs offers new business opportunities. 3M, for example, integrates sustainability into its innovation pipeline through its “Pollution Prevention Pays” program, which aims to proactively minimize waste and avoid pollution through product reformulation, equipment redesign, process modification, and waste recycling. 3M’s Novec fire suppression fluids are the first viable, sustainable alternative to hydrofluorocarbons. Nike embedded sustainability into its innovation process and created the $1 billion-plus Flyknit line, which uses a specialized yarn system, requiring minimal labor and generating large profit margins. Flyknit reduces waste by 80% compared with regular cut and sew footwear. Since its launch in 2012, Flyknit has reduced 3.5 million pounds of waste and fully transitioned from yarn to recycled polyester, diverting 182 million bottles from landfills. Recognizing the growing consumer interest in sustainable products and looking to solve consumer challenges such as high energy costs, CPG companies have developed new products to gain access to this market. Proctor & Gamble, for example, conducted a life cycle assessment of its products and found that U.S. households spend 3% of annual electricity budgets on heating water to wash clothes. In 2005, they launched a U.S. and European line of cold-water detergents that require 50% less energy than warm water washing. Facing strict regulation on chemical release and competition from flowers from Africa, the Dutch flower industry developed a closed-loop system that grows flowers hydroponically in greenhouses, lowering risk of infestation and reducing the use of fertilizers and pesticides. The system also improves product quality by creating regulated growing conditions. Their innovative system has increased productivity and quality, reduced environmental impact and costs, and increased global competitiveness. Improving Financial Performance Many business leaders have the erroneous perception that one can have profits or sustainability, but not both. This probably has its roots in Milton Friedman’s 50-year old, but still influential, thesis that the only business of a business is profit as well as a hangover from the 1970s and 80s, when low quality, high priced environmental products failed in the market and early socially responsible investing delivered low returns. That conventional wisdom has now reversed. In addition to the financial benefits that accrue from increased competitive advantage and innovation as discussed earlier, companies are realizing significant cost savings through environmental sustainability-related operational efficiencies. Moreover, investors are now able to track the high performers on ESG (environmental, social and governance factors) and are correlating better financial performance with better ESG performance. Significant cost reductions can result from improving operational efficiency through better management of natural resources like water and energy, as well as minimizing waste. One study estimated that companies experience an average internal rate of return of 27% to 80% on their low carbon investments. Since 1994, Dow has invested nearly $2 billion in improving resource efficiency and has saved $9.8 billion from reduced energy and wastewater consumption in manufacturing. In 2013, GE had reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 32% and water use by 45% compared to 2004 and 2006 baselines, respectively, resulting in $300 million in savings. A focus on sustainability can also unlock opportunities for process and logistics savings. Wal-Mart, for example, aimed to double fleet efficiency between 2005 and 2015 through better routing, truck loading, driver training, and advanced technologies. By the end of 2014, they had improved fuel efficiency approximately 87% compared to the 2005 baseline. In that year, these improvements resulted in 15,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided and savings of nearly $11 million. Mounting evidence shows that sustainable companies deliver significant positive financial performance, and investors are beginning to value them more highly. Arabesque and University of Oxford reviewed the academic literature on sustainability and corporate performance and found that 90% of 200 studies analyzed conclude that good ESG standards lower the cost of capital; 88% show that good ESG practices result in better operational performance; and 80% show that stock price performance is positively correlated with good sustainability practices. Here are some other datapoints to consider: Between 2006 and 2010, the top 100 sustainable global companies experienced significantly higher mean sales growth, return on assets, profit before taxation, and cash flows from operations in some sectors compared to control companies. During the 2008 recession, companies committed to sustainability practices achieved “above average” performance in the financial markets during the 2008 recession, translating into an average of $650 million in incremental market capitalization per company. Additionally, companies with superior environmental performance experienced lower cost of debt by 40-45 basis points. Studies also suggest that companies with strong corporate responsibility reputations “experience no meaningful declines in share price compared to their industry peers during crises” versus firms with poor CSR reputations whose reputations declined by “2.4-3%; a market capitalization loss of $378M per firm.” Investors are paying attention. According to the 2015 EY Global Institutional Investor Survey, investors are increasingly using companies’ nonfinancial disclosures to inform their investment decisions. In its survey of over 200 institutional investors, 59.1% of respondents view nonfinancial disclosures as “essential” or “important” to investment decisions, up from 34.8% in 2014. Some 62.4% of investors are concerned about the risk of stranded assets (i.e. assets that lose value prematurely due to environmental, social, or other external factors) and over one-third of respondents reported cutting their holdings of a company in the past year because of this risk. Building Customer Loyalty Companies are skeptical about consumer interest in sustainable products – especially where willingness-to-pay is concerned. Some of that is self-inflicted, as early on companies tended to increase “sustainable” product prices substantially and in some cases sold inferior products (e.g. pricy natural cleaning products that did not work). However, a shift is occurring in the minds of consumers. Today’s consumers expect more transparency, honesty, and tangible global impact from companies and can choose from a raft of sustainable, competitively priced, high quality products. In fact, one study found that among numerous factors surveyed, the news coverage regarding environmental and social responsibility was the only significant factor that affected respondents’ evaluation of a firm and intent to buy. Nearly two-thirds of consumers across six international markets believe they “have a responsibility to purchase products that are good for the environment and society” — 82% in emerging markets and 42% in developed markets. In the food and beverage industry, a growing number of consumers are considering values beyond price and taste in their purchasing decisions, such as safety, social impact, and transparency. Far from feeling skittish about buying sustainable products, today’s consumers perceive a higher level of product performance in products from sustainable companies and sustainability information has a significantly positive impact on consumers’ evaluation of a company, which translates into purchase intent. The results of these studies support that consumers in a post-Recession era are shifting purchasing decisions to brands with integrity, social responsibility, and sustainability at their core. In fact, Unilever claims its “brands with purpose” are growing at twice the rate as others in their portfolio. Companies can also charge higher price premiums based on positive corporate responsibility performance. These premiums can reach 20% according to some estimates. Moreover, some studies show that overall sales revenue can increase up to 20% due to corporate responsibility practices. Another study found that revenues from sustainable products and services grew at six times the rate of overall company revenues between 2010 and 2013, among the 12 members of the S&P Global 100 sampled (Singer, 2015). GE’s Ecomagination division, for example, has generated $200 billion in sales since 2005. IKEA’s line of sustainable products like LED bulbs and solar panels from its Products for a More Sustainable Life at Home now generate a billion dollars. Attracting and Engaging Employees Corporate sustainability initiatives aimed at improving ESG performance and proving value to society can increase employee loyalty, efficiency, and productivity and improve HR statistics related to recruitment, retention, and morale. Research is finding that 21st century employees are focusing more on mission, purpose, and work-life balance. Companies that invest in sustainability initiatives tend to create sought-after culture and engagement due to company strategy focusing more on purpose and providing value to society. In addition, companies who embed sustainability in their core business strategy treat employees as critical stakeholders, just as important as shareholders. Employees are proud to work there and feel part of a broader effort. One study found that morale was 55% better in companies with strong sustainability programs, compared to those with poor ones, and employee loyalty was 38% better. Better morale and motivation translate into reduced absenteeism and improved productivity. Firms that adopted environmental standards have seen a 16% increase in productivity over firms that did not adopt sustainability practices. Corporate responsibility performance also positively impacts turnover and recruitment. Studies show that firms with greater corporate responsibility performance can reduce average turnover over time by 25-50%. It can also reduce annual quit rates by 3-3.5%, saving replacement costs up to 90%-200% of an employee’s annual salary for each retained position. *** The preponderance of evidence shows that sustainability is going mainstream. Executives can no longer afford to approach sustainability as a “nice to have” or as solid function separated from the “real” business. Those companies that proactively make sustainability core to business strategy will drive innovation and engender enthusiasm and loyalty from employees, customers, suppliers, communities and investors.
(Don Boudreaux) TweetComes this e-mail to me today from one Mr. Bintou Ojabo, with the subject line reading “I need your full trust”: DEAR ONE, PLEASE PERMIT ME TO INTRODUCE MY SELF TO YOU, MY NAME IS BINTOU OJABO, I AM 19 YEARS OLD, I AM THE ONLY CHILD OF LATE MR.DAVID OJABO WHO WAS A FAMOUS […]
Во время матча Кот-д'Ивуар - Мали у Муссы Думбия случился приступ эпилепсии, а Орье сразу же оказал ему первую помощь и не дал проглотить язык
Cote d’Ivoire energy minister Adama Toungara signed a ‘partnership’ agreement October 4 with seven companies for a floating LNG import terminal (FSRU) costing $200mn, targeting first LNG imports into the growing West African economy in mid-2018. But the seven-company structure looks...
