Theme: « Pan Africanism, Science, Knowledge and Technology ».
Honorable Doctor Naledi PANDOR, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa,
Honorable Doctor Blade NZIMANDE, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of the Republic of South Africa,
Dear Colleagues Ministers,
Fellow Members of the High Committee for the Decade of African Roots and the African Diaspora,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to thank the Government and the People of the Republic of South Africa for the warm welcome extended to me and my delegation since our arrival in this beautiful Country.
I take this opportunity to congratulate the Government of South Africa for hosting this Southern Africa Regional Preparatory Conference in preparation for the 9th Pan-African Congress to be held in Lomé in 2024.
May I recall that on 13 June 2023, the 6th Session of the High Committee in charge of the Agenda of the Decade on African Roots and Diaspora resolved that Regional Consultations be held in all six Regions including the Diaspora, as part of the Pre-Congress phase.
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Togo, I welcome the organization of this First Regional Preparatory Conference under the theme: « Pan-Africanism, Science, Knowledge and Technology ». This conference is timely, especially as it is being held back-to-back with South Africa Science Forum.
Indeed, if Pan-Africanism is the idea that peoples of African descent have common interests and should be unified, science is seen as the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.
As for knowledge, it can be defined as facts, information or skills acquired through experience, the theorical or practical understanding of a subject, and technology is known as the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in the industry.
Taking these definitions into account, we can see that there is a clear link between Pan-Africanism, Science, Knowledge and Technology. This confirms the relevance of the theme chosen.
I therefore take note of the subtopics equally relevant that will be debated during this Conference such as, inter alias: the influence of Pan-Africanism on Africa’s international relations and development; from Pan-Africanism to Agenda 2063; building a better African continent: opportunities for sustainable growth; the diaspora’s contribution in the continent’s development; the role of AU multilateral partnership in engaging Development Partners for sustainable development; building sustainable economic integration through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA); digital transformation to increase intra-African trade.
In view of the importance of these subtopics, I am looking forward to the outcome of this Conference in the form of concrete proposals after fruitful panel discussions and interactive dialogues. You can count on the active contribution of my Delegation to that effect.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The current context is that of the revival of Pan-Africanism. Pan-Africanism has been and remains today the most representative framework of the Alliance of Africa with its diasporas. The current challenge is to revitalize the Pan-Africanism in the interest of Africa and its diasporas around the world.
Africa’s relationship with Afro-descendants should not only be a relationship that is turned towards and based on the past, aimed at reaffirming their African identity. It must be apprehended in its actuality and especially in its future, a future to be built together within the framework of Pan-Africanism.
In this regard, I would like to point out the importance and relevance of Pan-Africanism in advancing the Agenda 2063: the Africa we want, the continent’s strategic framework that aims to deliver on its goal for inclusive and sustainable development and is a concrete manifestation of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress, and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.
Pan-Africanism is an essential and relevant element in advancing Agenda 2063, as it provides the foundation, vision and values of Agenda 2063. It inspires and guides its actions and initiatives which aim to strengthen and stimulate knowledge, scientific and technological development.
Pan-Africanism is also a strategic and operational tool for federating and coordinating the knowledge, scientific and technological resources of Africa and its diaspora. Pan-Africanism is therefore an ideal, but also a reality, which must be preserved, strengthened and reinvented, to make the Africa we want.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
You may recall that the 34th African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government through its Decision dated 7 and 8 February 2021 in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, declared the “Decade of African Roots and the African Diaspora” for the period 2021-2031 and further designated Togo as the AU Champion for the Decade and endorsed the establishment of a High Committee in charge of the Agenda for the Decade.
The main objective of this decision is to set up a platform for the preparation, promotion and support of projects, initiatives and events related to African roots and diasporas during the decade 2021-2031.
Through the various projects and programs, it is a question of participating in the reinforcement of the contributions of the diasporas and African ancestors to the sustainable development of the continent prescribed by the Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
It is a fact that people of African descent and the diaspora play a vital role in the emancipation of the continent by supporting development programs in Africa through effective advocacy in the legislative and executive bodies of their host countries, civil societies, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), academia, among others.
Similarly, the African diasporas, through their expertise, social commitments, and financial and economic weight, remain strong partners and stakeholders in the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
The Decade of African Roots and Diasporas is one of the innovative initiatives to bring together and federate projects and programs to strengthen the role and contributions of people of African roots and diasporas to the economic development of the African continent.
