11 August 2014

Africa: 'U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Fruitful'

The Gambian leader has described as 'fruitful' the first-of-a-kind US-Africa Leaders Summit held in Washington DC. The summit looked into strengthening security and trade ties between the United States and Africa.

His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Jammeh was speaking Sunday afternoon at the Banjul International Airport in an interview with reporters, upon his return from the United States of America, where he was among 50 African leaders who took part in the summit.

The Gambian leader however maintained that the event would have been even more historic and meaningful if Africa was supported to have two permanent seats with all the powers the other five enjoy. "If we have to have two permanent seats without a veto power, then nobody should have a veto power because this is a historic injustice," he said.

For the continent to move forward, the Gambian leader suggested, there is the need to work together, adding that the ultimate aim of the summit was to know their opinions and what should be done for the continent's brighter future. This, he said, was what the US president and his government wanted to know, but observed that some of his colleagues had deviated and instead used the platform to talk about their individual countries, instead of Africa as a whole. "We should talk about Africa's future and work together for the betterment of the African continent," he insisted.

The president reiterated the need for peace and security to be put in place to ensure that development takes place. To this end, he underscored the significance of investment in education, arguing that some of the problems Africa is grappling with are out of ignorance. Some other priority sectors that Africa must invest in, the president suggests include, agriculture, energy and infrastructure. "We must also invest in health because if the country is not healthy, the children cannot be educated and they cannot be good future leaders. We have to ensure a healthy population", he noted. Showing the inextricable link between agriculture, health and education, Jammeh described the former as the foundation for all the two. "You must have a healthy nation in order for you to be educated and also you have to be educated to be able to improve your agricultural production and then you have infrastructure. You must have the infrastructure to support education, health and agriculture, and then industrialisation because Europe came out of dark ages because of their industrial revolution," he opined.

He went on: "Energy is also very important and I thought that all of us are going to speak in those terms. I have also made it very clear that this is a unique opportunity to hear Africans. That was my contribution and we had a fruitful meeting," he concluded.

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