Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and Togolese Abroad - Togo
Chief Negotiator of ACP Group for Post-Cotonou 2020 agreement - Professor of Political Philosophy

Prof. Robert Dussey

Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and Togolese Abroad - Togo
Chief Negotiator of ACP Group for Post-Cotonou 2020 agreement - Professor of Political Philosophy

Rabat Conference: Intervention by Robert DUSSEY

Virtual event, 18th April 2024

Mr Minister for Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Residing Abroad of the Kingdom of Morocco,

Mr Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Mauritanians Abroad, Chairman of the Executive Council of the African Union,

Madam Vice-President of the African Union Commission,

Distinguished Ministers of the member countries of the African Union High Committee in charge of the Agenda of the “Decade 2021-2031: African Roots and the African Diaspora”,

Distinguished Ministers of the North Africa region,

Distinguished Ministers of the countries of West, Central and East Africa,

Dear brothers of the diaspora and Afro-descendants online ;

Ladies and gentlemen, panellists,

Distinguished guests,

Dear participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The historical link between migration and pan-Africanism means that we cannot overlook the relationality between the two dynamics in the context of the 9th Pan-African Congress of Lomé and the current renaissance of pan-Africanism.

This is why, at the level of the High Committee of the African Union in charge of theAgenda of the “Decade 2021-2031: African Roots and the African Diaspora”, after intense discussions, we selected the theme “Pan-Africanism and Migration” as one of the themes for the six (6) regional conferences envisaged.

Once the option had been chosen, a choice also motivated by the topicality of the migration issue and all the challenges it raises, the High Committee had no hesitation in thinking of the Kingdom of Morocco, whose proactive and sustained commitment to migration issues is well known on the continent and worldwide.

I would like to take this opportunity, whose solemnity sheds more light on the 9th Pan-African Congress after the regional pre-Congress conferences in South Africa and Mali, on behalf of the High Committee in charge of the Decade and on behalf of H.E. Mr. Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBÉ, President of the Republic of Togo, to thank His Majesty King Mohammed the Sixth (VI) of the Kingdom of Morocco, “Champion of the African Union on the issue of migration”, for his work in the service of the Pan-African ideal, which is fortunately undergoing a renaissance.

To tell the truth, the Kingdom of Morocco was one of the major players in the continental milestone of pan-Africanism after the diasporic milestone. Born in the Diaspora, Africa’s drive to reappropriate Pan-Africanism on a continental scale was based on the strong commitment of a few States with visionary leadership, including Morocco.

Pan-Africanism, from the years of independence to the present day, is literally and symbolically inseparable from the city of Casablanca, which on 4th January 1961, on the initiative of His Majesty King Mohammed the Fifth (V), brought Africa together around African unity. Morocco was at the heart of pan-Africanism yesterday and Morocco remains at the heart of pan-Africanism today, thanks to the excellent work it is doing with our States within the AU and in the service of the pan-African cause. Even though the event is virtual, all our minds are on Rabat this morning.

Distinguished Ministers,

Dear participants,

Our identities are multiple and composite, but the one that brings us together, that unites us at this moment and constitutes us at all times and in all places, is our common African identity. The works of Cheikh Anta Diop have shown us, with great and strong resonance, what part North Africa plays in the general history of Africa and the role of sub-Saharan Africa in the historical development of the Maghreb. The North African identity is one of the components of the African identity on which we are founded and which constitutes us as beings.

As I have been recalling for some time now,like Georges Padmore, pan-Africanism [is] a manifestation of fraternal solidarity among Africans and people of African descent”. And in a world that is in the midst of a reshaping process, the first lesson we need to learn from the current revival of interest in pan-Africanism is the need to reactivate pan-African solidarity, which is the only way to strengthen ourselves and enable us to maintain our position as the continent through which the road to the future of the world passes.

The exhortation of President Kwame Nkrumah in 1963 on the occasion of the founding of the African Union remains relevant and the path to redemption: “Africa must unite“. “United, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world”.

Distinguished Ministers,

Dear participants,

How can we understand that, despite the immense assets at our disposal and the vigour of the new African generations, our continent is still being kept in a position of marginality dating back to 1945? This question should re-mobilise us around the Pan-African cause and the 9th Pan-African Congress scheduled to take place from 29th October to 2nd November 2024 in LomĂ© on the theme Renewal of Pan-Africanism and Africa’s Role in the Reform of Multilateral Institutions: Mobilising Resources and Reinventing Itself for Action “

The mobilisation of the countries of North Africa, but also of West, Central and East Africa around this regional conference convinces me of our understanding of the magnitude and importance of the issue, that of the fate and place of Africa and Africans in the world. 

Ladies and Gentlemen

It was migration, admittedly painful, that initially gave birth to pan-Africanism as a movement fighting for dignity, freedom and justice and for the triumph of the inalienable right of the peoples of Africa to self-determination and free use of their resources. When we see the mobilisation of our brothers in the diaspora and Afro-descendants as part of the current revival of pan-Africanism, we cannot imagine for a moment that we can relaunch the pan-African movement without taking migration as one of the most essential issues and concerns.

Connecting Pan-Africanism with migration at a high-level meeting of this kind has definite and relevant advantages. Firstly, it allows us to explore the roots of Pan-Africanism and remind younger generations of the great figures of Africa’s sixth region, such as Henry Sylvester William, William Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Edward W. Blyden and AimĂ© CĂ©saire, whose names are linked to Pan-Africanism. Secondly, linking pan-Africanism and migration today enables us to give the diaspora and Afro-descendants their rightful place in the process of Africa’s empowerment on the world stage and in continental development.

Contrary to anti-migration ideologies that see human mobility as a problem, we must see migration as the solution. Starting out in one corner of the world, human beings have conquered the surface of the globe through migration. The world, as it appears in each historical temporality, is a product of migration. Migration is the beauty of the world’s carpet, and that’s why we need to deconstruct the dangerous narratives about international human mobility in order to see it as a bridge, as a factor of rapprochement and decompartmentalisation of belonging. We need to develop our own vision of African migration.

Distinguished Ministers,

Dear participants,

I hope that this regional conference, through its two plenary sessions and the work of the expert panellists, will make it possible to make progress in deconstructing the pernicious narratives on migration, to explore national experiences and African approaches to the governance of migration, to highlight the contribution of African diasporas to the dynamics of positive development of African economies and to reaffirm the consubstantial relationship between African migration and pan-Africanism.

I remain firmly convinced that the work of the North Africa regional conference will lead to relevant recommendations and conclusions that will enrich the 9th Pan-African Congress of Lomé.

To conclude, I would like to thank the Kingdom of Morocco once again for its leadership on migration issues and the pan-African cause. I would also like to thank all my colleagues, the ministers online and the other participants for their commitment to this event, despite their time constraints and daily workloads.

Long live African Unity;

Long live Pan-African Solidarity;Thank you for your kind attention.

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