Remarks at Pharmacy Supported by Micro-Finance

John Kerry
Secretary of State
SINOCO Medical Supply Store
Kinshasa, Congo (Kinshasa)
May 3, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: Patricia Nzolantima is a YALI graduate, this beautiful woman to my left here, which is the Young African Leaders Initiative that President Obama started. And she graduated from it in 2011?

MS. NZOLANTIMA: Yes. (Inaudible.)


MS. NZOLANTIMA: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY KERRY: 2012, yeah. And Irene Mpoy is now in YALI, and she will be coming to Washington, right? No?


SECRETARY KERRY: You’re not coming? Oh, I thought she was coming. (Inaudible.) There are 12 young leaders in the entire Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, who have been selected to take part in the Young African Leaders program. And they are an amazing group. When the Embassy here promoted the concept of the Young African Leaders program, there were a thousand applications very, very quickly to 12 positions. And these 12 leaders will be coming – a number of them be – they will be coming to Washington at the time of the African Leaders Summit, a two-day summit with President Obama. And I will be meeting, and other Administration people will be meeting with young African leaders in order to do as much as we can to promote this program, and mostly to promote entrepreneurship. I want to tell you about that.

Patricia, who is an entrepreneur – and you saw her magazine over here, which she publishes six times a year, once every two months, 10,000 issues. She does them free distribution, but the promotion – the 10,000 distribution guarantees the advertisement. And so she is a true entrepreneur. And she also provides to pharmacies, to a group of pharmacies – I think you have about 75, how many?

MS. NZOLANTIMA: Seventy-five.

SECRETARY KERRY: Seventy-five, yes. Seventy-five pharmacies. And what she does is buys her supplies, then she provides them to people like Irene. This is Irene’s store, her showroom. And here she sells both the major products that you see to clinics, hospitals, et cetera. But she also provides drugs, a pharmacy.

And you see a picture right here of one these pharmacy setups. It’s basically a sort of a predetermined concept where X number of drugs of different kinds that they know are going to be used are placed there. But what happens is Patricia is the one who provides the money to Irene to be able to pay for the drugs, and she buys them back from Patricia’s company at a discount. And her efforts are non-profit. She is trying to simply grow the ability of these women to be able to own their own pharmacy and own their own establishment. It’s a wonderful example of entrepreneurial activity. It’s the best of some independent initiative taking an enterprise and going out and making something happen.

We want this to happen all over the Democratic Republic of Congo, all over Africa. We want to grow the ability of young people, young people who are the future, to be able to create jobs, to have their own businesses, to have an idea and perhaps go out and fail, but at least be able to try and make a difference. That’s what makes entrepreneurial activity work for an entire country. And we’re going to try and support that.

So I’m very, very happy to be here and to celebrate this woman’s initiative and this woman’s willingness to take up her initiative and use her initiative to make it into something that serves the people. It’s a wonderful example of entrepreneurial activity.

We look forward to welcoming those who will come to Washington from the YALI program, and I know that President Obama is very excited about this initiative. I met with some YALI students this morning in Addis Ababa. They were all excited and ready to fire up and engage in their own entrepreneurial activity.

So I’m privileged to come here. I want to thank you. (In French.) And I’m really happy to be here, too. Thank you. Take care. Thank you all. (Applause.)