Małgorzata Bonikowska, CIR’s president, at South-South Forum in Dakhla
For hundreds years Africa was exploited, treated as a source of resources by the West. It has started to regain its dignity only today – said Ambassador Jean-Paul Carteron, president of Swiss Crans Montana Forum, while opening the South-South Cooperation Forum in Dakhla in the heart of Western Sahara. A three-day event was held under the patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco. It acted as a platform of dialogue and contact building between politicians, officials, opinion leaders and entrepreneurs from four continents.
The Forum brought together over 800 figures from 112 countries, including Heads of Government, Ministers, Representatives of International and Regional Organizations, Members of National and International Parliaments, Representatives of Banking and Financial Institutions, and Representatives of Employers, Professional Organizations, and Civil Society, human rights activists and international media. Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero, as well as former Presidents of Estonia and Bulgaria could be found among European participants of the Dakhla Forum.
In his speech red by Prime Minister of Morocco, the King stressed the role of regional cooperation for Africa – the continent which should be proud of its identity and cultural heritage. One of the reasons for hope, motivation and a firm belief in our common goals is that Africa today is the continent that has the most significant multidimensional assets to embody the future of the world – wrote Mohammed VI. Africa needs to push forward regional economic integration and develop common areas for shared prosperity that allow for the free movement of goods and people.
Among the issues examined by the participants were the challenges of African integration, Africa’s role on the international stage, the new South-South synergies of common development and the issues of natural resources and growth. All kinds of fundamentalisms are the biggest challenge for today’s world – said Jose Zapatero. We will be able to keep the peace in the world only through dialogue which helps people from different places of the globe to understand that any culture, religion or way of thinking is not superior to the others. That is why solidarity and cooperation should be two crucial words for this century – concluded former Prime Minister of Spain.