As guest of honor President Alpha Oumar Konaré, president of the African Union Commission (AUC), gave the opening address at this year’s end-of-summer conference of MEDEF, the national association of French business executives and entrepreneurs, on Wednesday August 29.
President Konaré captured the hearts and minds of the some 3000 participants at this annual event with a speech that was as forceful as it was lucid. President Konaré is an activist for democracy in Africa as well as a fervent advocate of African unity. He insisted on the fact that Africa make its own way, find its own developmental path, and solve its internal problems. Konaré expressed dismay at how little progress is being made towards achieving the Millenium Goals and at the persistence of corruption on his continent. At the same time he drew attention to the rich potential in primary resources Africa possesses, while insisting that its greatest potential lies in its youthful population. Konaré called for a building program for large-scale transport infrastructure to link the continent and to open it up to the outside world. President Konaré did not overlook the importance of agriculture for Africa’s future nor the strategic rôle of cotton in African agriculture, the same cotton that has been victimized by violations of free trade regulations by those who are most in favor of such regulations globally.
[Alpha Oumar Konaré was born on February 2, 1946 at Kayes (Mali), is a professor of history, and was President of Mali from 1992-2002. He was elected President of the African Union Commission on July 10, 2003 for a term of five years.]
President KONARE represents African activism at the annual end-of-summer meetings of MEDEF