Cote d’Ivoire energy minister Adama Toungara signed a ‘partnership’ agreement October 4 with seven companies for a floating LNG import terminal (FSRU) costing $200mn, targeting first LNG imports into the growing West African economy in mid-2018. But the seven-company structure looks...
Former members of Congress make millions of dollars representing countries that straddle the line between allies and headaches for U.S.
Two new gasfields have been brought onstream in Block CI-27 offshore Cote d'Ivoire following the completion of a four-year, $850mn development led by Foxtrot International, announced Oslo-listed RAK Petroleum September 26. The two fields, Marlin and Manta, involved the installation of a four-legged...
Africa’s immense economic potential, increasing integration into global markets, expanding infrastructure, and demographic boom provide a remarkable opportunity to enhance U.S. trade and investment ties across the continent. African countries are tackling economic challenges by diversifying their economies, streamlining regional and global economic cooperation, and innovating to overcome barriers to trade and investment. The United States is committed to being a partner in these efforts, including through initiatives such as the Doing Business in Africa Campaign, Power Africa, and Trade Africa. Taking into account these and other efforts, at the 2014 U.S.-Africa Business Forum (USABF) co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) and Bloomberg Philanthropies, $33 billion in commitments, including $14 billion in private sector deals and commitments, were made to support economic growth across Africa. Over the last two years, Commerce has tracked nearly $15 billion in additional private sector deals reached between U.S. and African partners, and from 2008 to 2015 U.S. direct investment in Africa rose from $37 billion to $64 billion on a historic-cost basis - an increase of more than 70 percent. That’s more than double the total global official development assistance that went to Africa in 2015. Today’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum builds upon the partnerships created in 2014 with new commitments to mobilize an additional $9.1 billion in trade and investment to support the development of Africa’s consumer goods, construction, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, telecommunications, and transportation sectors. The U.S. Government has Expanded its Presence and Economic Engagement in Africa Since 2008, Commerce has doubled its presence on the continent, opening new offices in Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique, expanding its presence in Ghana, and re-establishing a presence at the African Development Bank. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has opened an office in Nigeria and restarted work in Kenya, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) opened offices in Kenya, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has deployed more than 40 field-based transaction advisors in sub-Saharan Africa to track projects for potential Power Africa support and to provide technical support to improve the enabling environment for private sector investment in the energy sector. In addition to expanding their physical presence, economic and development agencies have significantly expanded their portfolios on the continent: OPIC has tripled its portfolio in Africa since 2009, and investments in Africa now represent nearly a third of OPIC’s total portfolio. OPIC has committed more than $7 billion in financing and insurance to projects in Africa, and these commitments have mobilized more than $14 billion in additional investments into highly impactful sectors in Africa like clean energy, telecom, healthcare, education, and microfinance. USTDA has more than doubled the size of its Africa portfolio in the last eight years, supporting 135 projects across 14 countries. This early-stage investment, which has the potential to mobilize more than $17 billion in private and public financing, has already helped to realize $2.5 billion in U.S. exports. From 2009-2016, Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) authorizations doubled in Sub-Saharan Africa as compared to the previous eight-year period, and rose across all of Africa by 45 percent. In the past five years EXIM Bank has approved more than $6.3 billion in financing for U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa, including a record $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2014. Twenty of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC’s) signed compacts are with African countries, totaling $7.9 billion and representing approximately 68 percent of MCC’s total compact portfolio. In addition, 11 of MCC’s threshold programs are with African countries, totaling more than $203 million. Since 2008, the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) commitment to Africa has grown with entry into 8 new countries. USADF has opened African-led program offices in each country, with African country teams that manage nearly $25 million active projects The Department of the Treasury has committed to double resources for the domestic resource mobilization work of the Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) by 2020, which will expand support for building effective revenue and expenditure systems. OTA has increasingly focused on Africa, with projects in sub-Saharan Africa making up approximately one third of its portfolio. The Administration has Expanded Access to U.S. Government Tools that Support Our Trade and Investment with Africa The U.S. Government, across a dozen Departments and Agencies, offers a suite of financial and technical tools and programs to support U.S. businesses looking to trade with and invest in Africa, including financing for overseas investments; export credit and political risk insurance; partial loan and risk guarantees; support for project preparation, feasibility studies and training; and export counseling and market analysis. Diplomatic engagement by the State Department also supports American firms and promotes host government reforms that improve investment environments. In 2012, the Administration launched the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) Campaign to help make the U.S. Government’s resources more easily available to the U.S. private sector and African public and private sector partners. At the 2014 Forum, the President announced the formation of an Advisory Council on DBIA to provide information, analysis, and recommendations on opportunities for the U.S. Government to promote broad-based economic growth in the United States and in Africa by encouraging U.S. companies to trade with and invest in Africa. Today, the President welcomed the new members of the Advisory Council on DBIA, which was expanded from 15 to 24 members to ensure a more robust representation across U.S. industries. Since the DBIA Campaign was launched in 2012, Commerce has assisted more than 1,500 U.S. clients seeking to export to African countries. Since 2009, Commerce’s International Buyer Program has helped bring 522 delegations and 8,123 buyers from Africa to U.S. trade shows, and Commerce has taken 283 U.S. companies on trade missions to Africa. Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency has sponsored the African Global Pathways initiative, which provides minority-owned firms access to expert consulting services that promote U.S.-Africa business linkages. USTDA has hosted African government and business leaders on more than 40 reverse trade missions to the United States since 2008 – helping to generate over $135 million in U.S. exports to Africa. OPIC has also led investor delegations to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, and Senegal to identify ripe opportunities and encourage investment, and MCC conducted its first ever investment mission to Tanzania and Malawi. Earlier this week, the Department of Commerce and leaders from East Africa announced new steps they plan to take to support tourism, cold chain development, and infrastructure in that region. At the USABF, Commerce and the Nigerian Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment are announcing the establishment of the U.S.-Nigeria Commercial and Investment Dialogue to sustain engagement between our governments and private sectors in order to promote deeper trade and investment ties between the United States and Nigeria. The U.S. government is also working to make it easier for U.S. companies to invest and work in Africa. The Department of Transportation (DOT) continues to work with African governments to improve transportation infrastructure, modernize laws and regulations governing transportation, reduce technical barriers to trade through harmonization of standards, and improve regional connectivity. Under the Safe Skies for Africa program, DOT has completed more than 100 training courses and workshops to facilitate African aviation professional’s exposure and adherence to international aviation standards. And today, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making up to $100 million in credit guarantees available to establish or upgrade facilities or infrastructure in Africa and elsewhere, enhancing countries’ ability to import U.S. agricultural commodities. In addition to in-person resources, departments and agencies are expanding access to online resources. Commerce launched a One-Stop-Shop website to offer American businesses and entrepreneurs real-time access to critical African market information, financing tools available to them, projects to consider, and key contacts. The Department of Energy (DOE) developed the online “Clean Energy Solutions Center,” which connects policymakers in Africa with experts and best practice resources to help governments design and adopt policies that support the deployment of clean energy technologies, including by harmonizing these policies with countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. DOE also brought together world class industry experts and emerging natural gas producers and consumers in sub-Saharan Africa to create a "Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Handbook," which will help foster a shared understanding between government officials and private companies of the factors that lead to successful LNG projects. Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program and the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) African Legal Support Facility released two handbooks under the auspices of Power Africa that are helping to strengthen the capacity of African governments to negotiate fair and transparent power deals. Today, MCC launched a new collaboration with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to catalyze investment in the developing world by sharing economic analysis and identifying potential partnerships and investment opportunities. Through Power Africa, launched in 2013, the U.S. Government and a coalition of more than 130 public and private sector partners are working to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. At the 2014 USABF, the President pledged new funding to expand Power Africa’s reach to all of sub-Saharan Africa, and announced a new aggregate goal of adding 30,000 megawatts (MW) of new, cleaner electricity and increasing electricity access by at least 60 million new connections. Power Africa is providing support for projects expected to generate more than 29,000 MW, and this support has already helped transactions expected to generate more than 4,600 MW of generation reach financial close. Through the combined efforts of Power Africa’s strategic partners, including the World Bank Group, the AfDB, the European Union, and the Governments of Sweden, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Canada, Power Africa is on track to meet its goals by 2030. In August 2016, Power Africa announced a new partnership with the Government of Japan, through which Japan committed to bring 1,200 MW of electricity to sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2018. To date, Power Africa’s initial $7 billion commitment has mobilized more than $52 billion in additional external commitments, including more than $40 billion in private sector commitments to invest in power generation and distribution across sub-Saharan Africa. By demonstrating that renewable power transactions are financially viable, improving the performance of utilities, changing the regulatory mind-set on renewables, and harmonizing policies to drive investment and stability, Power Africa is also playing a critical role in advancing