Kigali, 17 July 2016
Good evening, and once again, welcome to Rwanda. I hope by now you feel at home and are already planning your next visit.
Even if I have to say something that involves politics, I will try to do it in a way that keeps you relaxed for this evening.
I have no doubt that we have had a productive day. Now is the time to relax for a few moments and enjoy each other’s company.
I would like to reiterate our thanks to fellow leaders of Member States, and the Commission, for the honour of hosting this summit in our capital.
We never had to be taught to feel like Africans. It is effortless and natural.
The common notes in our respective histories allow us to easily understand each other’s experience, despite barriers of time and distance.
Each of us here, can enter a homestead, anywhere in Africa, and be welcomed and embraced in a familiar way. The gestures one makes to convey respect and appreciation to the hosts will be immediately understood as such.
Even without understanding a word of what is said, we Africans feel at home with each other.
Unity is the prerequisite for prosperity, as much as it is for peace.
We have often come together, as Africans, to face injustices.
The dividend of liberation should be great improvements in well-being for all Africans, not the pursuit of national interests to the exclusion of others.
Whatever any country can do alone can be attained faster, better, and more safely by working together.
We must also take responsibility for the corrosive cynicism that pervades discussions about Africa, even among our own young people.
For centuries, the minds of Africans were warped into the most effective instruments of our own oppression, more punishing than any whip.
No institution can long withstand the scorn of the very people it is meant to serve.
But for us today, history is no excuse for refusing to see all that is good about Africa and ourselves.
The positive changes in most places are undeniable. We still have a long way to go, but we have not been doing nothing, only it has not been enough.
What is more important is to keep working to make the necessary changes to make our national and continental institutions better.
Indeed, looking around the world today, Africa does not look any less prepared to face the new dangers affecting every region of the globe.
Let’s raise Africa by affirming what has been done, and using every success to set our sights even higher, making sure that the political will often displayed is turned into tangible results.
This is the dignity that we have struggled to reclaim as Africans. In Rwanda, we call it Agaciro.
May I now request that we find our glasses and join me in a toast, stressing the unity of our Africa.