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In Washington D.C, Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso Makes Case for Transforming Human Capacity in Africa

September 26, 2016

By Ajong Mbapndah L

denis-13 On the eve of the Africa Leaders Summit hosted by President Barack Obama, The U.S, Commerce Department and Bloomberg Philanthropies in New York City,  Hon. Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso and his team were  busy in Washington, DC, to network and promote the Youth empowerment agenda of his Foundation Perspectives D’Avenir.

In Washington, Sassou Nguesso was part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Constituency for Africa, and attended the 2016 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Phoenix Dinner that honored President Barack H. Obama and Hillary R. Clinton. As the founder of Foundation Perspective d’Avenir, Member of Parliament and Politburo member of the ruling Congolese Labour Party, Sassou says “empowering the African Youth with tools necessary to participate in economic development is imperative for the long term progress of Africa”.

Sassou Nguesso met with the press, business and political leaders and policy makers in Washington, DC. Asked to answer critics who see in his Foundation a stepping stone to broader political ambitions, Sassou said “I am a Congolese and has the same rights as every other citizen in my country to have aspirations if I decide to and the choice will be that of my compatriots to make”. Speaking in  English, Sassou Nguesso added “ my focus now is to give back to my community, my country, our biggest asset our youth and to do the best I can for the constituency I represent in Parliament”.

Empowering the youth is vital says Sassou Nguesso on the vision of his Foundation Perspectives d'Avenir

Empowering the youth is vital says Sassou Nguesso on the vision of his Foundation Perspectives d’Avenir

In the three-year assessment paper of the Foundation made available to the press, political, corporate, and civil society organizations like the Constituency for Africa, The Clinton Global Initiative, The Heritage Foundation, The International Republican Institute, Rep Mark Meadows’ (R-NC), Rep Adam Smith (D-WA, Central Africa Caucus) Rep, Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Senator Tom Udall, (D-NM) and the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s offices, Sassou Nguesso, who is also member of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Congolese parliament,  discussed about deepening US – Africa economic relations, especially how African biggest capital, its human resources can play a key role in shaping the future of the continent.

“The emergence and development can only be the result of a successful articulation or combination of natural, material, financial and above all human resources,” says Mr. Sassou Nguesso in the report which found a very receptive audience in Washington.

To turn the dream of emergence into reality across Africa, a variety of skills are needed says the report. Using the example of his native Congo, Sassou Nguesso says it is unfathomable that after been an oil and gas producer for more than thirty years, the country is still dependent on external labor for key sectors of the production chain. The story is similar in agriculture and mining in justification of the strategic choice of his Foundation to back development by boasting human capacity in scientific, technology and innovative areas that could transform the Congolese economy and Africa as a whole.

While the Foundation Perspective D’Avenir is still relatively young, a number of tangible programs are already being implemented. There is a scholarship program which has offered educational opportunities to 70 young boys and girls from less privileged backgrounds in Congo.

I have the same rights like every other Congolese to political aspirations says Sassou Nguesso in response to critics who see vaulting political ambition behind the vision of his Foundation

I have the same rights like every other Congolese to political aspirations says Sassou Nguesso in response to critics who see vaulting political ambition behind the vision of his Foundation

Still in its bid to ensure equal access to education, Sassou and his Team indicated that about 230.000 assorted school kits and material were distributed to under privileged kids. Without this kind of initiatives and encouragement, some of the best that will serve Congo tomorrow will be left out as Sassou Nguesso confirms that the Foundation was working on plans to do same for the new academic year in Congo.

Perspective D’Avenir is also using its vocational and professional training programs to help Congolese acquire talents that match the available job market. In sectors like hospitality, electricity, solar energy maintenance equipment and word transformation, there are Congolese who have gained employment thanks to trainings facilitated by the Foundation. The Foundation leadership indicated that feasibility studies are been done on the creation of University in the Northern part of the country that will specialize in vocational training for Congolese and nationals from other countries of the region.

Sassou Nguesso and his team at the US SenateThe major challenges facing the Foundation are financial and technical Mr. Sassou and his team said. The Foundation was hard at work building partnership with foreign institutions and the leadership was encouraged with enthusiasm from potential partners in the US.

Mr. Sassou Nguesso and his team were pleased with Young African Leaders Initiative and the Mandela Fellowship program spearheaded by President Obama. They urged  the next U.S Administration to put greater emphasis on encouraging public and private partnerships to build on initiatives that empower young Africans. By investing in programs that beef up human capacity, the U.S will be making a vital contribution in helping Africa to unlock its full development potential.

Sassou Nguesso and the Perspectives d’Avenir Delegation were part of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Phoenix Dinner that honored President Obama and Democratic party Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

Sassou Nguesso and the Perspectives d’Avenir Delegation were part of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Phoenix Dinner that honored President Obama and Democratic party Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

“While the government was doing a lot to move the country toward economic growth, it cannot be expected to do everything” Sassou Nguesso said in response to a questions whether the Foundation was not covering up for the weaknesses of the Congolese leadership. “every one as a role to play. Its complementary not mutually exclusive.”

Expressing confidence in the future of Congo and Africa, Sassou Nguesso believes that this will only be possible if young people are empowered to be active participants in the development process. “This is what my foundation is committed to doing,” Sassou Nguesso said.

 

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