Opening speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan H.E. Mr. Jeyhun Bayramov at the Conference on the topic of “Legacy of African continent in the evolution of the Non-Aligned Movement” dedicated to Africa Day
Conference dedicated to Africa Day
Legacy of African continent in the evolution of the Non-Aligned Movement
Opening speech by H.E. Mr. Jeyhun Bayramov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan
26 May 2022
Ladies and gentlemen,
I have the honour to welcome you all at the Conference on the topic of “Legacy of African continent in the evolution of the Non-Aligned Movement” dedicated to Africa Day.
As we all know 25 May – founding day of the African Unity Organization is observed as Africa Day around the world. This day is an opportunity to recognize the progress made throughout the African continent, and the role of the African Union in promoting peace and security, economic development and global cooperation.
Cooperation of Azerbaijan with African countries traditionally develop at an ever-increasing rate, becoming more active in scale and extending to new dimensions. The level and the intensity of our contacts with African countries are growing. The systematic work is being carried out in order to strengthen and diversify the existing cooperation.
In 2011, the Republic of Azerbaijan received observer status with the African Union. In 2014 Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has been appointed as Permanent Representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the African Union.
I am pleased to observe that during our chairmanship to the Non-Aligned Movement our relationship with Africa has gained a new impetus.
Constituting almost 45 percent of the membership of the Non-Aligned Movement, African countries have always been the flag-bearers of the Movement since its inception. They have been actively engaged in advocating the values and founding principles of the Movement. On its turn NAM has supported and played significant role the decolonization process
Two out of five founding fathers of the Non-Aligned Movement, namely Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana were from Africa. All African states, except one are currently member states of NAM. This is widest continental representation within the Movement.
The biggest portions of the Outcome Documents of NAM Summits and Ministerial Meetings have been dedicated to the problems at the African continent. Up to date, almost half of the NAM summits as well as other meetings of the Movement were hosted by African states.
All these facts are both indicative of the utmost importance attached by African states to the NAM and the significant role that African continent has played in the evolution of the Movement.
As the incumbent Chairmanship of the Movement, the Republic of Azerbaijan has identified the African continent as one of its priority regions to focus on during its tenure. Since the assumption of chairmanship of NAM coincided with COVID-19 pandemic, Azerbaijan, in its both national and NAM chair capacities, has spared no effort to promote the global initiatives that aimed to minimize the impact of the pandemic on the developing countries, particularly on African countries.
In its national capacity Azerbaijan has provided significant amount of financial and humanitarian assistance to the African countries, including through Azerbaijan International Development Agency, to minimize the impact of crisis situations on African people. Azerbaijan also made contribution to development of education in Africa and carried out joint projects with UNESCO, in the field of girls` education.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Owning an enormous potential, Africa is a continent of hope and promise. The world has much to gain from this continent which has the youngest population in the world. Here in NAM, we acknowledge and cherish this vast potential.
Proceeding from this understanding and taking into the consideration that the world’s 90 percent of youth population live in developing world, Azerbaijan’s NAM Chairmanship established back in October 2021 Youth Network of Non-Aligned Movement which includes youth organisations and representatives from African countries too. Some of them, who is studying in Azerbaijan with the scholarship provided by Azerbaijani government are here with us today participating at this conference. One of them is even going to be a panellist sharing the views of African youth on the future of continent.
During its 60 years of existence, NAM Countries, despite their ideological, political, economic, social and cultural diversity, have shown their ability to overcome their differences and found a common ground for action that leads to mutual cooperation and the upholding of their shared values. Contribution of African countries, by no doubt, have been priceless in enduring the NAM throughout the decades and I hope today’s conference will constitute an excellent opportunity to reflect on it. The composition of panels with speakers of diverse backgrounds is quite promising to have productive deliberations on the history, present day and future role of African continent in ensuring global peace and development.
As the world is undergoing major change and developments, it remains imperative to recommit ourselves to the fundamental principles of humanism and universalism. Azerbaijan will spare no effort during its NAM Chairmanship and beyond to work with the member states, including the ones in African continent to promote multilateral diplomacy and strengthen cooperation, friendship and solidarity between members of the NAM.
In conclusion, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to the AIR Center for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with us in organizing this important conference. I also wish to thank to all panelists in advance for their valuable inputs which will make this event a truly historic one. And of course, I would like to thank to all participants for being here with us both in person and online. I wish you successful deliberations.
I thank you.