Statement by H.E. Foreign Minister Osman Saleh of the State of Eritrea at the 4th Arab-African Summit
Ladies and Gentlemen,
May I too join, the distinguished Excellencies who spoke before me, in thanking the Government and People of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea for their warm welcome, generous hospitality and for hosting this brotherly partnership in a way worth of its merit.
Eritrea, aware of the prevailing global inequalities and challenges, tailored its own development model that caters to its specific national values and needs.
It has been pursuing a policy of self-reliance that entails mobilizing domestic resources and building national capacities, as the corner stone of this development model.
Human resources (especially the youth) were identified as key drivers for this development model. Hence; a pioneering national development campaign known as Warsay-Ykialo Campaign was initiated.
The campaign is geared toward pulling the collective energies of the youth for development and transforming them in the process. This has yielded tremendous benefits and has helped us achieve a lot despite the challenges and existential threats that we face.
The campaign has focused on diversification of the economy, structural transformation in agriculture, improved standard of life and human capital formation. It has jump started investment in all these areas, but more is needed in particular for capital transfer, acquisition of technology and employment creation.
As I noted earlier, Eritrea continues to face existential threats and hostilities dictated and managed by external forces as their way of micro managing interests and nations.
In that vein Eritrea has been subjected to unwarranted hostilities; occupation; unjust and illegal sanctions and many more. They tried to vilify; isolate and destabilize Eritrea simply because it pursued an independent political line. Though these have had detrimental effects but have not been able to roll back our progress.
Illegal migration embedded in a burgeoning global human trafficking network has also been part of this conspiracy. An orchestrated campaign aimed at draining Eritrea of its productive energies by luring its youth into migration is also underway.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Eritrea’s policy of self-reliance also entails engaging in fruitful partnerships that are grounded in mutual respect.
More than five decades or so after independence our resource-rich continent still remains politically fragile, economically underdeveloped and globally marginalized.
As you are all aware of, colonialism had exploited Africa’s sons and daughters and plundered its resources. The oppressive legacies of colonialism have been affecting the continent’s political development and economic performances negatively.
Unless we take a strong and clear stand against this looming threat our continent seems destined to be systematically plundered and our marginalization bound to remain so indefinitely.
As you know, Ladies and Gentlemen, achieving sustainable development is one of the pressing challenges facing our continent. It is about time to change the page on the past. There should not be a room for business as usual. We cannot just gloss over to the prevailing inequitable international order.
The obstacles and challenges are there. But we need to make economic choices and need to rely on our own resources.The continent is endowed with sufficient resources to make it happen. Africa should say no to humanitarian aid and yes to mutually beneficial strategic partnerships.
I strongly feel that our task should be devoted to creating mutual understanding, mutual respect and mutual benefit. There is no development without security.
Likewise there is no security without development. And both hinge on mutual respect for sovereignty of states.
This strategically-driven partnership could only be viable in the long term; if it sets its strategic priorities right. The common challenges in environmental security, terrorism and migration deserve our coherent approach. Paradigm has shifted and so must our strategy.
In this respect, transformation of the international system, including the UN should be our important goal. Respect of the rights of our peoples to development, sovereignty and to live in peace without any threats should also be the epicenter of the future.
The warm brotherly feelings that Africans and Arabs uniquely share need to be accompanied by a proven track record of performance and reliability. Meaningful, substantive, and strategic cooperation in security, trade and investment is the way forward.
I thank you!
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Eritrea
Malabo, 23 November 2016