THE THIRD AFRICA ARAB SUMMIT
Partners in Development & Investment
State of Kuwait 19-20 November, 2013

Speech of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah,
Amir of the State of Kuwait at the Opening of
the third Arab-African Summit - Kuwait, 19 November 2013

 

In the Name of Allah, The Merciful, The Compassionate

 

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all, and His prayers and peace be upon our honest guiding Prophet Mohammad Bin Abdullah, and his family and trusted companions.

Your Majesties, Your Highnesses & Excellencies,
Your Excellency, Nouri Abu Sahmein, Chairman of the General National Congress of the State of Libya, President of the 2nd Arab-African Summit.
Your Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic and Co-Chair of the 2nd Arab-African Summit.
Your Excellency Hailemarial Desalge, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, chairman of the African Union Summit.
Your Excellency Dr. Nkosanza Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union.
Your Excellency Dr. Nabil Al-Arabi, Secretary General of the Arab League.
Your Majesties, Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies & Dear Guests,

Assalamu Alikom Wa Ramatullahi Wa Barakatuh

Allow me at the outset to welcome you personally and on behalf of the Kuwaiti government and people as dear brothers and guests in the State of Kuwait. I would also like to thank you for accepting our invitation to convene the 3rd Session of the Arab African Summit and to express the delight of the State of Kuwait in hosting this Summit.

Your Majesties, Your Highnesses and your Excellencies

Our 3rd Arab-African Summit is being held in view of continued politically critical and economically unstable conditions, that require us to keep working and intensifying our efforts to confront them, thus sparing our countries and economies the consequences of such conditions.

The timely convening of our Summit today, and your interest in attending at this high level, underline our determination to promote our joint cooperation to stand up to the challenges we all face, and bypass the obstacles that prevent us from achieving the legitimate hopes we aspire for development and growth.

Our selection of the theme (Partners in Development & Investments), for this Summit reflects our awareness of the importance of economic cooperation, representing as it does the basis of common interests, for which we proceed to fulfill the strategic partnership we seek. In this theme, we reiterate also our interest in dedicating the greater part of our agenda to economic and development aspects, thus reflecting a profound understanding of the requirements of the next phase, and a perception of the appropriate mechanism for that purpose.

We are all required to devise the guidelines for our future work that shall be based on a concept of genuine partnership. It is neither acceptable nor is it an embodiment of the desired partnership, that our countries provide support from their part, and not be met with interaction and reciprocity from the other side; therefore integration becomes imperative to embody genuine partnership.

We all realize that our political issues in our Arab and African worlds are numerous and manifold, consequently discussing such issues in this conference, and attempting to reach a decision thereon would hamper our ability to focus on our economic issues, and our joint action to address them. We also realize that there are numerous other forums available to us to discuss, face and address these political issues.

The sustainable development we desire is the optimal exploitation of the resources and fortunes that Allah bestowed upon us without waste, through which we join forces to invest our resources in projects that consolidate our integration.

The Almighty has bestowed upon us arable lands, skilled workforce, raw materials, and wealth that can be invested to achieve food security, which has become a dire need in view of unstable global conditions, and an affected economy that still reels from the consequences of a global economic crisis that have swept all economies of the world without exception, leaving many states suffering from a regression in their rates of growth and prosperity.

The elements for providing food security are available in our geographic space and we should exploit them ideally to achieve the security we desire. The conclusions reached by the ministers of agriculture in their recent meeting in Riyadh could represent steps that deserve to be taken and acted upon to accomplish this goal, that will benefit our homelands and achieve their stability while providing peace of mind and job opportunities for our peoples, as well as security and profitable return on our invested capital.

Your Majesties, Your Highnesses and your Excellencies

Almost one month ago, we launched the agenda of our Summit with various cultural and economic activities in which innovation, ideas and experiences were blended to reflect a cultural and intellectual convergence that constitutes a solid base and fertile soil for proceeding in our common cooperation to the horizons we aspire to reach.

The economy occupies a large part of our activities through organizing the Arab-African Economic Forum, in which an elite group of specialists from the private and public sectors participated. Their ideas, visions and proposals aimed at achieving sustainable development, revitalizing investments between our countries and understanding the impediments that block our way forward, and finding appropriate solutions. The results of that brainstorming by the specialists can prove beneficial in devising the desired economic strategy, in order to overcome the long years of non-development, and catch up with the march of integration and achieve the aim we seek to reach a strategic partnership which can only be realized by work not idleness, by integration not division, and friendship not enmity.