affordable, reliable, and modern energy services and substantially increasing the share of renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa – which currently represents three quarters of the projects Power Africa is supporting. Through the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) Initiative, OPIC and USTDA have provided critical early-stage project preparation support for 34 renewable energy projects in ten African countries. Already, 15 ACEF projects have secured project financing, which is leading to increased power generation capacity and expanded access to electricity. For example, since receiving ACEF funding from OPIC in 2013, Off-Grid Electric has expanded solar energy provision in Tanzania from 2,000 households to more than 100,000. A grant from the USTDA to Rwandan company Amahoro Energy Ltd. to develop two run-of river hydropower plants helped open up Rwanda’s hydropower sector to eight other projects, in addition to providing electricity to the Shyira Hospital and 22,500 households in rural Rwanda. Power Africa has also facilitated the signing of 14 Independent Power Purchase Agreements to develop 1,125 MW of new solar power in Nigeria, and through a partnership with Lekela Power, OPIC will support the development, construction and operation of a 158.7 MW wind farm in Senegal, which will boost Senegal's generation capacity by nearly a quarter and provide a critical foundation for its power generation and sustainable energy growth plan. Through the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge, in partnership with GE Africa, USADF has awarded 50 grants totaling an investment of $5 million to African energy entrepreneurs who have leveraged their awards to bring electricity, from solar micro-grids to biogas, to rural communities living beyond the grid. Today, the USADF announced 21 new Off-Grid Energy Challenge grant winners and launched a new partnership with GE Africa focused on African women-owned and managed energy enterprises. The Trade Africa initiative, launched in 2013, has helped countries boost trade within Africa and between Africa and the United States, while reducing barriers to trade across borders on the continent. Trade Africa has expanded to five additional countries, in addition to its original focus on the Partner States of the East African Community (EAC). Since 2014, USAID regional Trade and Investment Hubs in Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa have facilitated more than $283 million in African exports to the United States and $140 million in U.S. investment in Africa. The East Africa Hub has supported 29,000 new African jobs, and exports facilitated by the Hub has contributed to the 36 percent increase in EAC exports to the United States between 2013 and 2015. Trade Africa has helped reduce cross-border transit times from key East African ports to land-locked interior destinations by as much as 80 percent – exceeding the initiative's 15 percent target – through its contribution to and leadership in the TradeMark East Africa initiative and the Hub's efforts to establish partner government joint border committees, support the development of "single windows" for traders to file paperwork, and facilitate the adoption of electronic data exchange systems. Trade Africa has also facilitated successful policy dialogues on trade and investment issues, including an agreement to cooperate on World Trade Organization trade facilitation measures and enhancing food safety. Today, USAID issued two reports on behalf of the Administration that highlight progress to date under the Trade Africa and Power Africa initiatives. The Power Africa Annual Report complements the January 2016 Power Africa Roadmap, which describes the initiative’s path to achieving its ambitious access goals by 2030. The Trade Africa Annual Report highlights the most significant impacts this initiative has had on trade between African countries and between Africa and the United States. In addition, USTR issued a report entitled “Beyond AGOA: Looking at the Future of U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment”, which considers paths to deepen the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship, keeping pace with dramatic change in Africa. The United States is Supporting the Next Generation of African Leaders and Makers The United States also recognizes the role that young people play in supporting economic growth, including through entrepreneurship. Africa’s large and growing youth population is central to achieving and maintaining Africa’s robust economic growth. That is why the United States has held two Global Entrepreneurship Summits (GES) in Africa – in Morocco in 2014 and in Kenya in 2015 – showcasing the innovation and economic opportunities of both North and Sub-Saharan Africa. Through the GES, the U.S. Government has mobilized more than $1 billion in capital for entrepreneurs across Africa and around the world. At the 2015 GES, USAID, the United Kingdom, and the Shell Foundation, under the auspices of Power Africa, launched the Scaling Off-Grid Energy: Grand Challenge for Development, a $36 million investment to empower entrepreneurs and investors to connect 20 million households in sub-Saharan Africa to modern, clean, and affordable electricity. As part of the Grand Challenge, USAID partnered with DOE and the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership to launch a refrigeration prize that will leverage $300,000 to catalyze technological advancements in off-grid refrigeration. Since 2010, the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has engaged nearly 300,000 young Africans through the YALI Network, an online and in-person community of entrepreneurs, activists, and public servants working together to solve shared challenges for their continent and the world. Since 2014, two thousand young people have participated in the Mandela Washington Fellows program, and thousands more have joined seminars and workshops at the four YALI Regional Leadership Centers in Accra, Dakar, Nairobi, and Pretoria. The USADF has committed $7.5 million over three years to fund YALI entrepreneurs who are launching and expanding their businesses and social ventures across Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows were able to join the first sector-specific YALI training program at the YALI Energy Institute, a collaboration between USAID, the U.S. Department of State, the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of California at Davis. The United States is Combatting Corruption at Home and Abroad We have also committed to continue and expand efforts combat to corruption at home and abroad, as we recognize corruption’s pernicious effects on inclusive economic growth, prosperity and sustainable development, as well as the obstacle that it continues to represent as we seek to grow trade and investment. In 2014, President Obama announced the Partnership on Illicit Finance (PIF) at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, an initiative co-led by the United States and Senegal that brings together African partners and the United States to jointly tackle the challenges of corruption and other financial crimes. This May, the United States launched its PIF National Action Plan, along with Senegal. The remaining six PIF partners are working to develop their plans, and we look forward to those plans being released soon. We are also working together to combat corruption and to increase transparency and accountability in the region through the Open Government Partnership (OGP). Participation from African countries in OGP is growing, and OGP can play an important role in addressing common governance challenges across the continent, including by engaging civil society and building trust in government. In addition, in May 2016, President Obama announced several important steps we are taking in the United States to strengthen financial transparency, combat money laundering, corruption and tax evasion, and called upon Congress to take additional action to address these critical issues.
Statement by National Security Council Spokesperson Ned Price on Executive Order “Termination of Emergency with Respect to the Situation in or in relation to Cote d’Ivoire”
Today, the President signed an Executive Order which takes note of Côte d’Ivoire’s extraordinary progress since the end of its civil war in 2011, in particular its successful October 2015 presidential election and improvements managing the flow of arms and combating illicit trafficking of natural resources. The United States congratulates the people of Côte d’Ivoire for their resilience and commitment to a future of peace, democracy, and inclusive prosperity. Accordingly, the President has terminated the national emergency declared with respect to Côte d’Ivoire pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act in Executive Order 13396 of February 10, 2006 and lifted the economic sanctions imposed pursuant to that Order and related regulations. Côte d’Ivoire has taken important steps to strengthen its governing and economic institutions and reconcile the differences that led to war. Challenges remain as the country continues to tackle difficult land reform issues and works to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are felt throughout the Ivoirian population. Côte d’Ivoire and its people are ready to overcome these challenges, and the United States will remain a steadfast partner as the Ivoirian people continue the vital work of national reconciliation and security sector reform. The United States celebrates this milestone with Côte d’Ivoire and looks forward to welcoming many more achievements as the country retakes its place as an economic engine and vibrant democracy in West Africa.
Два из основных экспортеров какао-бобов - Кот-д'Ивуар и Индонезия - ожидают сокращения производства в текущем сельскохозяйственном году.
Два из основных экспортеров какао-бобов - Кот-д'Ивуар и Индонезия - ожидают сокращения производства в текущем сельскохозяйственном году.
Updated: Aug 12, 2016
Updated: Aug 10, 2016
Paul R. Pillar Politics, United States Talk of rejecting the results of a ballot is very dangerous. Efforts to export American-style liberal democracy to foreign lands have bumped up against the fact that the successful working of such democracy depends on habits and attitudes that are rarer than most Americans think and that take a long time to develop. That is a reality encountered in places such as Iraq. The relevant attitudes are not only hard to develop but also easy to lose. And that is a reality we must face at home in the United States. Prime among the habits and attitudes that make representative democracy work is the willingness to respect even the most disappointing electoral result and to yield power peacefully and willingly to one's political opponents if that is what the tally of votes calls for. Such willingness is a recognition that the nation as a whole and the democratic process itself are more important than for any one party, ideology, or set of policy preferences to prevail. Look around the world and one finds numerous examples of ostensible democracies where such willingness is lacking. It is all too common for losers not to accept the tally of votes. They don't just yield power smoothly and move into the role of a loyal opposition. The end result may be a negotiated power-sharing arrangement that works somewhat (Kenya, Afghanistan) or doesn't work at all (Zimbabwe). Or the refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the other side makes the political system so dysfunctional that the military steps in (Bangladesh). Or the refusal is so intense that civil war breaks out and foreign military intervention is required (Cote d'Ivoire). The acceptance of the outcome of elections by losers in the United States, both Democratic and Republican, has been a refreshing contrast to those foreign experiences. Look, for example, to John McCain's graceful concession speech in 2008 for a model of how to accept a losing outcome. Or look to the example in 2000 of Al Gore, who—having won the nationwide popular vote but having lost the presidency amid the hanging chad of Florida—probably had more reason than any candidate since Samuel Tilden in 1876 to believe that he was denied the office that should have been his. Read full article
Updates with details of Somaliland licence, which were released after initial report was published London-listed Africa explorer Sterling Energy said August 5 it has issued a notice of surrender for its Ntem Concession, offshore Cameroon, effective by end December 2016; it expects no material...
