Acting prime minister, Ambrose George, is expressing concerns over events in Africa, especially the kidnapping of hundreds of school girl by the extremist Islamic group Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Addressing the opening of Africa Week on Monday evening, George said despite these events, optimism must remain.
“We are in fact saddened and concerned about certain events and conflicts,” he stated. “The kidnapping of hundreds of school girls by extremists has sparked global outrage, however we have to remain opitmistic.”
He pointed out that Africa is a place of diverse people and cultures and the entire continent cannot be painted with one paint brush.
“Africa is a huge continent with diverse people, cultures and political contexts,” he stated. “We cannot paint all of Africa with the same brush, we cannot judge all of Africa with same yardstick but let us celebrate the positives while we reflect on the issues that beset Africa, the issues that beset us here in the Caribbean.”
He noted that Dominica faces some of the same issues that Africa has to deal with.
“Indeed when we consider the issues of underdevelopment, the issues of global trade, issues of climate change and the environment, we do in fact share in common many of the difficulties Africa faces,” George stated.
Last month Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 girls in a remote section of Nigeria. The group has been causing havoc in Africa’s most populous country through a wave of bombings, assassinations and abductions. It is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state. Some 12,000 people have died in the conflict.
Africa Week is being observed in Dominica from May 19th to May 25, under the theme “Youth Embracing African Heritage.”
Activities include a panel discussion organized by the National Youth Council on Tuesday, African Dress day on May 23, a football match on the Newtown Savannah on Saturday May 24.
An African Solidarity March on Sunday, May 25, will wrap up the week.