Denis Sassou Nguesso President of the Republic of Congo arrived in Rwanda on Friday July 21 effectively starting his three-day state visit and on July 22 he addressed the Rwandan parliament both chambers.
Below are details of the full speech which was originally delivered in French but has been translated by the Taarifa.
Mr President of the National Assembly
Ladies and gentlemen parliamentarians,
Ladies and gentlemen members of the government;
It is with respect and honour that I address your august institution, depositary of the most beautiful pages of the shared common history of the daughters and sons of the Republic of Rwanda.
In this, your parliament takes its rightful place at the heart of the institutional framework of your country.
Representatives of the people, you are the affirmed expression of Rwandan sovereignty.
You are the people, the authentic strength of the influence of your Nation in the world.
The closeness and esteem of my compatriots for the Rwandan people constitute a real wealth, inscribed on the pediment of fraternity, friendship, trust and solidarity.
Allow me to show you the feeling of pride of the Congolese people and to send you my warmest thanks for the honor you are doing me through this communication before your parliament.
Your institution, Mr. President, enjoys an exemplary reputation, justified by the dynamism of parliamentary diplomacy carried out under your leadership.
The Rwandan Parliament is regularly quoted and magnified by the majority presence of women who represent more than 60% of parliamentarians within your hemicycle.
Some speak of a lesson from Africa given to the world.
Our continent, which is committed to the promotion and integration of women in development, is working to make this gender issue a reality.
In any case, gender parity certainly finds here in the Rwandan Parliament the anointing of its halo.
I am on my second state visit to Rwanda. I find today a real consistency in the quality of the welcome that has been reserved for me, a fraternal welcome in tune with the ties that unite our two countries.
In this land steeped in memories, I salute Rwanda, a country which, after the tragedy of the genocide, courageously rose to rebuild its unity, regain harmony and cohesion, restore peace and security and place itself, with determination, on the path of development.
On many occasions, during our discussions with my brother, President Paul Kagame, I have seen that your exhilarating journey towards progress and modernity continues with optimism.
But, like most African states, the effort to be made is still colossal.
No State can, on its own, face the onerous costs of projects intended to provide our countries with modern equipment and communication channels, such as rail, airport and energy infrastructures.
The issues and challenges present call for an effective reconfiguration of our way of thinking about the development of our economies.
For example, we need to establish a real overall synergy to ensure that Africa has a large and increasingly growing share of global industrial production.
We must take up the saving option of achieving, within a reasonable time, a sufficient level of collective autonomy, with a view to the industrial development of the continent.
Let us agree that when it united, Africa was able to free itself from colonization, conquer its independence, defeat apartheid and initiate development projects.
As such, the Constitutive Act of the African Union, created in 2002 in Durban, stipulates: I quote: “Inspired by the founding fathers of the OAU and by generations of Pan-Africanists, these leaders set themselves, among other objectives:
– the unity and solidarity of African countries;
– The defense of the integrity and the defense of its countries;
– the acceleration of the political and socio-economic integration of the continent;
-Scientific and technological research;
– the international promotion of common African positions;
-the harmonization and integration of regional economic policies” end of quote.
For more convincing development opportunities, a strong political will is necessary.
The challenges facing Africa can only be tackled in a holistic way.
The establishment of relevant tools for integration and comprehensive regional economic partnership, such as the African Continental Free Trade Area, is part of this fundamental option for a united, free and prosperous Africa.
This vision, which has been confirmed over time, still confirms today the accuracy of the thought of the founding fathers of Pan-Africanism. It magnifies the discoveries of science which, studying the evolution of the human species, has formally established that the first australopithecines of an extinct genus did indeed live in Africa where they made their appearance.
Africa is therefore indeed the cradle of humanity.
More than ever, Pan-Africanism, which retains all its relevance, is a political movement and ideology that promotes the total independence of the African continent and encourages solidarity between African countries.
Pan-Africanism is a social, economic, cultural and political vision of emancipation and integration of our peoples.
Today, pan-Africanism unquestionably finds its basic levers through the groupings of African states within regional development communities.
At the same time, we also need to revisit the intermixing of the peoples of Africa, beyond the specific contingencies of their respective history and culture.
I quote it:
“Recklessness, laziness and aversion to work are natural to the inhabitants of Africa. If humanity commands me to improve the lot of the Negroes, reason commands me to conform to their slavery” End of quote.
Faced with those who continue to think so, we must, frankly, remind them that the labor force of African slaves made it possible to lay the foundations for the development of the West.
We should have no complexes even when it comes to mastering new technologies.