Omni Shoreham Hotel Washington, D.C. 3:28 P.M. EDT THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much! (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Everybody, please sit down, sit down. Everybody, sit down. AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much! Thank you, everybody. (Applause.) Thank you. Well, it is so good to see all of you. Okay, everybody settle down, settle down. (Audience sings “Happy Birthday.”) (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! Well, you know, I -- let me first of all just say that -- let me first of all say I’m a little disappointed with the lack of enthusiasm. (Laughter.) Everybody is so shy and quiet. First of all, I want to thank Emmanuel for the great introduction and the outstanding work on behalf of the people of Uganda. Please give Emmanuel a big round of applause. (Applause.) I don’t know whether they chose Emmanuel because he’s such a great speaker -- which he is -- or because they thought he and I were cousins -- (laughter) -- because Odama, Obama -- (laughter) -- there must be some connection. Now, I know that you’ve been in this fellowship for a few weeks. I know that for many of you, this is your first visit to the United States. So let me start by saying on behalf of the American people, welcome to the United States of America. (Applause.) I don’t want to give a long speech because I’m really here to hear from you and answer your questions and to get your comments and ideas. But I do want to just take a moment to step back and talk about why you being here is so important, not just to me but to all of our countries and to people around the world. I stand here as the President of the United States and the son of an African. Michelle and I have always tried to instill in our girls, our daughters, a sense of their heritage, which is American and African and European -- with all the strengths and all the struggles of that heritage. We took them to Africa. We wanted to open their eyes to the amazing tapestry of history and culture and music. We looked out from those doors of no return. We stood in the cell where Mandela refused to break. As President, I’ve now visited Sub-Saharan Africa four times, which is more than any other U.S. President. (Applause.) And even as Africa continues to face enormous challenges –- poverty and disease and conflict -– I see a continent on the move. You have one of the world’s fastest-growing regions, home to a middle class that is projected to grow to over 1 billion consumers. You are more connected by technology and smartphones than ever before -- as I can see here today. (Laughter.) Africa is sending more of its children to school. You’re saving more lives from HIV/AIDS and infant mortality. And while there’s still more work to do to address these challenges, today’s Africa is a place of unprecedented prosperity and opportunity. So over the past seven and a half years, I’ve worked to transform America’s relationship with Africa so that we are equal partners. As so many Africans have told me, you want trade not aid –- trade that supports jobs and growth. (Applause.) So we’ve been working to boost exports with Africa. We’re working to promote good governance and human rights; to advance security; to help feed families. Earlier today, I signed a new executive order so that we’re doing even more to support American companies that are interested in doing business in Africa. (Applause.) And this fall, we’ll host the second U.S.-Africa Business Forum to encourage more trade and investment. And we’re going to keep working together in our Power Africa initiative to bring cleaner electricity to more than 60 million African homes and businesses. (Applause.) And we’re doing this not just because I love the people of Africa, but also because the world will not be able to deal with climate change or terrorism, or expanding women’s rights -- all the issues that we face globally -- without a rising and dynamic and self-reliant Africa. And that, more importantly than anything else, depends on a rising generation of new leaders. It depends on you. That’s why, six years ago, I launched the Young African Leaders Initiative. Because I’ve always believed that one person can be a force for positive change; that one person, as Bobby Kennedy famously said when he visited Soweto, that one person can be like a stone, a pebble thrown in a lake, creating ripples -- ripples of hope, he called it. And that’s especially true for all of you. You’re young, you’re talented, optimistic. You’re already showing you can make a difference. So what we wanted to do through YALI is to connect you with each other and to resources and to networks that can help you become the leaders in business and government and civil society of tomorrow. And the response has been overwhelming. Across Africa, more than 250,000 people have joined our YALI network. They get access to online courses. They have a network of peers and mentors across Africa and across the globe. We’ve issued nearly 150,000 certificates from those courses. I might, when I have a little more time, maybe teach one of those courses myself. (Applause.) Right now I’m kind of busy. (Laughter.) We’re training thousands of young people in leadership and entrepreneurship and networking at our four Regional Leadership Centers in Dakar, Accra, Nairobi, and Pretoria. And today, I’m proud to welcome all of you, the third class of Mandela Fellows. (Applause.) More than 40,000 people applied. You’re our biggest class yet -– double the size of the previous year –- 1,000 YALI fellows strong. And for the last six weeks, you’ve been studying and learning at some of America’s best universities. Today, you’re not just Mandela Fellows but you’re also Hawkeyes and Buckeyes, and -- (applause) -- Sun Devils. We’ve got some Fighting Irish here. (Applause.) We’ve got our first class of Energy Fellows -– (applause) -- young people at UC-Davis studying new ways to promote clean energy and fight climate change. And not only have you been studying and learning, but you’ve also immersed yourself in American culture. You’ve looked at sites from our nation’s founding in Boston and Philadelphia. You’ve visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York. You’ve spent time in my hometown of Chicago. (Applause.) So you’ve got a taste of America, which, for some of you, apparently included something called lobster ice cream, which I’ve never tasted myself. (Applause.) But I have to admit, it sounds terrible. (Laughter.) But that’s okay. You were very brave. (Laughter.) You’ve also gotten a front-row seat on the fascinating roller coaster process of American democracy, because you’re here during election seasons. And I hope you’ve buckled your seatbelts. (Laughter.) But it actually has been a good lesson and a reminder democracy is hard everywhere -- even in the world’s oldest, continuous democracy. It’s always challenging and it is always messy. But as you’re watching our election, I want you to know that one of the things that leaders in Washington agree on, on both sides of the political aisle -- Republicans and Democrats -- is the importance of a strong American partnership with the nations and peoples of Africa. That’s true today. I’m confident it will be true for years to come. (Applause.) So we’re going to keep standing with you. America is going to keep standing with activists like Geline Fuko of Tanzania. Where’s Geline? (Applause.) Geline is a lawyer and human rights activist. A few years ago, she thought people in Tanzania should be able to use their mobile phones to read their constitution, so she went out and designed Tanzania’s first -- (applause) -- she designed Tanzania’s first database of constitutional resources, opening up her government to more of her people so they could understand their law and their rights and their responsibilities. So thank you so much, Geline, for the great work. (Applause.) We’re going to keep standing with social entrepreneurs like Awa Caba of Senegal. (Applause.) Whoa. Where is Awa? Where? You're over here. (Applause.) So who was this guy who jumped up? (Laughter.) He’s what you call your hype man. (Laughter.) He was hyping you up. (Laughter.) So Awa co-founded a tech hub to offer free training for women in coding and IT skills. And she also started an e-commerce platform to help Senegalese women take their products, whether it’s cosmetics or fruits or jams “to the market and the world.” Because Awa knows that when our women succeed, our countries succeed. So thank you, Awa, for the good work. (Applause.) We’re going to keep standing with strivers like Mamba Francisco of Angola. Where’s Mamba? (Applause.) Mamba is his own hype man. (Laughter.) So two years ago, he wanted to be a Mandela Fellow, but he didn’t qualify because he didn’t speak English. So he buckled down -- he studied, he learned. And he’s here today helping other young people in Angola learn to read and write and make it to college. So, thank you. (Applause.) And finally, we’ll stand together in memory of John Paul Usman. As many of you know, John Paul was a bright young leader from Nigeria who inspired people around the world with his work for peace. Tragically, he lost his life earlier this summer in a hiking accident, and I know you’re showing solidarity with the green ribbons that some of you are wearing. Like you, I have faith that John Paul’s legacy of building peace and fighting for children’s rights will live on, not just in Nigeria, but in all those he inspired in your countries back home, and here in the United States. Because this is a two-way street. For all the experiences that you’re gaining here in the United States, we’re learning from you. We’re energized by your passion. We’re learning from your perspectives. And that's why this year, for the first time, Americans travel to Africa to visit Mandela Fellows in their home communities so that Americans -- (applause) -- so that Americans can learn about development and community building and more from Africans. And even more Americans will participate in this exchange next year. It’s also why I’m excited to announce new support from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the U.S. African Development Foundation, and the Citi Foundation, to provide even more Africans with grants and professional opportunities. Give them a big round of applause for their support. (Applause.) So these partnerships don’t just change the lives of young people like you, they’re also energizing our countries and shaping our world. We’ve created programs like this not just in Africa, but in Southeast Asia, in the Americas, in Europe. So you're part of a huge and growing network of the next generation of leaders around the world. And while I’m going to leave it up to historians to decide my overall legacy, one of the things that I’m really proud of is my partnership with young people like you because all of you inspire me. (Applause.) So years from now, when you’re running a big business, or doing a great nonprofit, or leading your country as a president or a prime minister, or a minister of finance or something, my hope is that you can look back and you will keep drawing from strength and the experience that you've gotten here. I hope that you’ll remember those of us who believed in your potential. And I hope, as a consequence, you then give back to the people who are coming up behind you. Because that’s how we keep making progress together, across oceans and across generations. (Applause.) So as you do that, you