MALABO, Nov 23, (KUNA): His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah delivered Wednesday his speech to the fourth Africa- Arab Summit held in Equatorial Guinea. “I would like to thank President Teodoro Obiang and the nation of Equatorial Guinea for this generous invitation. This blessed meeting comes three years after the third edition of the summit held in Kuwait under the slogan (Partners in Development),”
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah said in the opening of his speech. Kuwait made a solemn effort to boost ties amongst African and Arab nations in the previous event, said His Highness the Amir, adding that leaders, during the meeting, focused on achieving sustainable development through utilizing their countries’ natural resources to achieve the aspirations of African and Arab individuals.
His Highness Sheikh Sabah stressed that those who took part in Kuwait’s summit translated words into actions via the establishment of the $1 billion fund initiative aimed at providing finances to investment projects in Africa.
His Highness the Amir affirmed that Kuwait’s current contribution to the summit came in the form of Al-Sumait 2015-16 prize for Africa’s development which is a clear testament to the Gulf nation’s keenness on the welfare of the region. Kuwait, in cooperation with regional and international bodies and organizations, took strong strides to further develop Africa, stressed His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah who added that Africa was an important part of the world economy. “At the same time, we are very aware that achieving development goals in Africa will not happen without attracting foreign investments,” reiterated His Highness Sheikh Sabah, calling on all nations to push for “real” partnership with the continent.
His Highness the Amir touched on the political, security, and economic challenges that surrounds the African and Arab regions, saying that the delicate situation in the Middle East and Africa required an intensive sort of cooperation amongst all countries to find suitable solutions that would bring back peace and security. His Highness the Amir took the chance to support Saudi Arabia’s initiative to hold the fifth summit on its lands, affirming that the fellow GCC nation has the capabilities to host such grand event.
Earlier, His Highness the Amir decorated winners of Al-Sumait Prize for Africa Development in recognition of their roles in improving health and food security of African nations. In the presence of Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Mbasogo, Arab League Secretary General Ahmad Abul Gheit, African Union Commission Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Zuma and a plethora of African and Arab dignitaries, His Highness the Amir honored the winners of the annual Kuwaiti prize for Africa development. Dr Kevin March of the Kenya-based African Academy for Sciences and Oxford University received Sumait Prize of 2015, $1 million dedicated for health, for his relentless work to improve children’s lives on the African continent.
The 2016 prize, also $1 million and dedicated for food security, was shared by the Peru-based CIP’s Sweet Potato for Nutrition Team and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), based in Nigeria. Dr Barbara Wells, of the Sweeet Potato Team, and Dr Namanga Ngongi of the IITA received the awards on behalf of their organizations. Dr Adnan Shihab-Eldin, also Director General Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), extended heartfelt congratulations to the laureates who tried through their initiatives and work to create brighter future for Africa. “Their award winning seminal works provide a brighter future for the lives and wellbeing of tens of millions in Africa, especially children,” he said. He also thanked His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for launching the prize in the 3rd Arab-African Summit that was held in Kuwait in November 2013.
“I must above all thank His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah for his initiative to launch the Prize, which is part of his continued leadership of worldwide Humanitarian initiatives for which he has been recognized by the UN.” For his part, Dr March expressed his pleasure to be among the first winners of Al-Sumait Prize. “It is an enormous honour and privilege to be here today to receive the Al Sumait prize,” he said. Dr March, who would receive the $1 million prize, won the award for his sustained efforts for around three decades in scientific research, training and building of institutions with the objective of controlling and eradicating malaria. “This prize is especially exciting for a number of reasons; first because it is about Africa, the continent to which Dr Abdulrahman Al Sumait dedicated his working life; it is also the continent which I have called home for most of my adult life,” he elaborated.
“Secondly because it is a bold initiative which turns our eyes away from what we might call the traditional sources of support for research and development in Africa.” He concluded that these prizes will act as a stimulus and inspiration to researchers across the continent. For her part, laureate Dr Barbara Wells, of the Sweeet Potato Team, expressed gratitude for Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al- Sabah, KFAS, and Al-Sumait Prize Board for this great honor. “This award is a recognition of the ground breaking orange flesh sweet potato work that CIP’s scientists have done,” she said. She noted that the team together with its partners have impacted 2.8 million households in 10 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. “With the generosity of this most prestigious award, we will accelerate our delivery of impact to scale, reaching millions more households than would otherwise have been possible. Our goal is to impact 15M households by 2023,” she said. Meanwhile, Dr Namanga Ngongi stated that his institution the IITA, for almost 50 years, has partnered with African Governments, the international development partners to strengthen the food security in Africa.
“IITA is therefore happy to have been recognized for its efforts to support food security on the continent through its many years of research on Africa’s Staple Food Crops,” he said. “These crops, especially cassava, bananas, plantains, yams, maize, soybean and cowpeas, that are at the core of the food basket of millions of Africans had previously been neglected for many decades in the research agendas of many institutions.”
He added that “IITA pledges to make good use of the prize money to further strengthen its partnership with African research and extension institutions in the common effort towards achieving food and nutrition security on the continent”. Al-Sumait Prize honors individuals or institutions that help advance economic and social development, human resources development and infrastructure in Africa through their sustained research and or innovative projects that result in major impact on the lives and welfare of the people of Africa especially the poor and underprivileged. The prize was announced by His Highness the Amir during the 3rd Arab-African Summit that was held in Kuwait in 2013 in appreciation of Al-Sumait’s humanitarian legacy in the African continent.