Speech of His Excellency Mr. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal on the occasion of the MEDays 2019 Forum
Excellencies, dear brothers Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria and Dioncounda Traoré, former President of Mali,
Excellency, Mr Ivo Josipovic, former President of Croatia,
Mr. Mohcine Jazouli, Minister Delegate for African Cooperation, Representative of His Majesty King Mohamed VI,
Ladies and gentlemen Ministers,
Mr. Wali of the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Region,
Madam President of the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Region,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Ambassadors,
Ladies and Gentlemen, in your ranks and titles,
It is always with renewed pleasure that I stay in Morocco, where I feel like in Senegal.
I extend my fraternal greetings to His Majesty King Mohammed VI, and express my heartfelt thanks to him for the warm welcome I have been given in the pure tradition of Moroccan hospitality. I thank all the administrative and territorial authorities for the time and effort devoted to my visit.
Morocco is familiar to us because our relations are old, diverse and strong. From time immemorial, the Saharan Sahelian space has been a continuum of intense flows, punctuated by commercial caravans, diplomatic missions and spiritual exchanges. Our presence here in Tangier, your beautiful city-crossroads on the shores of the Mediterranean, is a continuation of this long history
I thank and congratulate Mr. Brahim Fassi Fihri, President of the Amadeus Institute, for his kind invitation and his perseverance in organizing the Medays Forum.
I am happy to accept the Grand Prix MEDays 2019. I can certainly see the recognition of the efforts already made; but above all, an encouragement to continue these efforts, as the challenges are still numerous, in our countries and on our continent.
Clearly, we will only be able to meet these challenges in an environment of peace, security and stability, which offers the necessary tranquility for the work of economic and social development.
This is what gives meaning to the theme of this 12th edition of your Forum: The Global Distrust Crisis : Facing Subversion and Uncertainties.
It is true that the course of history is not reassuring, in these times of open or latent antagonisms, and above all, of acute crises and multiple vulnerabilities.
Crises and environmental vulnerabilities, which endanger the future of the planet, its inhabitants and its resources.
Security and humanitarian crises and vulnerabilities. Across the world, not only in Africa, millions of men and women continue to succumb to the abyss of war and terrorism.
Economic and social crises and vulnerabilities, which expose the paradox of a world of extreme opulence and extreme poverty.
Within and across countries, inequalities persist and grow. A recent study reveals that only 8% of the world’s population would own 86% of its wealth. Despite the decline of extreme poverty, more than 850 million people still live in conditions of absolute poverty; which makes it unlikely that the Sustainable Development Goal of poverty eradication will be achieved by 2030.
Other major challenges are emblematic of our time.
I think of the disturbing rise of populism and extremism, underpinned by the flood of fake news and the manipulation of consciences. Yet history has sufficiently proved that populism and extremism, which can not serve as a social project or a mode of government, invariably lead to impasse and disillusionment.
I think of the desires for civilizational hegemony, when some believe they are invested with the power and the mission to prescribe to others the way of being and acting.
But, to want to erect local values in a universal way of life, even though human societies are different in their history and traditions, is to ignore the equal dignity of cultures and civilizations; it ignores the dialogue that promotes respect, mutual understanding and the peaceful coexistence of peoples. In the words of my compatriot, Professor Felwine Sarr, there can be no right to “the civilizational injunction”.
Societal pluralities can not dissolve into a reductive monolithism. They should rather invite themselves to the “rendezvous of giving and receiving” prelude to the “civilization of the Universal, symbiosis of all cultures and all civilizations” advocated by President-poet Leopold Sedar Senghor.
My point is that we can not resign ourselves to the loss of trust. We must give in to neither the civilizational hegemonism, nor the anxiety of the present, nor the fear of tomorrow, to the risk of not acting.
The duty to act commits us all: public authorities, private sector, civil society and citizens, we are all challenged.
In order to establish or restore confidence, we must maintain the foundations of living together; that is, to accept the rules of the social contract that give meaning to freedom, responsibility and solidarity.
The essence of the democratic ideal is the right of the citizen to express himself and to manifest freely without being disturbed.
But the right goes with the duty. There is no freedom without responsibility. Freedom is inseparable from the responsibility that guides it in the secret of conscience and frames it by obedience to the law.
Whatever the opinions and ambitions, it must be admitted that subversion can not be an acceptable form of dispute; because it weakens the state, promotes instability and endangers peace, security, democracy and development.
Reason demands reconciling rights and duties, freedom and responsibility, legitimate ambition and the spirit of compromise.
