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B. Rafini: Address to World Summit 2020

Address to World Summit 2020, Seoul, Korea, February 3-8, 2020


Respected Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon,

Dear Participants and Guests,

It is a real pleasure for me to speak on behalf of my country, Niger, on the occasion of this World Summit 2020. Allow me first of all to convey to you the warm greetings of His Excellency Mr. Issoufou Mahamadou, president of the Republic of Niger; unfortunately, the imperatives of the moment, particularly the situation in the Sahel, did not allow him to travel to Seoul. It is for this reason that he has entrusted me with the task of leading the Niger delegation and to come and express to you, Dr. Moon, in person his appreciation and that of the Nigerian people for your tireless efforts to bring about a world of peace.

You have demonstrated this determination in a tangible manner in the eyes of my compatriots and Africans by honoring Niger with the hosting of the Africa Continental Summit last November during which you reiterated your vision for a blessed Africa in which it is essential to unite in order to strengthen the ethical foundations of an African community based on solidarity. Only by opening up to others and strengthening alliances and partnerships based on universal values will our continent be able to flourish, free the vital energy of its youth and develop its wealth.

The Niamey summit, whose theme was “Building a Peaceful and Prosperous Africa: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values,” brought together nearly 4,000 participants, including current and former heads of state, presidents of assemblies and senates, current and former ministers, parliamentarians, economic actors, women leaders, young people and civil society leaders coming from 53 countries across Africa and the rest of the world. During three days they exchanged ideas on themes such as peace and security and reconciliation: interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values.

I am convinced that an appropriate implementation of the main recommendations of the Niamey summit will contribute to improve peace and security in the world. Your initiatives, through the Universal Peace Federation, will bring together all the actors of the international community and of social and family life around the ideals of peace, harmony and shared prosperity. Unquestionably, you, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, are a true mother of peace who deserves all our gratitude and appreciation.

Our presence in Seoul is therefore part of Niger's desire to support UPF and to promote its various initiatives, whose relevance is undeniable in view of the multifaceted challenges facing the world, but also and above all in view of the common values it promotes, to which all peoples concerned with peace and justice adhere. Even today, by organizing this summit, you are tackling another major challenge: that of the need to reunite a proud and dignified people who have long suffered and continue to suffer from separation.

The theme you have chosen for this conference—the realization of world peace and the reunification of the Korean Peninsula through interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values—reminds us that the reunification of the two Koreas is a global concern and that its realization would not only symbolize a renewal in the quest for a world of universal peace, but would further amplify the genius of a people renowned for its creativity and attachment to essential human values.

Very respected Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon,

Once again, I would like to salute your vision for a peaceful, united and supportive world when, here in Seoul, on February 8, 2019, almost a year ago to the day, you established the International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP). In deciding to establish this international network of past and present heads of state and government, you wanted them, through dialogue and collaboration, to explore solutions and make recommendations to address critical global issues, including climate change and environmental problems, religious conflicts, poverty, war, corruption and family breakdown.

The ISCP offers world leaders a meeting place where their wisdom and experience can be utilized and their initiatives can be discussed in the service of world peace and the improvement of humanity, in the three essential areas that are (1) the promotion of human rights, (2) the protection of the environment and (3) the promotion of human rights. I hope that, with such objectives and the wealth of its expertise, the ISCP will truly become an instrument at the service of major initiatives and world forums in favor of peace, security and human development.

Our world needs strong, credible institutions that focus on the concerns of people facing conflict and growing poverty. I should like, in this connection and with regard to Africa, to quote the words of the president of the Republic of Niger, His Excellency Mr. Issoufou Mahamadou, at the Africa Continental Summt held in Niamey: “The situation in some countries of our subregion, particularly in the Sahel, is worrying and must be given greater attention by the international community. Our countries need peace and stability, so that the development strategies, programs and projects we have designed for the prosperity of our people can be effectively implemented and produce the desired effects."

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Threats to peace and security are more acute today. They include religious, climatic, economic and asymmetrical wars that undermine peace efforts in many parts of the world. These threats have now taken on a transnational character, which merits more attention from the international community. Urgent, concerted and comprehensive responses to these multifaceted threats are therefore required. Their solution undoubtedly lies in consequent initiatives at the global level.

Today, one of Africa's greatest challenges is to overcome the problems of peace and security that have long plagued its emergence, even though it was well placed to do so. A strong willingness to take up these challenges was reaffirmed at the last African Union Summit in Niamey, which saw the entry into force of the treaty establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which paves the way for a common continental market that will bring growth and development. And I am pleased to note that other initiatives aimed at radically changing the continent are being put forward.

This is the case of the emblematic structuring projects that will transform the African continent, such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the African Mining Vision (AMV), and projects aimed at electrifying, interconnecting and digitalizing Africa, which today are experiencing a renewed enthusiasm—this time with a clear determination to achieve the objectives we are aiming for.

It is that spirit that underpins our regional and subregional initiatives to promote peace and security in our subregion such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA) and the G5 Sahel. Also, the current consultations, such as those on the project for the creation of the ECOWAS single currency or the Inga Dam megaproject in the Democratic Republic of Congo to cover Africa's electricity needs, are very strong signs of the new state of mind of African countries for genuine transformation and endogenous development.

Unfortunately, the breakdown of peace and security in regions already weakened by the consequences of climate change, demographic pressure and structural constraints such as those in the Sahel requires long-term efforts and, above all, sustained attention from the development partners. It is therefore essential to provide the necessary responses to these conflicts by supporting our countries to deal in a sustainable manner with the problem of terrorism, which constitutes a threat to international peace and security. Security is a global public good, as we have said, and the movement of terrorists across borders and the perpetration of their acts from one continent to another unfortunately confirms this sad fact.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The outstanding contribution of UPF to the promotion of the culture of peace, tolerance and the cardinal values of the family, as well as its commitment to the most relevant governments, intergovernmental organizations, associations or organizations in the world helps to spread peace and understanding among peoples and nations. It is therefore not surprising that UPF's work is recognized and appreciated globally, particularly in Africa and within the United Nations, where it enjoys General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council.

The Government of Niger appreciates and intends to deepen its partnership with UPF, a civil society organization whose messages and actions for peace and development have a global impact. And for good reason. UPF symbolizes harmony and mutual trust on matters of common interest between governments, civil society and all relevant actors in our societies.

This collaboration is necessary because the challenges facing humanity require the constructive participation of all living forces within the framework of permanent dialogue, active collaboration and, above all, a keen sense of the general interest. Finally, this collaboration is justified because it contributes to improving global governance, which would benefit from being more inclusive by ensuring that human beings retain their sacred place in all development policies and strategies.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Peace, security and development are the axles of a triptych so dear to Niger because all our energy is focused on the achievement of these objectives. This triptych is the foundation of the Niger Renaissance Program, which is the government's program to fundamentally improve Niger’s living conditions of Niger's population by developing infrastructure, telecommunications, education and health, employment, sanitation and drinking water. Niger, under the beneficial inspiration of the universal values promoted by UPF, will continue to work toward the goals of peace, security, inclusive economic and social development, and the cultural rebirth of its people.

I would like to conclude my remarks by reiterating my warm thanks to the South Korean authorities and the organizers of this summit for their hospitality and for all the arrangements that have been made to facilitate my stay and that of my delegation in Seoul. I wish you every success in your work.

Thank you for your kind attention.



To go to the World Summit 2020 Schedule page, click here.