Senegalese President Macky Sall delivered an impassioned plea from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly for the fair and sustainable development of Africa, while at the same time imploring the international community not to blame Islam and Moslems for the crazed acts of a faithless and lawless minority.
“For us, African countries, energy is a vital issue because there can be no industrialization or development without access to electricity at competitive prices,” he told the opening day of the Assembly’s annual General Debate, unfolding a vision of a continent on the fast track to full development thanks to investment and trade, not aid.
He added: “Africa cannot continue to light up other continents thanks to its resources while itself remaining in darkness. Africa cannot continue to serve as a reservoir of raw materials that are transformed elsewhere to the detriment of its own industrialization. Africa cannot continue to be the continent most affected by climate change while its share of CO2 (global warming emissions) linked to energy remain the lowest, on track to reach only three per cent by 2040,” he added, calling on bilateral and multilateral partners to the African Union fund for the electrification of the continent.
President Sall urges the world to rather see Africa not as a land of humanitarian emergencies and a recipient of public aid for development but as a continent on the build, a pole on the cusp of progress. Such is the Africa of roads and highways, of bridges and railways, an Africa of dams and power plants, of industrial parks and agricultural farms.
“That is our ambition for our countries. We will realize this ambition not through aid but by massive and urgent investments in those sectors that bring growth and development,” he said, calling for the reform of international financial governance to ease access to credit for financing and development.
Turning to the current wave of terrorism, Mr. Sall stressed that no cause, much less a religious one, could justify violence. “We reject facile and unjust conflations. Neither Islam nor Muslims are to blame. We will not allow the crazed acts of a minority without faith or law to serve as a pretext to stigmatize more than a billion Moslems and their religion,” he declared.
“To dabble in irrational islamophobia is adding suffering to suffering, it is stoking the fires of antagonisms and exacerbating the clash of civilizations that extremists on all sides dream of.”