A lavish ceremony and cultural tradition exhibition was held to celebrate Africa Day by the African embassies of the African Union at the Crown Plaza Hotel on 8 December. Assistant Foreign Minister for Asian Affairs Ambassador Ali Sulaiman Al-Saeed was the chief guest at the function, which was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, Kuwaiti officials, members of the African community in Kuwait, and media personnel.
The Africa Day celebrations commemorate the establishment of the Pan-African Organization, the African Union, an intergovernmental organization in 2002. The aim of the organization is to promote unity and solidarity of African states, to spur economic development, and to promote international cooperation. The African Union (AU) replaced the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
In his address to the gathering, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Senegalese Ambassador to Kuwait H.E. Abdulahad Ambaki extended his praise to H.H. the Amir of Kuwait, world humanitarian leader and faithful friend to the African continent whose commitments for a stable and prosper Africa, at political, economic and social levels, are worldwide recognized.
With regards to the relationship between Africa and Kuwait, the Senegalese Ambassador Ambaki said, “We have witnessed that our continent is at the cornerstone of Kuwaiti diplomatic policy. Initiatives and contributions of Kuwaiti Authorities for eliminating all obstacles preventing Africa’s development are illustrating such a commitment.”
He pointed to Kuwait hosting in 2013 the Africa-Arab Summit under the theme ‘Partners in Development and Investment’, where H.H. Amir instructed Kuwait Fund for Africa Economic Development (KFAED), to grant concessionary loans to African countries, to the tune of one billion US dollars over five years for infrastructure development in Africa.
The Senegalese Ambassador Ambaki underscored the clear vision of Africa at political, economic and social levels that will be realized together with the aspirations of the continent for building a new partnership with the rest of the world, and the Gulf region, in particular.
Speaking on the sidelines of the function, Ambassador Al-Saeed stated that Kuwait has successful experience in managing development activities in Africa, in addition to its consultation role in several other activities.
The Ambassador underscored that KFAED has pioneering expertise in Africa that reflects the leadership’s interest in maintaining good relations with the African continent, and the Fund’s activities translate this interest into practical measures aimed at achieving a good level of development in the country.
On the wonderful representation of the African embassies in Kuwait, he highlighted how their role embodies their countries’ keenness on developing historical ties with Kuwait.
He lauded the humanitarian role played by the late Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Sumait in the African continent, and mentioned that he was a beacon of science and culture and set a great example of compassion.
On his part, Egypt’s Ambassador to Kuwait H.E. Tareq Al-Qoni said that Egypt is represented in Africa Day, which is a celebration of African culture, its customs, and traditions in addition to its investment and tourism possibilities.
A display of traditional African dance performances by artistes in costumes was held on the occasion. An exhibition showcasing various handicrafts, food items, accessories, paintings, clothing and items representative of the different aspects of traditional African culture of the participating embassies mesmerized onlookers.
Towards the end of the ceremony, a raffle draw was organized, and four lucky winners received travel tickets, presented by EgyptAir and Ethiopian Airlines as gifts.