Just in terms of financial transfers made by the diaspora to Africa, the figures for remittances speak for themselves with nearly $689 billion in 2018, compared to $683 billion the previous year according to the World Bank.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to inform this Conference that in order to ensure the historical continuity of the Pan-Africanism movement, but also to rekindle the flame of Pan-Africanism in the current context where Africa is struggling to make its voice truly heard on the world stage, the Republic of Togo and the African Union will co-organize, in Lomé in 2024, in accordance with the Decision of the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, held on 18 and 19 February 2023 in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, the 9th Pan-African Congress on the theme :
“Renewal of Pan-Africanism and Africa’s Role in the Reform of Multilateral Institutions: Mobilizing Resources and Reinventing Ourselves for Action”.
Togo and the African Union, as part of the 2021-2031 Agenda of the “Decade of African Roots and the African Diaspora”, proceeded, on 22nd May 2023 in Lomé, to the official launch of the 9th Pan-African Congress. The launching ceremony presided, on behalf of His Excellency Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE, President of the Republic of Togo, by Her Excellency Victoire TOMEGAH-DOGBE, Prime Minister and Head of Government, was marked by the presence of members of the Togolese Government, Presidents of institutions of the Republic, as well as other personalities from the African Union, of the continent, African diasporas, and communities of Afro-descendants.
Thanks to you, Dear Sister Naledi, for personally attending this launching Ceremony and highlighting the contemporary importance of Pan-Africanism as well as the determination of South Africa to work alongside Togo and the AU for the success of the upcoming 9th Pan-African Congress.
The Pan-African Congress of Lomé will be a privileged space for Africans living on the continent and outside (the Diaspora and Afro-descendants) to question themselves, particularly on the issue of their human, political, cultural, social and societal future in a world that is increasingly unstable, lacking in collective responsibility and concerted governance involving Africa.
Through this congress, African countries will have to reflect on how to invent a form of human association, a political organization, and new visions to define what they want and can do for themselves and by themselves (‘Africanophony’), alongside other major players in the world economy and the international political scene.
The Pan-African Congress in Lomé will also examine the vision and means by which the development of the continent can best benefit from the capitalization of the skills, expertise and leadership of the Diaspora and Afro-descendants. It is a reservoir of potentialities to be transformed into powerful development levers for the continent.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I already mentioned, this conference is the First Regional Preparatory meeting among six, including the Diaspora, as part of the Pre-Congress phase.
Regarding the preparation for the 9th Pan-African Congress, to date, it is worth noting, among other things, the effective establishment of the High committee of the Decade of Africa roots and diaspora made up of fifteen members, the designation of national focal points to support the preparation of the congress.
The next step is the choice of members of the international preparation committee of the 9th Pan-African congress. That committee will have to decline the main orientations of the congress, follow the preparation activities and other related initiatives.
At the same time, the others 5 regional preparatory conferences will be held, and like this one, will formulate recommendations and flagships proposals in connection with their theme for a reinvented Pan-Africanism.
The congress will result in the “Declaration of the Pan-African Congress of Lomé” which will include:
- The question of the human, political, cultural, social, identity and societal future of the African in a world in deep mutation and of his status in relation to the other peoples of the world,
- The need to conceive in common for Africa, a vision, a doctrine, and principles of action of a reinvented and revitalized Pan-Africanism to weigh in the reform of institutions by relying on our assets and our potentialities,
- A community of past, roots and destinies with Africans and their ancestors living outside the continent leading to the design of a vision and innovative means to make the diaspora and Afro-descendants the recognized strategic actors of Africa’s development.
Specifically, the congress will have as results:
- The concretization of the ambition for the renewal of Pan-Africanism
- New strategies and strong recommendations formulated, notably on:
- The mobilization of innovative resources and partnerships for Africa,
- Collective responses to the strong aspirations of the diaspora and Afro-descendants regarding their African origins, roots, or identities,
- New approaches and a new Pan-African paradigm to reinvent Africa to better act in the service of the continent’s development and influence.
- A document of popularization on the contributions to the populations of the Pan-African Congress of Lomé elaborated and disseminated everywhere in Africa, in the diaspora and in the Afro descendant communities to confirm that it is indeed a Pan-African congress of peoples, associated in the preparations as stakeholders during the organization of the congress in Lomé.
Concerning the participation, the Congress will bring together: Heads of State and Government; Diaspora Representatives; Academics and Researchers; Civil Society Actors; Private Sector Representatives.
The registration to participate in the 9th Congress is already opened on the website of the Congress. I am looking forward to welcoming you all in Lomé from 22nd to 25th October 2024 for the 9th Pan-African Congress.
I thank you for your kind attention.