Readers: I’ve asked Darius Mans, president of Africare, to join us on the blog this week. Africare is the oldest and largest African-American led organization providing humanitarian aid in Africa, and it’s celebrating its 40th anniversary at an event in Washington, D.C. There, our chairman and CEO, Rex Tillerson, will be accepting the Corporate Service Award on behalf of ExxonMobil for the company’s work in fighting malaria and promoting economic empowerment for African women. Africare has long been one of our key partners in these efforts, and you can learn more by watching the video below about our work in Chad. We’re honored to continue our work together.
I’d like to thank Ken and ExxonMobil for giving me this opportunity to talk about the role of Africare and the importance of continuing to provide support for development and progress in Africa.
Since our founding in 1970, Africare has provided more than $1 billion in assistance and supported more than 2,500 projects in 36 countries. Our work has helped millions of people across the continent of Africa meet basic needs, improve healthcare, fight disease and improve economies.
While we’re very proud of what our organization has achieved, we have not done it alone. Leaders from around the world — presidents, philanthropists, CEOs, educators, citizens – have joined us in helping bring aid and economic empowerment to the African people.
Each year, we recognize such leaders at a special Africare award ceremony – and we are especially proud of our 40th anniversary award recipients.
This year, we are honoring His Excellency Nelson Mandela with our Lifetime Achievement Award for his enduring commitment to freedom and peace in Africa and around the world. We also will be recognizing Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, managing director of the World Bank, with the John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award for her contributions to international finance and economic development in Africa.
And for the first time, we are presenting a Corporate Service Award to recognize the vital role that the private sector plays in our mission. Rex Tillerson will accept this award on behalf of ExxonMobil, a company that has helped fight the battle against malaria and invested in the development of women in Africa.
Through our work and that of our partners, we’ve made major strides over the past 40 years. For example, Africa’s infant and child mortality rates have decreased by some 40 percent since 1960. The number of Africans with access to safe water has increased 15 percent since 1990.
But plenty of challenges still exist, and they won’t be easy to overcome. Many Africans still struggle for enough food to eat, enough safe water to drink, and basic services that will improve their quality of life.
That’s why we’re calling upon the international community – both the public and the private sector – to join us in helping African citizens strengthen their communities and their economy. I’m delighted that ExxonMobil is part of this effort, and I look forward to continuing our partnership in the years to come.