should know that you’ll always have a partner and friend in the United States of America. I could not be prouder of all of you and the great work that you've done. I want to once again thank our outstanding institutions, our universities that have been hosting you. We're very, very proud of their great work. (Applause.) And so with that, now what I want to do is open it up for questions. I know that some people are watching on the YALI network online. So hello, everybody. Over the past week, they've been sending in questions over Facebook, so we're actually going to start with one of those. And we've got a YALI alum here to read our first question, Steve Zita. Where are you, Steve? There you are. You're going to read our first question. Go ahead, Steve. Q Thank you very much, sir. By the way, you just said that people might wonder if you and Emmanuel were cousins. I just wanted to say that in this room, we're all brothers. And you're one of us. (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT: Although I have to say that at this point, I’m probably an uncle. (Laughter.) I wish I could say I was a brother or a cousin, but now I’ve got some gray hairs. (Laughter.) So you got to call me uncle. Go ahead. Q Yes, sir. So thank you very much. I’m Steve Zita from DRC. I’m a 2015 alum. I was at the University of Texas at Austin. (Applause.) There they are. And as you know, the YALI network is a huge pool of about 250,000 people. So we couldn’t all be here. Unfortunately, I think we might not fit in the room. And our first question comes from Charles Stembo (ph), from Zambia, who wanted to know, what has been the most challenging issue you've had to handle since you've become President of the United States? And also, what will be your last message as a President, of course, to the young people across the globe? THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ve had my share of tough issues. The issue that had the greatest magnitude was the issue I faced when I first came into office, and that was that the world economy was in the midst of an unprecedented financial crisis that was then spilling over into the broader economy. And the growth and trade and the entire financial system was contracting at a pace that we hadn't seen since the 1930s, since the Great Depression. And so the series of actions that we had to take very quickly to strengthen our banks, to coordinate internationally, to unlock the financial system, to make sure that people did not engage in protectionist behavior, to resuscitate our auto industry, to put people back to work, to make sure that we didn't get a further downward spiral to stabilize the housing market here -- that was important not just for the United States, but that was important internationally because we're such a big engine for economic growth. And we're still suffering from some of the scars from that Great Recession that we had in 2007, 2008. But overall, we averted the worst of the crisis and we were able to stabilize the situation so that the world could start growing again. And that means jobs and opportunity and prosperity for a lot of people. Probably the most frustrating challenge that I've had on an ongoing basis typically involves conflicts outside of the United States. Syria is the toughest example. But the conflicts that we continue to see in South Sudan, for example, where after years of fighting and millions of people dead, finally there was the opportunity to create an independent country of South Sudan. And yet now, within South Sudan, there is still conflict between the two countries -- or between two factions. Those are very challenging because the United States, on the one hand, cannot police and govern every spot in the world. On the other hand, people look to us to have a positive influence. And our goal has been consistently to try to bring people together so that they can sit down and resolve issues politically rather than through violence. It is a source of ongoing daily frustration for me that we have not been able to stop some of these conflicts. One of the things that we've seen in the world today is a shift. It used to be that you had these big wars between great powers. Now so often the greatest suffering arises out of either ethnic conflict or sectarian conflict or states that are unstable. And the consequences for ordinary people in those countries are enormous. And in some ways, it's harder to stop those kinds of conflicts than it is simply to defeat an army that is clearly identified. And the challenge of terrorist networks, which has been an ongoing project of ours and many of our partners around the world, is tied up with this issue -- because when you have regional conflicts and young people are displaced and they are without education and they are without prospects and they're without hope, then the possibilities of them being recruited into an organization like ISIL or al Qaeda or Boko Haram, even if it's just a tiny, small percentage, is obviously going to be higher than if people are given opportunity and there's stability in their lives. So the one thing that I know is that the way we're going to solve these problems is not in isolation but by having people of good will from across regions, across continents working together. And that begins with many of the young people like you around the world who are trying to do the right thing. (Applause.) Oh, by the way, I always go boy, girl, boy, girl here to make sure things are equal. (Laughter.) That was a young man who asked that question, right? So it's a lady's turn. Go ahead, right there. Here, you've got a microphone. Q Hi, thank you for the chance, Mr. President of the United States. (Laughter.) I work in international advocacy. THE PRESIDENT: What's your name? Q My name is Samreen. I'm from Sudan. (Applause.) I'm a co-founder of something called the Sudanese Human Rights Initiative. I go work in international advocacy a lot, and we meet representatives from your government, and they play a big role influencing the resolutions that come in Sudan, which part they will be. So I really want to understand how the United States stands, because we have sanctions, and sometimes I feel they're not enough. So I want to see in the international relations what the situation of the United States and how can they help to empower young people like us, and to be heard, and to be in roundtables, to help and develop democracy in the country. (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT: Good. Excellent. Well, Sudan is an example of some of what I was talking about earlier. I mean, there's a history in Darfur and other parts of the country of enormous conflict internal to Sudan. And our goal when we -- woops, uh-oh, sorry, guys. (Laughter.) I'm tearing up the stage here. (Laughter.) Our goal when we put together a package of sanctions is not to punish the people of that country, but is rather to make sure that we can exert some leverage so that the country is more responsive to the needs of the people; that they are more prepared to open up government to peaceful concerns and people who are trying to organize around human rights or democracy or so forth. The pressure that we apply is not always enough to actually entirely change the practices inside those countries. And sometimes, let's face it, there are countries that are very resentful and suggest, why don't you mind your own business? Their attitude is, who is America to tell us what to do when you yourselves have your own problems inside your country. And my response is that America has to have some humility in recognizing that we have our own issues; that ultimately, whether it’s people in Cuba or people in Sudan or people in other parts of the world where there are challenges around human rights -- that ultimately it’s going to be up to the people themselves in those countries to determine their fate. But I do believe that there are certain principles that apply everywhere. I believe that governments should follow the law and not be arbitrary. I believe that every individual has certain rights -- to speak freely, and to practice their own faith freely, and to assemble peacefully to petition their government. I believe that women should be treated equally, and if you come from a country in which it is traditional to beat women or not give them an education, or engage in genital mutilation, then you should change your traditions because those are bad practices. (Applause.) And so I do think it is important for us to stand up for those principles, recognizing that we’re not perfect, that we need to listen to criticism just like other countries do, and also recognize that even as we may sanction a country, for example, we also need to engage with them so that there becomes the opportunity for dialogue and hopefully we can have some positive influence. Now, there are going to be times where -- and I’ve said this before -- where the United States is standing up for human rights but the country that we’re dealing with also is a partner on national security issues. And so we have to balance the needs for our security interests and having diplomatic relations with that country while still applying some pressure. And I think that sometimes people view this as hypocritical -- why aren’t you always putting pressure on every country; if a country is doing some bad things to its people, you should have no dealings with them at all. And I will tell you that that’s a luxury for people who are outside of government to be able to say that. But when you’re inside of government, then you have to try to balance, okay, I’m going to engage with this government, we’re going to talk to this government, we’ll meet with them, and we will be honest with them about our differences even as we’re working with them on some of the things that we agree on. And hopefully, over time, this makes a difference, it has some impact. Our hope is, is that Sudan, over time, is more responsive to the basic principles that we’ve discussed; that by engaging with them sometimes around regional conflicts where we have common interests, or around anti-terrorism efforts, that the opportunities for dialogue improve the prospects for human rights. But ultimately, it’s going to depend on the courage and the conviction of people like you, people inside of Sudan or inside of any of your countries, to be able to bring about change in a peaceful fashion. But we’re very proud of you, so keep up your good work. (Applause.) It’s a guy’s turn. That man in the corner right there. Go ahead. No, no, this one right here. You, yes. Right there. Go ahead. Q Thanks very much, Mr. President. I need -- first of all, if you can allow me to ask to my fellow -- all of us, if you can just stand up and thank again once more President Obama. (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT: Oh, you don’t need to do that. That’s fine. (Applause.) Thank you. Q Thanks very much. I appreciate you too much. I’m Christian Mapandano (ph) from Congo. And first of all, I would like to thank you because you have given me the opportunity to know something about America. I’ve noticed that America is not perfect. Our countries are not perfect. But I’m a journalist and we have used media to destroy our Africa, to destroy our countries. Today, all they know about Africa -- it's poverty, it's hunger, it's malnutrition. Although what I know -- I’m speaking like a Congolese -- Congo that I love too much. My country has got many natural resources. And it’s a victim of this wealth, of