Conakry (Guinea) – Guinean President Alpha Condé, whose country currently assumes the rotating presidency of the African Union, said problems facing the Dark Continent were mainly due to “foreign interference.”
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Condé said he was fully convinced that Africa and the Arab world need one another, in particular in the field of economic cooperation.
Asked about the African Union’s role in helping Arab and African states overcome current threats and challenges, the Guinean president said: “We have agreed that the AU must seek to resolve all African problems, whether those problems were in Arab countries, in the Sahel or the sub-Sahara.”
He explained that Africans must resolve the crisis in Libya, just like the conflict in Nigeria.
“Our goal is that African themselves seek to resolve all problems facing the continent, and we believe that all of the African continent’s crises are caused by foreign interference,” the president stated.
Condé told Asharq Al-Awsat that his country decided to join the Saudi-led military alliance to fight terrorism based on its belief that terrorist organizations were threatening Islam and the whole world.
“Terrorism threatens us all and it contradicts Islamic teachings,” he said. “Protecting Islam is our duty.”
On the AU relations with the Gulf, the Guinean president said: “We all know that Africa needs the Arab world and the Arab world needs Africa.”
“Arab countries’ economies rely on oil but they have to plan for the post-oil era. We have primary material and fertile land, and Gulf States have financial assets,” he stated.
He noted in this regard that economic partnerships between Africa and the Gulf would create fruitful industries that serve both sides.
While acknowledging the need to put local conflicts behind and move forward towards a fresh strategy to develop the Dark Continent, Condé said the African Union’s founding fathers were aware of the necessity to surpass geographic borders, which were imposed by foreign powers.
He said that African leaders knew that foreign intervention and the “blue helmets” would not be able to resolve the continent’s problems.
“More than 20,000 UN troops are present since decades in different African regions, and nothing has changed so far. On the contrary, there are attacks and explosions everyday – this happens in Darfur, South Sudan, and many other areas,” the president noted.
“We are convinced, more than ever, that only Africans can resolve these problems and conflicts,” he added.
On the consolidation of democracy and reconciliation, the Guinean president affirmed at no country could develop in the absence of national unity. He explained that a country’s national unity should be supported by a “genuine African integration”.
“Except for Nigeria, African markets are small and limited, however, economic prosperity requires larger markets.
That is why we are convinced of the need to establish a regional integration in the first phase, and then we will work to achieve integration on the continental level,” Condé said.
“Such integration will allow us to overcome Africa’s biggest challenge that is poverty,” he added.
On whether the decision to allow Morocco back to the AU has created a rift within the organization, Condé stressed that the decision was taken unanimously and that no country objected the return of the North African state.
He added that he hoped the controversial issue of Western Sahara would be soon resolved.
“As president of Guinea and current president of the African Union, I will do my best to defend African unity and resolve the continent’s problems regardless of their nature, in order to achieve development and prosperity for the African people,” Condé said.