Assistant Secretary Tibor Nagy Speaks to Congress

Remarks
Tibor P. Nagy, Jr.
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs
Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference
Washington, DC
September 14, 2018

 

Representative Bass, distinguished guests, scholars, colleagues, and friends.

I’m honored to be in the company of so many friends of Africa.

And I am especially pleased to have been invited to this event by Representative Bass, one of the most dedicated and consistent voices for sustained, positive engagement with Africa that we have on the Hill.

Representative Bass, I salute the work you are doing in bringing together policy experts, members of the African Diaspora communities and senior government officials to focus America’s attention on this very dynamic and important part of the world.

Africa is incredibly important to me. I’m Hungarian by birth; American by citizenship and education; but I gave my heart to Africa shortly after I arrived there in 1978.

Truth be told, while I’m a presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate, the person who made me really want to pursue this position is Linda Thomas-Greenfield, someone well known to this audience and a true leader on all things Africa. I’d like to recognize her and my other immediate predecessors in this role, including Jendayi Frazier, Johnnie Carson, and most recently, in an acting capacity, the indefatigable Don Yamamoto.

Those of you who know Africa know the incredibly smart, dedicated, and talented individuals who work in the Bureau of African Affairs. I’m grateful to be back in their company and humbled at the chance to come back into what is truly a family.

I’ve had innumerable and wonderful experiences living and working in Africa for over 22 years in 8 postings, as has my own family.

My wife Jane became deeply involved in worthwhile causes at our postings, and our children were the first triplets born in an independent Zimbabwe. This has become a family business for us – my son Peter and his wife Amanda are enjoying their third posting on the continent, and hope to spend their careers there.

I am delighted to see that this Africa Braintrust gathering is highlighting the “diversity of Africa” and the demographic trends – really, a demographic tsunami – that is profoundly shaping the continent.

I couldn’t agree more with the critical importance of focusing on youth and the youth bulge that will surely transform not only Africa’s political and economic landscapes, but that of the globe.

It may well be one of the most significant demographic events in human history – and the steps we take now will determine whether it’s for good or ill.

View the full remarks here