this richness, because powerful countries have used this to destroy our people, to bring war in our countries, to bring armed groups in our countries. And people are being poorer and poorer every day, and countries which are making armed weapons keep on improving -- keep on developing. And this is not good. So I’m going to ask a favor from you. The first one is that you are going to leave the White House I think by November. THE PRESIDENT: January, but that’s okay. (Laughter and applause.) Q That’s good. It will be in January. So I’ll ask you one favor. First of all, if you can be a mentor to our leaders, political leaders, as soon as you are going to leave the White House. Please be a mentor to our African leaders, because you are an African American -- (applause) -- to change this continent. And the second one favor -- the second favor, I’ll need a really a special picture with you. (Laughter.) Thanks very much, President. (Laughter.) THE PRESIDENT: All right. So this is as good a time as any to let you know that after I’m done, I’m going to shake everybody’s hands. (Applause.) No, no, no, no, wait. Wait, wait, wait -- when I say everybody, I don’t mean literally everybody. (Laughter.) I’m going to -- because there are a thousand of you. I can’t shake everybody. But -- AUDIENCE: Yes, you can! (Laughter.) Yes, you can! THE PRESIDENT: I’ve got another job I’ve got to do. (Laughter.) But here’s what I cannot do is take selfies, because then I’ll be here for the next four hours. It won’t work. So, no, you can’t get your picture. I’m sorry. But let me address your broader question. The Congo is a good example of a country with, as you said, enormous natural resources, and a terrible history of abuse during colonialism, of conflict. As you said, weapons that are not made in the Congo pour into the Congo as part of other people’s agenda. And so you both have enormous opportunities, but enormous challenges. But a couple of things I would say. Number one, even though it’s important to know this history of what happened during colonial times in the Congo and what happened subsequent during efforts of independence, and the way that other countries from the outside have meddled in ways that were not helpful to the people there -- it is also important for every country to, at some point, say it is now our responsibility -- (applause) -- even if we have an unjust history, now it is our responsibility, and we can’t use the past as an excuse for some of the problems that we have today. And that’s true everywhere. So you have to be mindful of your history, because if you weren’t mindful of your history then suddenly you think, wow, what’s wrong with us? And in fact, there’s reasons why a country like the Congo has had so many problems. But it can’t be an excuse to then just sit back and say it’s somebody else’s problem, or it’s somebody else’s fault. And that is a very important principle I think for every country on the continent. We know the history of Africa. But now the question is, what’s the new history that we’re going to write? What are the next chapters that we’re going to write? (Applause.) In terms of media portrayals of Africa, I think you’re correct that the United States sometimes only sees Africa in terms of stereotypes -- it’s either the wildlife channel and its beautiful safaris, or it’s poverty and war. And too often, Americans just don’t realize there are a lot of people who are just going to work every day -- (laughter) -- and they do wear clothes, it’s true -- (laughter) -- and raising families and getting an education and creating businesses. So since you’re a journalist, one of your goals should be to help tell Africa’s story. (Applause.) And the good news is, is that because of the power of the Internet, it used to be that in order to make a film, you had to have millions of dollars and cameras and this. Now you take out your phone, or you have a small camcorder and you can produce content that immediately is reaching millions of people. So you can tell your own stories in a way that you could not before. And I would encourage all of you, no matter whether you're in business or in politics or working for an NGO, to think about how are you telling a story about Africa and its possibilities. Because the platform now exists for more and more people to understand the enormous potential and the good news that's taking place in Africa, not just the bad news. (Applause.) Okay, it’s a woman’s turn. I don't want to neglect everybody here -- right here in back, this young lady in the purple here. Go ahead. Q Thank you, sir. My name is Judy (ph). I’m from Botswana. (Applause.) I want to ask a question about balance and responsibility. Yes. I’ve watched how you have led in your presidency with your wife, Michelle Obama -- (applause) -- your family life in the public squares, and how you've managed to have balance between your public office and your home. And I believe charity begins in the home. And I’ve admired that about America, that your democracy is so open. You are investigated before you get into power and when you are in power. How important is it for the young people here today to understand that it’s important when you are in public office to run your family well, to take care of your wife or your husband and your children, also that it’s very important for us to hold each other accountable -- if you are a ruler, not to engage in greed or nepotism or corruption, and also us to hold them accountable for what they are doing? Thank you. (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that's a great question. Well, let me separate out the two questions. Because one question is about holding leaders accountable in their public lives and how they do their jobs. And the other question is really a more personal question about maintaining balance in your life. With respect to the personal question, what I would say would be that maintaining balance, having a strong partnership with your wife or husband, raising children who are kind and useful and strong and generous and all of the things that my wonderful daughters are -- (applause) -- that really is its own reward. The truth is we've had some very great leaders who did not always have great personal lives. And I’m not actually somebody who believes that if you go into public office, that your personal lives -- unless you're committing crimes or things like that, that that is necessarily the best measure. Because we've also had people who were wonderful fathers and great husbands who were bad leaders. So the two things don't always align. For me, the reason that it’s been useful for me to maintain that balance is because I think it’s grounded me. It’s given me a sense of perspective. It’s allowed me during the course of my presidency, when things aren’t going so well, to remember that I have this beautiful family and this wonderful wife. (Applause.) And when things are going very well, it’s good to go home and then my wife teases me about how I left my shoes in the middle of the living room. (Laughter.) Or my girls think what I am talking about over dinner is boring. And that brings me down to Earth, right? And so it’s been good for me to maintain perspective in my work. But ultimately, I do that for very selfish reasons; it’s for my own rewards. Because the one thing I’m almost positive about -- in fact, not only am I almost, I am positive that if I’m lucky enough to live to a ripe old age and I'm on my deathbed, and I’m thinking back on my life, I won’t be remembering some speech I gave or some law I signed. I’ll be remembering holding hands with one of my daughters and walking them to a park; that that will be the thing that is most precious for me. (Applause.) So that's on the private side. Now, on the public side what I would say is, is that although not perfect, the United States is actually pretty good about holding its leaders accountable. Part of that has to do with freedom of the press. Part of it has to do with our separation of powers so that it’s not one person in charge of everything. But even the President of the United States is subject to the Constitution. That Constitution is interpreted by a Supreme Court. If I want to pass a budget, it has to go through Congress. Even if I get everything through the federal level, there are still states and cities that have their own perspective. You have a private sector. So power is dispersed not just in one big man, but across the society. And I think that is very good. Now, it’s frustrating sometimes -- I won’t lie. There are times where the press -- right now I’m at the end of my presidency, so the press is kind of feeling a little sentimental. And they think, oh, he’s gotten old. Look at him -- we've beat him up. (Laughter.) Now, let’s focus on the new guys coming in. But there have been times where I thought the press was very unfair, and I’d open up the newspapers and I’d go, what? And I’d start arguing. But there have also been times where the press investigated something and I thought, you know what, this is a problem. And the United States government -- you have -- I have 2 million people who work in the federal government. We have a budget of over a trillion dollars. It’s the largest organization on Earth. So there are going to be times where government is screwing up. And the fact that the press is there to ask questions and to expose problems does make me work harder. It focuses me on, that is a problem. And too often, in too many countries around the world, the attitude of the people in charge is, I want to shut up the criticism instead of fixing the problem. And that is not good for the people, and in the end, it's not good for the president, the prime minister, those in charge. Because over time, what happens is you get -- you just hear what you want to hear. It's as if you had a doctor who, whatever the checkup, he just kept on telling you you're fine. And then suddenly you start having a big growth in your neck -- (laughter) -- don't worry about it, it's fine. (Laughter.) And you start limping, and it's like, aw -- if you're healthy, you're great. And you never get well. So I think the importance of accountability and transparency in government is the starting point for any society improving. And that also means that the press has responsibilities to make sure that it's accurate, to make sure that it doesn't just chase whatever is the most sensational but tries to be thoughtful and present, as best it can, a fair view of what's happening. But in the end, I'd rather have the press err on the side of freedom, even if sometimes it's a little inaccurate, than to have the person who is governing the country making decisions about who is wrong and who is right and who can say what and who can publish what. Because that's the path to not just dictatorship, but it's also the path to not fixing the real problems that exist. (Applause.) Okay. It's a gentleman's turn. I'll call on this guy right here. So I need a translator -- my sign language is not so good. We need a sign. Q (As interpreted.) Thank you so much. So you're definitely a visionary. And with Martin Luther King, I can relate to you -- I can relate the both of you together. So in America, a lot of countries -- sorry, there's a lot of states and there are a lot of countries that we are coming from that have diversity. There are visas that have to be filled out, there's a lottery system that you have to go through. And so while everyone is coming to the U.S. -- there's a medical system, there are