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M.S. Nhamadjo: Address to World Summit 2013


President of Guinea-Bissau, H.E. Manuel Serifo NhamadjoIt was with amazement, immeasurable excitement, and delight that I received the news of this remarkable and laudable initiative of the Universal Peace Federation. My emotion and delight is doubled by the opportunity to talk about my beautiful country, the homeland of the great hero and thinker, Amilcar Cabral.

I appreciate the invitation and take the opportunity, on behalf of the people of Guinea-Bissau and on my own behalf, to present to the Moon family and to the UPF family my heartfelt condolences for the untimely passing of Rev. Dr. Moon, founder of UPF.

I would like to focus my remarks on three fundamental aspects: first of all, who we are and why we are here; secondly, the current situation in our small, poor West African country; and thirdly, what we should do to overcome it and how to do so.

For more than five centuries, Guinea-Bissau was under Portuguese colonial rule. It gained its independence in the second half of the 20th century through a process of liberation that involved countless sacrifices by the people and that is seldom recorded in the annals of contemporary history.

But if the struggle for national liberation sought the ultimate elimination of colonial rule in our land, it was simultaneously, as the founder of our nation, Amilcar Cabral, said, to formulate a constitution and affirm our identity.

Indeed, in an area of 36,125 km2 that shrinks in the rainy season by about a third, more than two dozen ethnic groups live in perfect harmony, constituting a true and diverse ethno-cultural mosaic.

The fact that during the foreign rule our resources were exploited to the benefit of the occupier is now a powerful force in our development process.

Four decades after the achievement of our independence and a succession of very complex political and military developments, with the support of the international community and in particular ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), Guinea-Bissau has demonstrated its ability to normalize its situation. The evidence is clear, as any of the citizens who peacefully walk our streets, roads, and paths, can testify:

  • We have a transitional government that, despite the difficult global economic situation, is able to stabilize some key economic indicators, pay salaries, and contain the social tensions that were appearing.
  • We have a parliament that functions normally through an inclusive political debate among all stakeholders, including political forces who felt excluded due to the April 2012 coup d'état. Our Parliament has the purpose to ensure a smooth transition and debate; it amended the constitution to ensure that all state mechanisms are active until elections are scheduled.
  • We resumed the operation of other organs of sovereignty, such as the Supreme Court, which has just been elected and took office on February 14.
  • We note with satisfaction the recognition of our efforts in some international forums in which Guinea-Bissau was present.
  • As laicized, or secular, state, Guinea-Bissau is one of the nations of the world where tolerance and harmony among faiths is experienced in cities and villages through the practice of various religious options. In this sense, it is an open, multicultural, and multireligious country, where diverse people accept each other. This is one of the core values of my country.

However, Guinea-Bissau still faces severe limitations. The indicators of economic and social well-being express a harsh reality for our country and for our people. In the economic aspect, Guinea-Bissau continues to belong to the group of less-advanced countries. This situation, unfortunately, became worse with the ongoing instability that the country experienced in the last decade and a half; and only a legitimate government, based on popular will expressed at the polls and imbued with patriotic spirit, can halt and reverse the process.

This is the situation in which we involuntarily find ourselves. In truth, the bilateral and multilateral development assistance over dozens of years was inadequate, and we were not able to provide any real processes to generate prosperity, especially in promoting peace and security and in stimulating real development.

Today, we are facing the world and ourselves with a destiny that seemed compromised, but we know that we can reach the goal because each situation has its solution and because we believe in God and in the future.

Today, our people have proven that we are a nation that can experience the Utopia of a society reinvented in harmony with the vital component of acceptance of various confessions and religious practices. We as politicians must promote this Utopia and be attentive to the welfare of our societies, transcending a dependence on the accumulation of material values.

I conclude by thanking this community for the excellent organization of this event and for giving us the opportunity to show to the world our determination, in close collaboration with all social actors, to fight with all our strength for peace and development in support of our societies.

For more information about World Summit 2013, click here.