As we all know, the future of the African continent also depends on the local processing of its natural resources.
Ancient history, contemporary history and current events bear sufficient witness to this.
In this, our wealth, real assets of our development must not be exploited at a low price or without substantial compensation.
In this order, Africa, which is home to one of the three green lungs of humanity and contributes very little to greenhouse gas emissions with less than 6% of global emissions, makes significant sacrifices by renouncing the exploitation of certain resources in order to preserve biodiversity and forest ecosystems.
As such, we must recognize the African continent as a true haven of clean air at the service of humanity and call on the international community to respect the commitments made, in terms of equity and related financial compensation.
With this in mind and to intensify our efforts in terms of environmental preservation and management of forest ecosystems, I have initiated the organization of the summit of the three tropical forest basins Amazonia – Borneo Mekong – Congo which will be held from October 26 to 28, 2023 in Brazzaville.
It is on African soil that the monumental pyramids were built, the fruit of a certain ingenuity already evident at the time of the pharaohs of Egypt. Our continent will be increasingly called upon as globalization accelerates and the demand for a new international economic order looms on the horizon.
For these future deadlines, Africa has significant global mineral reserves.
In terms of essential assets for its development, Africa abounds:
– mineral, oil and gas wealth;
– tropical forests sequestering large quantities of carbon and making the continent one of the major ecological lungs of the planet;
– a rich and diversified fauna and flora;
– vast arable expanses, large rivers, an appreciable level of sunshine;
– cultural, paleontological and archaeological riches.
Our continent remains the largest reservoir of raw materials on the planet.
In addition, the Congo River, the Nile, the Zambezi or the Volta have given Africa considerable hydroelectric potential, estimated at 300 gigawatts, not equaled by the rest of the world and very largely under-exploited.
For its part, the Congo Basin, through the Inga site with a potential of 40,000 megawatts and that of Tombo-Manianga with 20,000 megawatts, also enjoys a high and sufficient level of sunshine throughout the year, likely to allow the production of quality solar energy, at a lower cost and respectful of the environment.
The development of this immense hydroelectric potential would allow our continent to become one of the main, if not the most powerful exporter of electricity in the world.
Developing Africa therefore remains within our reach. But we must work, every day, to consolidate peace. The violence must cease and there must be security in Africa.
There is no salvation or development without peace.
This is why we must always advocate good neighborliness and peaceful cohabitation, for an effective and irreversible integration of the peoples of Africa. This option, which defies borders, brings people together and promotes solidarity and complementarity.
On this subject, honorable parliamentarians, let us remember this beautiful image which went around the world, mainly all of Africa, when, on the occasion of the 27th summit of the African Union here in Kigali in July 2016, my brother Kagame exhibited, for the first time in front of the press, the Pan-African passport, as if to show everyone the way to salvation, the way to follow.
This rare moment in our common history has further strengthened our faith in greater continental integration, while arousing, within our populations, the hope, as African citizens, to circulate, work and live without restriction or hindrance of any kind in all African countries, in fact on their own continent.
The most decisive victory, therefore, for Africa, is that of maintaining and restoring peace, promoting dialogue and consolidating better structured living together, pledges of hope, optimism and success on the path to development.
Since Antiquity, a question has always haunted the pen of many authors, even the most famous, namely “what novelty comes to us from Africa? »
The answer was always found by shortcuts.
For Aristotle, Libya always brought something strange, since it sheltered all kinds of ferocious animals with strange shapes.
For PLINY THE ANCIENT, in Africa wild beasts mated with each other, including between different races, thus giving birth to monsters.
For the French writer Rabelais, Africa was the mother of strange and monstrous novelties.
Nowadays, this questioning about the novelty coming from Africa has become a proverb that reminds us that evils and difficulties can always burst into our existence without warning.
This also means that there are still many people in the world today who believe that novelties from Africa are always equated with monsters.
Fortunately, the slaughter announced during the Covid-19 pandemic did not occur in Africa, the relevance and effectiveness of the mechanisms of active solidarity having brought a scathing denial to the announcements of the apocalypse made by the prophets of doom.
Thus, when the continent has fully assumed its destiny, the novelty coming from Africa will be its two billion inhabitants, mostly young and properly fed and cared for.
These will be its highly qualified and competent human resources as well as its modern infrastructure.
So what will come from Africa will be the great individual and collective pride of being a continent at peace, rid of recurring tragedies and resolutely turned towards modernity, towards development.
Long live the cooperation between Congo and Rwanda!
Long live Africa in peace and security!