Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan,
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Supreme Deputy Commander of the United Arab Emirates,
-Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
-Ladies and Gentlemen,
I appreciate the invitation that I was assigned to participate in the activities of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the ceremony for the Zayed Sustainability Award to the winners of this year, and speak before such distinguished international personalities on “The future of Africa.”
As we know Africa is the cradle of humanity, populous continent and likely to grow if we consider that has the highest rates of fertility and birth, and still is the largest reserve of mineral resources in the world, including the most precious of all the water.
Paradoxically, with this potential we are the least developed continent from an economic point of view, and therefore less able to meet the basic needs of their populations.
Although not a direct consequence and necessary, the truth is that we come from watching lately to a massive exodus of direction emigrants to Europe and other places, in search of better living conditions, employment opportunities and overcoming life.
However, this dream often is not realized, creating almost always a deep sense of frustration and anger.
That is to ask ourselves where we fail, what we need to trace out the paths of a promising future for Africa?
The truth is that, over time, the continent lost to third parties, that which best ever had and I quoted at the beginning of my speech.
On the one hand, he lost by way of slavery its best sons, their manpower, continues today to lose their best trained staff in the universities of the developed countries, and that tempt to get to develop their economies.
We continue to lose our mineral resources, which are exported raw without creating in our countries added value and skilled jobs.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Africa needs to overcome three major challenges: Ending illiteracy, to electrify and industrialize to develop.
And for that to happen, we need to change the direction of things, as I said, what is good, “skilled labor and not only, senior executives, scientists and researchers, valuable pieces of art, the raw material in the raw, and even personal fortunes that were to serve our economies “continue to leave Africa to the rest of the world in unfavorable conditions.
We need to have the ability to do the reverse, to attract to Africa what is best in the world as knowledge, advances in science and technology, capital, private investment and know-how to locally transform our raw materials. In other words, we need to industrialize our continent.
Only then we will create wealth and well-being for our citizens, and employment as the main source for all opportunities.
I see the future of Africa with optimism, because this dream is achievable if we take into account that the other continents such as Asia, for example, have managed to make this leap in less than half of a century, having passed from importers to exporters of high quality products to the international market, competing with the countries of the first world.
The country that hosts this important event, the UAE and other Gulf countries are also a good example of how the proper use of oil revenues for economic diversification, may constitute success.
Africa will develop, but we defend sustainable development that respects and preserves nature still almost virgin in some of our countries, our flora and fauna protected and preserved, protected our rivers pollution.
For the sake of the future of humanity, Africa with abundant water resources available, sunshine per year and wind to waste, should focus on the development and use of clean and renewable energy sources.
Good examples abound us, we can change the currently existing framework on the continent, especially depending on the courageous decisions that firstly we, Africans, we come to take.
Thank you for your attention!
(Unofficial english translation)