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Thank you so much, everyone. This is an exciting day.

It’s a day when we welcome a great likeminded partner—the nation of Eswatini—into the growing Clean Network.

Before I begin, I want to say on behalf of the entire U.S. Government how saddened we were to hear of the passing of Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini from Covid-19. This pandemic has taken a terrible toll on your country, just like it has on ours. And you have our deepest sympathies and condolences.

Despite these very challenging circumstances, Eswatini has shown exceptional leadership in choosing to become the first African nation to join the Clean Network. This signals your foresight as a nation. You understand that 5G is the wave of the future. It will be how our citizens, our businesses, and our governments interact with each other. And that’s why our networks must be secure and trusted.

Today, Eswatini becomes the 60th nation to join the Clean Network Alliance of Democracies, which now includes 60 Clean Countries, representing nearly 2/3rds of the world’s GDP, over 200 Clean Telcos and dozens of the world’s leading Clean Companies.

You’re in exceptionally good company. Clean Network members include:

  • 27 of 30 NATO Allies;
  • 26 of 27 EU Members;
  • 31 of 37 OECD nations; and
  • 11 of 12 Three Seas nations are all part of the Clean Network.

We’ve expanded the Clean Network to include Clean Cloud, Clean Apps, Clean Store, Clean Cable, Clean Things, Clean Currency, Clean Drones. It means much more than just Clean Technology. We have a great start on Clean Infrastructure with Clean Financing with the Blue Dot Network, Clean Energy with Clean Minerals with Energy Resource Governance Initiative (ERGI). It also includes Clean Supply Chains with Clean Labor Practices.

It’s no wonder the Wall Street Journal wrote that the Clean Network is an undisputed success and will be perhaps the most enduring foreign-policy legacy of the last four years.

There are many ways Eswatini will benefit from becoming part of the Clean Network.

One is through increased opportunity for foreign direct investment. When Clean Companies look to invest in African markets, they will naturally look for partners that share their commitment to trusted 5G infrastructure. They will not jeopardize their future by relying on high-risk 5G networks.

We are pleased that U.S. firms such as Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s have already chosen to build regional hubs in Eswatini. More will likely follow given today’s good news.

Eswatini’s status as a Clean Country will also protect your national security, safeguard your citizens’ personal data, and fortify your companies’ intellectual property against cybercrime.

This joint declaration on 5G security is another example of the strong bilateral relationship that already exists between the United States and Eswatini.

The United States has invested more than $529 million in Eswatini over the last 20 years, including more than $490 million in health assistance which has helped Eswatini become one of the first nations to reach epidemic control for HIV/AIDS.

We are Eswatini’s partner in the battle against COVID-19, providing more than $1.1 million to assist your initial response.

The United States also has a number of financing tools to help Eswatini as it joins the Clean Network.

The Development Finance Corporation, or DFC, which provides overseas financing, stands ready to explore opportunities.

I spoke recently at the Export-Import Bank’s board meeting, where we approved that ExIm can now finance 5G deals, even when they involve a trusted supplier from outside of the U.S., such as Ericsson, Nokia, or Samsung.

Financing from the DFC or ExIm can help close the cost gap between underpriced vendors like Huawei and ZTE, and high-quality trusted vendors.

Let me highlight one more way in which the United States and Eswatini see eye to eye. And this one is personal for me.

Eswatini has recognized Taiwan ever since you first became an independent nation in 1968.

Doing so is honorable, and it helps to counter the malign influence of the Chinese Communist Party on the African continent.

Despite increasing pressure from the PRC, King Mswati III regularly pledges his commitment to Taiwan, in keeping with the legacy of his father, King Sobhuza II.

In my time as Under Secretary, I have made it a personal mission of mine to advance diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Last September, I was proud to be the highest ranking State Department official to visit the island in over three decades and now the Taiwanese people have dubbed me the “Taiwan’s number one friend.”

For all of these reasons, I know that the United States and Eswatini are partners in promoting shared values—and that’s why I am so glad to have you in the Clean Network. We hope other nations in Africa will follow your lead.

Ultimately, the Clean Network boils down to one simple word —TRUST. It’s the most powerful word in any language. You buy from people you trust, you partner with people you trust.

The United States and all of our Clean Network partners trust each other. That’s why we can confidently build our economic futures together.

I look forward to seeing Eswatini’s bright future continue to develop over the coming years.

Thank you and God bless you.

U.S. Department of State

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