Kuwait has recognized the strategic importance of the Arab-African Group and had long sought to strengthen the partnership between them by deploying its diplomatic missions in all parts of the African continent, while the Kuwait Fund for Economic Development became active in projects that promote development in African countries. In this respect, I directed officials of the Fund to offer soft loans to African countries in the amount of one billion dollars during the next five years, not to mention investments by a number of Kuwaiti corporations in various sectors. These companies represent the private sector which we aspire to play a leading role in helping achieve strategic partnership, all of which is proof of our firm conviction of the importance of strategic partnership. We should also mention in this respect the philanthropic work of Kuwaiti charitable associations that expand their activities to include many African countries. I am pleased to announce in this respect, that the State of Kuwait intends to earmark an annual financial award of one million dollars, in the name of the late Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sumait, focusing on development research in Africa. The award will be supervised by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences.

Your Majesties, Your Highnesses and your Excellencies

We recognize the importance to exert all possible efforts to make the African continent a main component within the system of the promising economies of the world. We realize also that this can not occur, except through an investment-friendly environment that facilitates the flow of foreign investments to the African States.

To achieve this, the State of Kuwait started many years ago investing in the African continent. Today, Kuwait proclaims its determination to work in cooperation and coordination with the World Bank and other financial institutions to guarantee the investment of investing one billion dollars, during the coming years in African countries with focus on infrastructure as an added value for the economies of these countries, driven by its belief in the importance of partnership and investment in this Continent, and the promising opportunities they represent.

Your Majesties, Your Highnesses and your Excellencies

The United Arab Emirates manifested the belief in the importance of economy in international relations, by joining the countries seeking to organize the International Expo Exhibitions 2020. In view of the massive capabilities of UAE, and its vast experience in economy and investment, we fully support its nomination for hosting this important event.

Your Majesties, Your Highnesses and your Excellencies

An urgent and painful question that we must address in this Forum is the tragic situation in Syria, where the machine of death is killing people of Syria, as causalities rise daily, and destruction of all aspects of life multiply. The appalling statistics and reports received from the specialized agencies confirm that the causalities of this tragedy have exceeded 100,000 of our brethren in Syria, and displaced millions of refugees both internally and externally which place a huge burden on the receiving states and on agencies concerned with displaced persons. All this places us before a historic, moral and humanitarian responsibility.

My country has responded to the appeal of the Secretary General of the United Nations to convene a 2nd pledging conference at the beginning of next year, following the huge success of the 1st pledging conference hosted by Kuwait in January 2013, which ensured pledges of 1.6 billion dollars.

The Security Council, the entity responsible for maintaining international peace and security, is called upon to unite in these circumstances to carry out its responsibilities by agreeing on a plan to put an end to the fighting, stop the bloodshed of our brethren in Syria, and preserve what has remained of their motherland, particularly since talk of convening a second Geneva Conference prevails in all international forums, This should present a historic opportunity, and we, from this platform, call upon all the participating parties to work honestly and sincerely in order to reach a political solution, bearing in mind the humanitarian catastrophe that befell the Syrian people, and the destruction of their country, not to mention the dangerous consequences of such development on the peace and security of the region, and the world at large.

Your Majesties, Your Highnesses and your Excellencies

We recognize that achieving development in our countries require specific programs and aims, and that attaining integration between our countries can not be realized without stability in our region, to allow us to dedicate ourselves to preparing integration plans and following up on their implementation without obstacles. The stability we seek in this region cannot be achieved while Israel continues its intransigence and refusal to implement the resolutions of the international legitimacy, and its insistence on expanding the building of settlements.

We call upon the international community and in particular the Security Council and the Quartet to put pressure on Israel, in order to induce it to implement the resolutions of international legitimacy, to establish an independent viable Palestinian State in accordance with international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

In conclusion, I cannot but pray to the Almighty for our success in achieving the good of our countries, preserving their pride and strength, and to achieve the aspirations of our peoples.

Wasalamo alaikom wa rahmato Allahi wa barakatoh.

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