people who are seeking to get their PhDs, to get their doctorates, to get a lot of educational advances. There's a lot of educational advances that people are having. And so while people are coming here, they're seeing that they're not able to -- for example, becoming a physician or becoming an engineer; that individuals that come from Africa can, in fact, achieve their dreams. They can come to the United States and they have a limitless option of educational tracks that they can take to have good work and not necessarily depend specifically on the profession to do it for them. And the government can be an aid in that process to help them excel in their profession. And also, the second part of my question -- there are many objectives and goals, but right now, as you are coming to the end of your presidency, how do you feel as though you can personally continue the initiatives that you've set forth for Africa since you are coming so quickly to the end of your presidency? What are your plans to continue those objectives? (Applause.) Q (As interpreted.) I have a supplementary third part, I'm so sorry. (Laughter.) THE PRESIDENT: But we don't want too long a question. All right, can I answer? No? Good. So, first of all, I thought that was very cool that you had like kind of a three-way translation going on there. So you had the sign language, that was then signed back, that was then translated to English. So there was just a whole bunch of really smart people communicating. (Applause.) But if I understood the first part of your question, look, one of the great achievements of the United States is our university system, which it really is unparalleled anywhere in the world. It's not just one or two great universities. We have hundreds of great universities. (Applause.) And we have an entire community college system that allows people to get practical training as well, even if they don't get a four-year degree. And that is a huge advantage because those countries that are investing in human capital, that are training people, are going to do better -- that's the most valuable resource. There are countries that have natural resources, but if their people are not valued as the more important resource, those countries will not succeed. Yesterday, I had a state dinner with the Prime Minister of Singapore. Singapore is a tiny, little island, just a little spot, a little dot on a map. But it has one of the most wealthy, well-educated, advanced populations in the world -- not because they've got oil or because they've precious gems, but because their people have been educated and they can thrive in this new knowledge-based society. So it's a huge advantage for us. Now, I think in each of your countries, it is really important for your current leadership and many of you who will be future leaders to make sure that, first and foremost, that educational infrastructure is in place. (Applause.) And it has be to be provided for everybody -- not just boys, but girls -- and it's got to start early, because you can't leave half of your population behind and expect that you're going to succeed. (Applause.) And, by the way, let's face it, the mothers, even in enlightened marriages like mine, are probably doing more in terms of teaching children than the fathers are. So if you're not teaching the mother, that means the child is also not getting taught. And so the first is to create the infrastructure where people are learning. But I think one of the points you're making also, though, is we have some countries where people are getting degrees but, because of the rules and the regulations and the policies, are not allowing for enough entrepreneurship and enough private sector growth. Then you have people who are educated but they're frustrated because they can't find good work. And so it's not enough just to educate a population. You then also have to have rules in place where if you want to start a business you don't have to pay a bribe. (Applause.) Or you don't have to hire somebody's cousin who then is not going to show up on the job but expects to get paid. Or if you want to get electricity installed, you have to wait for five months to get a line into your office. So all the rules, the regulations, the laws, the structures that are in place to encourage development and growth -- that has to be combined with the education in order for those young people who now have talent to be able to move forward. And too often, what I've seen in a lot of African countries -- and this is not unique to Africa; you see it in a lot of other places -- there's this perspective of, okay, you get an education and then you get a slot in some government office somewhere. And if you don't get one of those slots then that's it, you don't have any -- there's no opportunity. And I am a strong believer that government -- strong, effective, transparent government -- is a precondition for a market-based economy. You can't have one without the other. But what is also true is that if every job is a government job, then there's going to come a point where you're not going to be able to accommodate all the talents of your people. So you have to be able to create a private sector, a marketplace, where people who have a new idea, who have a new product or service, they can go out there and they can create something. And if you don't have that, then you're going to frustrate the vision and the ambitions of too many young people in your country. So I think America in the past has done this well. Our big problem here in this country is sometimes we forget how we became so wealthy in the first place. And you start hearing arguments about, oh, we didn't want to pay taxes to fund the universities. Or we don't want to pay taxes to maintain our roads properly because why should I have to invest in society, I made it on my own. And we forget that, well, the reason that you had this opportunity to go work at Google or to go work at General Motors or to go work at IBM had to do with a lot of investments that were made in science and research and roads and ports and all the infrastructure that helps preserve the ability of people who want to operate effectively in the marketplace to be able to make it. And I always tell people who are anti-government in the United States: Try going to a country where the government doesn't work. (Laughter and applause.) And you'll see that you actually want a good government. It's a useful thing to have, but it's not enough on its own if you also don't have then the ability of people in the private sector to succeed. (Applause.) It's a woman's turn. Let's see. The guys, you can sit down. Guys, it's not your turn. (Laughter.) This young lady right here. No, not you -- I said this young lady right here. (Laughter.) Come on, bro. What's your name? Q My name is Falaca Diane (ph). I come from Benin. (Applause.) Thank you, Mr. President, for giving us this opportunity. When you were speaking, you spoke about leaving people behind. I want to use that same phrase to mention here that we have left a lot of young and dynamic other people behind to come here in the United States. And what has been the barrier? I want to pay tribute to every fellows who come from every African countries, but I want to pay a special tribute to all fellows who come from Mali, Senegal, Niger, Cote d'Ivoire, and Benin. (Applause.) The challenge is twofold, Mr. President. Not only do we have to qualify as good leaders, we also have to qualify as good English speakers. (Applause.) But we have people back home who cannot speak this language. Mr. President, you are at the end of your term. I would like you to partner with all these countries -- Mali, Benin, Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Mozambique -- (applause) -- to help us build English club, English language centers for young people to be able to be more efficient and seize this opportunity. Thank you very much. (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT: Good. I think you make an excellent point. Obviously we have people who are here from Francophile countries or from Portuguese-speaking countries, but what we also want to make sure of is that everybody can participate. And for a range of historical reasons, English has become in some ways a lingua franca. And frankly, I wish we as Americans did a better job of learning other languages. One of the things about being a big country, we’ve always kind of felt like, oh, we don’t need it. But now, in an interconnected world, the more languages we speak, the better. So I think it’s excellent practical advice. And we will work with our team to think about how we can incorporate English learning into our program. (Applause.) So thank you very much for that news I can use. All right, let’s see. We’ve got a gentleman -- this guy right here in the cool hat. Q Which -- THE PRESIDENT: Well, you both have cool hats, but I was calling on him. (Laughter.) Right here. Go ahead. Q Thank you so much, Mr. President. I want to start by saying thank you so much for this opportunity. I think you’ve done a great job as a President, and you inspire a lot of us Young African Leaders. (Applause.) Also, I want to say that back home where I come from -- my name is Falah Ano (ph), by the way. I’m Nigerian. Where I come from there are lots of bottlenecks and barriers to the youths participating in politics -- because politics we see as a platform that offers change we desire to implement. So what is your advice, being in the White House for eight years, coming as a young (inaudible) to the White House and after eight years the things you’ve seen from where you came from and now -- what advice do you have for young Africans who aspire to run for office? And what do you think they can do to make a difference even when they get to political office? And secondly, this is -- just use this opportunity to say a big shout-out to my wife, Admaz (ph). And I promised her if I get a chance to talk to you, I would say hi on her behalf. (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT: Okay. So you see, he’s keeping balance. (Laughter.) Making sure he can go back home and say, hey, honey, I’ve -- (laughter) -- I was looking after you. People here in the states -- we have a White House interns program, and I often talk to young people after they complete their internship at the White House. And they ask me a similar question: What advice would I give for people who are interested in public service and politics? And obviously, each country is different. Some countries are more challenging because democratic policies are still not so deeply entrenched; oftentimes there’s not as much turnover in government because people, once they get in, they don’t want to leave. In part, by the way, that also has to do with the lack of opportunity in the private sector. One of the reasons why you want to have a country that has a good, strong government but also a private sector is if you don’t have a good, strong private sector, then the temptation for people to stay in power in government -- because that’s the only way to make a living or to succeed -- that becomes a strong temptation, and that then leads to the temptation to corruption or to suppress opposition, or to not have honest elections. Because you’re hanging on -- because if you lose, you’ve got nothing, right? (Applause.) And one of the good things about the United States is that, look, you run for office, if you lose, there’s other ways of making a living. It’s not a tragedy. And, no -- and it’s