New United States Ambassador to the Gambia, Pamela White, yesterday presented her credentials to President Yahya Jammeh at State House in Banjul.
Confirmed as President Obama’s nominee for Ambassador to the Gambia by the US senate on 29th September 2010, Ambassador White comes to the Gambia from serving as Mission Director for United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) in Liberia. There, she managed USAID’s second largest development budget in Africa, averaging over US$200 million a year.
According to a statement from the US Embassy in Banjul, Ambassador White holds the rank of Career Minister, the highest rank within the Foreign Service. “Ms. White has over 35 years of experience from serving mostly in Africa, where she began her public service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon (1971-1973). Ms. White joined USAID in 1978 after several years of work in education and research.”
At USAID, Ambassador White has served as community liaison officer in Burkina Faso, Deputy Director Executive Officer in Senegal and Haiti and Executive Officer in the Haitian, Egyptian, and South African missions. As Deputy Director for East Africa in Washington D.C., she coordinated the delivery of much-needed food to Ethiopia and Eritrea, helped to develop a six-year Ugandan strategy, and oversaw the expansion of programes in Sudan and Congo.
In Mali, Ambassador White’s work as Deputy and Mission Director for USAID is credited with the tripling of the number of girls in primary school, the 200 percent increase in the number of elected women leaders and the doubling of the percentage of children receiving vaccinations.
For her extraordinary work she was awarded the highest decoration given to foreigners, the Knight of the National Order of Merit (Ordre national du Mali). She is one of four Americans who share in this honour.
Following her work in Mali, Ambassador White was appointed Mission Director in Tanzania where she managed a $130 million aid program focused on HIV/AIDs prevention, malaria control, primary education, conservation of natural resources, and control of corruption. She oversaw the start major health initiatives including the President’s Malaria Initiative, which led to an 85 percent reduction of confirmed cases of malaria in Zanzibar, and one of the largest President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programs in Africa.
Ambassador White also helped the country receive one of the largest Millennium Challenge Corporation grants after implementing development strategies to fight corruption and improve accountability.
Ambassador White, a native from Auburn, Maine, studied at the University of Maine and the School for International Training where she earned a Master’s degree in International Development. In 1999, she graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
She received the 2007 Bernard Lawn ’42 Humanitarian Award from the University of Maine, for her many years of service to improve the health, education, and the economic well-being of people around the world.
Ambassador White is married to a member of the U.S. Foreign Service, and has two grown children.