Lead Republican McCaul and Bipartisan Senate Delegation Travel to Rome, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, and Tunisia 

Washington D.C. – Recently, House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX) joined a bipartisan delegation of Senators on a congressional visit to Europe and Africa. The Members conducted official meetings with senior government officials regarding political and economic issues affecting the regions, specifically focusing on women’s economic development, trade, investment and counterterrorism. The trip gave members an opportunity to witness firsthand the impact of existing U.S. assistance programs and engage with African leaders to discuss new partnership opportunities. 

NOTE: Lead Republican McCaul was accompanied by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), and Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE).

Rome, Italy

Lead Republican McCaul and the delegation met with the U.S. Ambassador to Italy, Lewis Eisenberg. The group discussed the implications of Italy cooperating with China’s Belt and Road initiative and additional regional security threats.

Lead Republican McCaul and the delegation took part in a briefing with the World Food Program to discuss humanitarian crises around the world and how the international community can better respond to emerging conflict and support vulnerable populations.

Lead Republican McCaul and the delegation met with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and discussed refugee flows and terrorism threats from North Africa, our shared military interests across Italy, and the strength of our partnership within the NATO alliance.

Before departing Italy, the group took part in a meeting with Ambassador Callista Gingrich at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.

Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire

While in Cote D’Ivoire, members of the Congressional Delegation met with Vice President Daniel Kablan Duncan to discuss aspects our bilateral relationship, including increasing trade and investment, security threats in the region, and women’s economic empowerment. Cote D’Ivoire has received significant U.S. support through its second compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). The compact is designed to support economic growth and private investment by building workforce capacity, reducing transportation costs, and opening new markets. Members met with Minister of Transport Amadou Kone to discuss the impact of this program, and toured the port in Abidijan to see how U.S. assistance has resulted in job creation and economic stability.

Lead Republican McCaul and the delegation also joined Ivanka Trump, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green, and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) CEO David Bohigian in Côte d’Ivoire to launch the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP). The initiative, which aims to reach 50 million women by 2025, focuses on three pillars: workforce development and skills training; expanding access to capital; and removing barriers to women’s participation in the economy. Additionally, the U.S. Development Finance Corporation’s 2x Africa initiative aims to mobilize $1 billion and invest $350 million in women-led companies and projects. The Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act was signed into law last year. This legislation helps break down gender-related barriers to economic growth and supports women-led enterprises in developing countries.

Lead Republican McCaul and the delegation participated in the World Bank Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (WeFi) and discussed the importance of ensuring women have equal opportunities and access to finance.

Following the event, the delegation took part in a journalist moderated discussion with Heads of State and participated in a State Dinner hosted by the First Lady of Cote D’Ivoire, Mrs. Dominique Outtara. They discussed increasing trade, barriers to women’s economic participation, and security threats in the region.

Kigali, Rwanda

Lead Republican McCaul and the delegation met with the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. The delegation discussed the African Union-led Continental Free Trade Agreement, security dynamics in East Africa, and Rwanda’s commendable progress on improving development outcomes, like nutrition, access to education, and improved health resources.

Lead Republican McCaul and the delegation visited the Rwanda Genocide Museum on the 25th anniversary of the horrific violence that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans.

Tunis, Tunisia

Lead Republican McCaul and the delegation met with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi to discuss regional security and renewed fighting in Libya.

CODEL After-Action

After returning from his trip to Africa, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing titled, “Democracy, Development, and Defense: Rebalancing U.S.-Africa Policy,” to discuss U.S. policy priorities and assistance programs in Africa. At the hearing, Lead Republican McCaul gave a firsthand account on the success of U.S. assistance programs in Africa such as PEPFAR, the President’s Malaria Initiative, Feed the Future, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). As founder of the Childhood Cancer Caucus, Lead Republican McCaul has been especially invested in helping to reduce the mortality rate of cancer related deaths in Africa. He will convene a meeting next week with the Administration, leading childhood cancer advocates, including the Global Hope Initiative led by Texas Children’s Hospital, and private sector partners to discuss how the U.S. government can build off of the successes of PEPFAR to improve access to life saving cancer medications in Africa. He also expressed his support for proactive regional investments in security and development, particularly in volatile regions like the Sahel and initiatives such as W-GDP, to make the continent safer and more prosperous in the long run.

Recently, the House passed the Global Fragility Act to focus America’s diplomatic, development, and security efforts on preventing the root causes of violence and instability in countries around the world. As lead Republican on the bill, Lead Republican McCaul spoke on the House Floor about the growing threat and unprecedented levels of instability in West Africa and the Sahel region and how this legislation can bring stability and prevent violent conflicts before they erupt. Containing the threat of radicalization and counterterrorism efforts in Africa’s Trans-Sahara region remained a consistent theme on the trip. McCaul discussed his House-passed legislation, the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership Act (TSCTP), which codifies and improves a program to work with our African partners to build their capacity to combat violent extremism and prevent terrorism from taking a larger foothold.

Additionally, Lead Republican McCaul passed his bill, the Championing American Business Through Diplomacy Act, to promote American business interests abroad and counter China’s predatory Belt and Road Initiative in developing nations. McCaul spoke on the House floor to press Africa’s vulnerability as “ground zero” for China’s aggressive tactics as a result of discussions with African governments and business leaders and urged the United States to step up its presence on the continent.

Lead Republican McCaul published an op-ed detailing his takeaways from the trip including how the United States can partner with African nations to increase trade and investment and support women’s economic empowerment to create a more prosperous and stable Africa.