interesting -- I mean, there were times where -- during my political career, there were times where I thought, you know what, this isn’t going all that well. And I remember when I ran for the United States Senate, I had already lost a race to be in Congress. I had been in the state senate for eight years. It was putting enormous strains on my family because I was traveling a lot. And I thought to myself, you know what, this is it -- if I don’t win this U.S. Senate race, I’m getting out of politics, I’m going to go do something else. And I was comfortable with that view. It also meant that once I became President -- and people have talked about, for example, in my first term when I was trying to get the health care law passed, and the politics of it were not going well, and people were very angry and oftentimes misinformed about what it would do -- I decided, look, even if this means that I don’t get a second term, I’m going to go ahead and do it anyway. And part of the reason was because I said, if I lose I’ll be upset, it’ll be a little embarrassing, but I’ll be okay, and there’s no point in me being in office if I can’t actually do something with the office. (Applause.) Now, that leads me to the main advice that I would have for those of you who are interested in politics or government. I always say to young people: Worry less about what you want to be and worry more about what you want to do. (Applause.) Because those are two different things. I think one of the problems we get sometimes here in Washington is we have people -- not everybody, and maybe not even the majority -- but there are people here who -- they had in their mind very early on, “I want to be a congressman.” And then they’re doing everything they can to be a congressman, and then once they become a congressman, they don’t know why they’re a congressman. (Laughter.) All they know is they want to stay a congressman. And so this is true not just in politics; I think this is true in business, as well. The most successful businesspeople I know, they don’t start off saying “I want to be rich.” What they say is, “I want to invent the personal computer.” And then it turns out, wow, Steve Jobs, or Hewlitt and Packard, Bill Gates -- you guys did a really good job, and it just so happened that it made you really rich. But there was a passion about trying to get something done. It’s certainly true in politics. So if you want to be in politics, my advice to you would be, why? What is it that you want to do? (Applause.) Do you want to provide a good education to young people? Do you want to alleviate poverty? Do you want to make sure that everybody has health care? Do you want to promote peace between ethnic groups in your country? Do you want to preserve the environment? And whatever it is that you want to do, start doing it. Because you don’t have to have an office to do that. (Applause.) You can start a program to help young women in your village get an education. You can decide in whatever part of Nigeria you’re from that you’re going to go back and try to promote health and wellness programs for young people. And the experience you get from actually doing these things then will inform the nature of why you might want to go into politics. First of all, it may turn out that you are making such a difference and having such an impact without going into politics that you decide, I don’t want to do that, I want to keep on building what I’m doing. If you do decide to go into politics, you will have not only the experience but also the credibility with the people you want to represent, because they’ve seen you actually do something useful. And the last point I would make is, politics is a little bit like going into acting, or being a musician. And what I mean by that is you can be really talented, but maybe the timing is off. Maybe you didn't get the lucky break. And so you can't guarantee that you're going to be elected or successful in a particular office. I mean, when you think about me being President of the United States, it was quite unlikely. (Applause.) And I still remember I ran for the Senate, I won my primary, but I still had a general election. And then I was selected to speak at the Democratic National Convention. This is in 2004. And the fact that John Kerry picked me to speak was sort of accidental. And I gave a pretty good speech. (Applause.) No, no -- but, wait, wait. So the day after the speech, my name is everywhere, and I’m on television. And people are saying, wow, who is this guy, Obama? (Laughter.) That was wonderful. We're really impressed. And he’s got a future. And maybe someday he’s going to run for President, et cetera. And I told my friend -- because we were still in Boston, and we were walking, and there were these huge crowds, and everybody is wanting to shake my hand, and I said, I’m no more smarter today than I was yesterday. (Laughter.) I didn't suddenly magically become so much better than I was when I was just a state senator. Some of it had to do with just chance. It was luck. So you don't have control completely over luck, over fate, over chance. But you do have control over being useful and getting good work done in your communities. (Applause.) So stay focused on that. And then if you stay focused on that, then maybe success comes in politics. But if it doesn't, you will still be able to wake up every morning and say, you know what, I’m making a difference. I’m doing good work. (Applause.) I’ve only got time for one question. Yes, I’ve been working hard up here. One question. So the young lady in the hijab, right there. Yes. Right there, go ahead. Where are you from? Q I’m from Sudan. THE PRESIDENT: Oh, no, no, I can't do another Sudanese. I love you, though, but I have to be fair to -- I’ve got to make sure every country -- countries get a chance. I can't hear. I can't hear. Wait, wait, wait, I can't hear. Cameroon. All right, right here, from Cameroon. But I will shake your hand, though, because I feel it was unfair for me to call on you. So you can come up to the front. I’ll make sure to shake your hand. (Applause.) All right, go ahead. Q Thank you, Mr. President, for this opportunity. I’m Lily. I’m from Cameroon. (Applause.) Thank you. Some of us come from areas where our governments don't really integrate what we do here in the U.S. -- governments that are a little bit maybe hostile, environment hostile. What are some of the strategies you're putting in place to make sure that this, our governments, integrate all that we have done here so that we can better impact our environment? Thank you. (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT: Well, we've been talking about this with the State Department. Because one of my goals is to make sure that the program continues after I leave. (Applause.) And I think that we have a great interest in both promoting this program, but then also working with your governments so that they see this is an enormous opportunity for them. What we want to let them know is that the talent that all of you represent is going to be the future of your countries. And so take advantage. We’ll partner with you but also with your governments to work on the projects that you've designed, to make sure that you have a sort of a sponsor that is kind of looking out for you. I think the fact that we've created these four regional centers and this network and that embassies in each of your countries are aware of what you've done will be helpful to you. But in the end of the day, as I’ve said before, you're going to be the ones who actually have to take advantage of the opportunities. There’s going to be some things we can do, but at the end of the day, your vision will have to be won by you and by your fellow countrymen and women. So part of the reason why I love this program is this isn’t a matter of what America is doing for you, this is us being partners but mainly seeing what you can do yourselves to change, transform, and build your countries. And I don't want to be -- look, I want to be honest with you. There are over 50 countries represented here. It represents a wide spectrum. Some of you are going to go back and what you're doing is welcomed. Some of you will go back and not so much. Depending on the kinds of things that you want to -- maybe if you're just focused on public health, you’ll get less resistance. If you are interested in human rights or democracy, you might get more resistance. There are some countries where you being active and speaking out publicly can be dangerous. There are some places where it’s welcomed. There are some places where freedom of the press is observed; other places where it is viewed as objectionable. I can't, and America cannot, solve all those problems. And if I were to promise that, I would not be telling the truth. (Applause.) But what I can do is to make sure that the program continues, that the network continues to get built, and that the State Department is engaged with your countries explaining why what you represent is so important to the continent. And what I can also commit to is, is that even after I am President, that this will be a program that I continue to participate in and work with because it’s something that I’m very, very proud of. (Applause.) So thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.) END 4:45 P.M. EDT
Sebastien Roblin Security, Does Paris have the world's best tank? “So what do you think of France’s new super tank, the Leclerc?” a retired colonel in the French army’s logistical brigade jokingly asked me in 2002. “You know, the one we paid a fortune for and that we’ll never use in battle.” So far his prediction has proved true. The French military has deployed light armored vehicles and air power in its combat missions in Afghanistan, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Central African Republic and Mali. But the French army’s main battle tanks haven’t fired in anger since the Gulf War. But in the summer of 2015, the United Arab Emirates threw two battalions of Leclercs into the civil war in Yemen — and from the few sketchy reports, it seems the tank has fared better than the American-made M-1 Abrams has done in the same conflict France, along with England, has been a pioneer of armored warfare since World War I. At the beginning of World War II, it actually fielded more tanks — and better-armed and -armored ones — than the Germans did, but the French army’s poor doctrine and organization doomed the vehicles. (Recommended: US Army's 5 Most Lethal Weapons of War) During the Cold War, France produced two major tank designs — the AMX-13 and AMX-30. The AMX-13 was a light tank. Debuting in 1953, it weighed a mere 13 tons and boasted a long-barrel 75-millimeter gun. Israel and India both deployed the AMX-13 in heavy fighting against Arab and Pakistani opponents, respectively — and the consensus was that the AMX-13’s mobility was useful, but it was too lightly armored for pitched battles against other tanks. The French army, however, was convinced that anti-armor weapons were becoming so effective that adding thicker armor was pointless. It preferred to emphasize speed and firepower. Thus, when the AMX-30 tank arrived in 1966, it had only 80 millimeters of armor, compared to the 243 millimeters of armor that protected the United States’ contemporary M-47 Patton tank. But the AMX-30 still had a decent 105-millimeter gun and, despite its light armor, managed to attract significant foreign orders. It also proved readily adaptable into various support vehicles. Read full article