July 20, 2024
US celebrates 248th independence anniversary in Benin, highlighting strong bilateral ties

US celebrates 248th independence anniversary in Benin, highlighting strong bilateral ties

The US Embassy in Cotonou marked the 248th anniversary of American Independence with a celebratory event on June 27. The ceremony was attended by representatives from the Beninese government, the diplomatic corps, and various partner organizations, emphasizing the enduring partnership between the United States and Benin.

US Ambassador to Benin, Brian Shukan, highlighted the tenth anniversary of the State Partnership Program between North Dakota and Benin. “The North Dakota National Guard has been a cornerstone of cooperation between the United States and Benin since 2014, focusing on collaboration with the Benin Armed Forces and the National Civil Protection Agency of Benin,” Shukan stated.

The event underscored the cultural bridge between the two nations. Ambassador Shukan recounted his travels across Benin, including a recent visit to Bantè, the hometown of Cudjo Lewis, who was taken to Alabama aboard the Clotilda, the last known slave ship to bring Africans to the United States.

Benin’s Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Franck Armel Afoukou, addressed the audience, highlighting the robust friendship and partnership between the peoples and leaders of the two countries.

He praised the quality of political and military cooperation, referencing the recent visit of AFRICOM Commander Michael Langley to Benin.

Ambassador Afoukou also mentioned the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), concluding his remarks with, “Long live Benin-American cooperation!”

Ambassador Shukan reviewed the achievements of US-Benin cooperation over the past year, noting several key initiatives:

  • The partnership with the Beninese military and police to train, advise, and assist in combating violent extremism.
  • The introduction of a malaria vaccine for children, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
  • The successful completion of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Energy Compact.
  • Efforts by the Peace Corps to improve living conditions, with 2,358 volunteers having served in Benin communities over 56 years.
  • Exchange programs that send young Beninese professionals to the United States to develop leadership skills and return to serve their communities.

“We continue to build on this solid foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic future,” Ambassador Shukan concluded.

For more information, please contact the US Embassy in Benin at +229 21 30 06 50.

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