The opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union Conference was held in Addis Ababa on January 30 2014. Haiti was represented by the Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe, who delivered a historic speech on relations between Haiti and Africa. He highlighted the inseparable ties that bind Haiti to the African continent, and delivered a heartfelt plea for Haiti to become an associate member of the African Union. That the statute of the African Union be amended to allow Haiti to become a member.
Mr. President of the African Union,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Heads of State and Government,
Madam President of the Commission,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is both a great moment and a great pleasure to be among you on the ancestral land here in Addis Ababa and to be the first Haitian Head of Government to address this illustrious assembly.
What an honor! What a Privilege!
What pride for Haiti to have been chosen as a guest of honor!
It is for me a historic opportunity to present, on behalf of President Michel MARTELLY and the Haitian people, my most fraternal greetings to all the men and women of Africa.
I extend my warmest congratulations to the President of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government and to the President of the Commission for the new dynamism they have brought to this institution.
Allow me also to express my thanks to all the Member States of the African Union that have contributed, in one way or another, to the restoration and strengthening of democracy in Haiti.
My remarks are also addressed to the States and the fraternal peoples of Africa who showed their active solidarity towards the Haitian people during the devastating earthquake of January 12th.
Madam President ,
ladies and gentlemen
Since his accession to the supreme presidency of the State, almost three years ago, the President of the Republic has made the rapprochement of Haiti with Africa and South / South cooperation, the two major axes of his foreign policy.
In one of his interventions, he had made it clear that “the geographical distance can not represent an insurmountable handicap to the strengthening of the links between the Haitian people and the peoples of Africa”
Although located in America, HAITI has always loudly proclaimed its African membership. We are Africans in our souls, in our hearts, and in our manners.
There is no Haitian who does not feel at home in Africa, as there is no African who does not find himself in Haiti .
And I venture to say that all the heroes who prepared the revolution of 1804, were African descendants. I am talking about Boukman, Toussaint Louverture, Dessalines, Capois La Mort, Petion and those 500,000 slaves, men and women, who fought bravely against the most powerful army of the time to give us the first Republic. black. My country has only been the scene of this struggle against slavery, oppression and degradation of the human being.
Aimé Césaire wrote “Haiti, a country where blackness stood up for the first time and said that she believed in her humanity”.
A century and a half later, this torch lit, spread throughout the African continent.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am standing in front of this illustrious assembly this morning to carry a message from the President of the Republic, Michel Martelly.
After 210 years of independent living in America, our membership in Africa remains intact and indelible. Haiti is Africa in the Caribbean.
If we exist today, it is because our ancestors, who came from former regions that today make up Benin, Senegal, Ghana, Congo, Liberia, and many other countries, knew break their chains, drawing from the ancestral traditions, the resources necessary for their liberation.
The bonds that unite us to Africa transcend all boundaries and walls. By challenging the scourge of colonialism and slavery, Haiti has long been the pride of the black race. At the time of the decolonization of Africa, Haiti has admirably contributed to the intellectual renewal of the continent by sending her sons by hundreds: teachers, doctors, intellectuals.
I take this opportunity to express the wish that all peoples of Africa can live in peace. As such, I would like to congratulate your institution for the efforts being made to bring peace to the Africa Center and South Sudan.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The geographical distance could not represent a handicap to the strengthening of the links between the Haitian people and the peoples of Africa.
Africa today represents a gateway into the 21 st century.
Our most cherished hope is to see the process of revising the Union’s Constitutive Act complete with a view to enabling Haiti to fully adhere to it.
ladies and gentlemen
By making 2014, the Year of Agriculture and Food Security, the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, undoubtedly fits in the perspective of mastering our common destiny.
There is no doubt that agriculture is one of the growth areas of most African economies. This sector deserves special attention as it has the potential to meet the food needs of our people, and to ensure our economic and social development.
Haiti gives top priority to the fight for food security. The revival of agricultural production must rightly be the pivot of any development program of our societies.
Thus, 2013 was declared “Year of agriculture and the environment” in Haiti. This allowed us to strengthen our food sovereignty and improve the living conditions of the most disadvantaged populations.
Today, your continent is an opportunity for Haiti, just as Haiti is a beautiful opening for Africa in America . Our country is resolutely and definitely committed to progress. We started rebuilding the country.
90% of people living in tents after the earthquake have been rehoused. A free schooling program enabled 1.4 million children to attend school. More than 3 million people in extreme poverty have benefited from the Government’s social programs. Inflation has stabilized at 4.5%. Economic growth is at 4.3%. Public investment rose 20% this year. The business climate is improving significantly.
Our country is taking off towards economic and social progress. Our democracy is in good health .
Ladies and Gentlemen
We have made regional integration a priority in order to combat instability and poverty in order to reduce the social inequalities that constitute a real threat to peace in all regions of the world.
Let us do together this institution that is the AFRICAN UNION, the hyphen and the standard bearer of all the peoples of Africa for a better tomorrow.
Long live Africa, Long live the African Union, Long live Africa-Haiti solidarity.