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MoFAIC marks historic relations with sub-Saharan Africa

posted on 20/11/2016: 1741 views

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC), has, in co-operation with Expo 2020 Dubai, celebrated the cultural collaboration with sub-Saharan Africa at the launch of the book ‘Shared Vision, Shared Voices' in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation was also present.

Expo 2020 Dubai builds on the UAE's thriving friendship with sub-Saharan Africa to shed light on partnerships for a shared future and benefits that will last for generations to come.

On 17 November, Al Fahidi Historic Neighbourhood (formerly Bastakiya) played host to the launch of the book, ‘Shared Visions, Shared Voices‘. Represented by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the ministry hosted the event in participation with Expo 2020 Dubai.

The event celebrated the special relationship between the UAE and sub-Saharan Africa through the years. It also highlighted the potential for further discussion and collaboration for a shared future, driven by Expo 2020 Dubai as it sets the stage for the participation of sub-Saharan African countries in the mega event.

As a cultural collaboration, this participation will create a platform for the UAE and these nations to build on their rich history and heritage, with the chance to spotlight both what is unique and what is shared. The book contains stories and voices from across the UAE and the continent of Africa, and is a testament to the ways in which their connection has flourished and forged by a deep sense of common interest, tradition and aspiration.

Sheikh Abdullah said, "Our book symbolises the UAE's desire to further consolidate the strategic, political, economic, social and cultural bonds between us. It celebrates our people's treasured anecdotes of encounters past and sets out the UAE's aspirations for a deeper alliance. Together, through shared visions, we will continue to build strong and resilient nations capable of creating positive change for the betterment of the world."

"There have long been historical ties between the UAE and sub-Saharan Africa, built on a shared heritage of mutual culture and customs. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, saw a continent of diverse cultures, languages and histories and found within them connections that could unite everyone and a sense of purpose that mirrored his nation's own," he added.

Of the relationship between the UAE and Africa, Sheikh Zayed said, "In light of existing cooperation and friendship between Arab and African nations, I stress that it is in the interest of both Arabs and Africans to have more frequent contact and stronger friendships, for no religion can divide them, no distance is too great or custom too different to set them apart."

Today, the Sheikh's legacy is alive and relations with the continent are still going strong, Sheikh Abdullah said.

Africa is growing and expanding into its own right, with 12% of global trade projected to come from the continent by 2045. Moreover, the continent has always been and continues to be an important friend and partner to the UAE. Total merchandise trade between Africa and the UAE in 2014 amounted to US$17.5 billion (up from US$ 5.6 billion in 2005), while the value of non-oil trade between them reached US$ 32 billion.

In 2009, support from the continent contributed hugely to the UAE securing the rights to host the global headquarters of IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency. Today, 21 African countries are working with IRENA on the African Clean Energy Corridor. Beyond these bilateral relationships, the UAE views its African partners as friends and equals, extending values of openness, tolerance and partnership as part of its every day exchange.

Building on this history of collaboration, and the role of culture in fostering greater understanding, Expo 2020 Dubai will act as a catalyst for the interests of its African partners as they participate in the mega event. In 2013, the African countries were pivotal to the UAE becoming host to the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.

These nations continue to play an integral role in realising the ambition of Expo 2020 Dubai to bring people together and find shared solutions to global problems. They are partners in a movement that will harness innovation and creativity to overcome the challenges of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability and build a better world for all.

To this end, Expo 2020 Dubai's approach of one country, one pavilion will see every participating country from sub-Saharan Africa and around the world, granted the chance to showcase the best it has to offer on a stage that is all its own. Recognising the core role of culture in a World Expo, pavilions will also strive to incorporate heritage, history and tradition as well as modern artistic and cultural expressions.

Expo 2020 Dubai will offer support to sub-Saharan countries by helping to curate content for each national pavilion, allowing them to highlight their individuality, draw audiences and ensure they deliver their dream on a global stage. Expo 2020 Dubai will be a celebration of the diversity of the UAE, the longstanding tradition of the broad Arab region as well as the mosaic of identities, cultures and traditions offered by each nation across the globe.

Expo Live will also provide a platform to demonstrate that sub-Saharan Africa is a hive of ingenuity and industry, a place where people strive for improvement through hard work and smart thinking.

By focusing on shared resources and creative energies harnessed through Expo 2020 Dubai, the UAE hopes to generate regional empowerment, as well as a legacy of partnerships with sub-Saharan African nations that will achieve lasting benefits for many generations to come. There is still much that needs to be done to fulfil this ambitious task and it will require renewed efforts and engagement from Expo 2020 Dubai and its sub-Saharan partners. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


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