Victor Hugo, a nineteenth-century thinker, recalled that : « Anything that increases freedom increases responsibility. To be free, he said, nothing is more serious; Liberty is heavy, and all the chains which it takes away from the body, it adds to the consciousness; in the consciousness, the right turns and becomes duty. Let us take care what we do; we live in demanding times ». End quote.
Truth of the 19th century, truth of the 21st century.
Moreover, the breath of freedom, inherent in democracy, is not enough by itself to sustain the social body. The people need freedom as much as daily bread; hence the imperative of economic and social rights, and the duty of solidarity that gives meaning to living together.
A progressive society can not live in peace with itself without virtuous economic growth; that is, growth that generates wealth, employment and social well-being.
She can not live in peace with herself when those who have more earn more and those who have less always lose more.
Poverty dehumanizes and makes the social contract precarious. It nourishes the frustration and despair that make the bed of radicalism of all kinds.
One of the State’s missions, its regulatory role and its social function is precisely to ensure that social cohesion is maintained by correcting inequalities and restoring hope to those who doubt that they will not lose confidence. .
That is why, in the vision of Un Senegal pour tous, I implemented public policies of social inclusion and territorial equity including:
- The Emergency Program for Community Development with its water, electricity and access routes components and equipment for rural women;
- Universal Health Coverage;
- Family Security Scholarships for the most vulnerable groups;
- And the Women and Youth Rapid Entrepreneurship Delegation, to support project promoters who can not access bank financing.
At the same time, we are pursuing the objective of emergence by 2035 with the Emerging Senegal Plan (PSE), which aims at the structural transformation of the Senegalese economy, the development of human capital and the promotion of the rule of law in an environment of peace, security and stability.
On the first phase of the 2014-2018 ESP, we have completed several development infrastructure projects through public investment.
In its Phase II, covering the 2019-2023 sequence, the PSE deploys a Priority Action Plan more oriented towards private investment in sectors such as:
- energy, agriculture, livestock and fisheries;
- health, education, training and the digital economy;
- hotel and tourist infrastructures;
- transportation infrastructure including two flagship projects of Regional Express Train and Rapid Transit Bus (BRT) in progress;
- and finally housing, with a five-year program of 100,000 dwellings.
These efforts are accompanied by reforms aimed at streamlining administration and public spending, better mobilizing internal resources and improving the business environment; which has earned Senegal a gain of 18 places in the latest ranking Doing business.
I know that what is valid for Senegal is also valid for many African countries.
For the most part, and despite the challenges ahead, Africa is progressing. Governments are on the job. There is a vibrant youth that creates and succeeds. Dynamic men and women undertake, invest, create wealth and jobs.
The march towards integration continues, with the launch last July of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
So many reasons to trust in ourselves and in our future. Especially since the potential of our continent is enormous. Africa is vast: more than 30 million km2! Africa is rich in water resources, land, mining and energy.
It is rather unequal exchange and an inequitable world order that contribute to impoverishing it by slowing down its development efforts.
So, there is an urgent need to reform global political and economic governance to better reflect the realities of the 21st century.
There is an urgent need for more equitable international trade and mutually beneficial partnerships that protect both the interests of the investor and the rights of the host country.
There is an urgent need to charge taxes where the activity creates wealth and profit.
There is an urgent need to fight more effectively against tax evasion, money laundering and illicit financial flows.
According to the 2017 estimates of the Independent Commission for International Tax Reform, each year, between 40 and 80 billion dollars of taxes escape Africa.
These figures, which do not take account of other illicit financial flows from Africa, are still much higher than public aid to Africa, whose amount in 2018 is $ 29.7 billion. after OECD data.
If Africa received its due through more equitable exchanges, we would no longer be talking about official development assistance!
Our struggle is also for a renewal of the relational paradigm, in which Africa keeps her traditional friendships without hesitation and opens new horizons.
In this Africa in search of emergence, our countries can not be stakes of a world competition, but actors who know and defend their interests. In this Africa in search of emergence, there can be no hunting, exclusivity or exclusion.
Our success will depend largely on our state of mind. We must remain combative.
It’s up to us to take our destiny into our own hands.
It’s up to us to tell our story to enlighten our present and invent our future.
It is up to us to bring Africa’s reflection and discourse on Africa; as you do so well here in the context of the MEDays Forum.
Despite the contingencies, prejudices and misconceptions, I remain convinced that the time of Africa has arrived. The rigors of a time not so distant must put the concerns of our time into perspective, strengthen confidence in ourselves and strengthen our determination to move forward.
In the words of the Reverend Martin Luther King, « Life is not easy for anyone. But we must continue to move forward. We must move forward. If you can not fly, run. If you can not run, walk. If you can not walk, crawl. But advance by all means ».