|Opens Africa Hall|
(Economic Commission for Africa: Its Responsibilities)
Feb. 06, 1961
|On the occasion of the holding in Addis Ababa of the Third Regular Session of the Economic |
Commission for Africa (E.C.A). We are pleased to extend Our warm greetings to those who have
come to the capital city of Ethiopia to attend this Conference as representatives and observers. A
little over two years ago, We addressed the inaugural session of the Economic Commission for
Africa. In the years which have intervened, African development has surged ahead on the
irresistile tide which is sweeping the entire continent to freedom. Many who attended that first
session in the capacity of observers have now become full members of this organization, and We
extend a particular welcome to those new states whose representatives, for the first time, will play
a full role in the deliberations which will take place here.
It is a law of nature and history that the development of any people must proceed simultaneously
on all fronts. It is not enough that political emancipation has been and is being achieved. We must
also attain that degree of economic freedom which makes independence a complete and
meaningful concept. Our economies must be strong and viable. The energies which the African
peoples expend to this end must be fruitful and productive. After having won their political
independence, at such labour and cost, Africans must now similarly labour to escape from the
economic domination which could render their freedom illusory and ephemeral.
This is our task. It is not an easy task, and the challenge which it presents it great. An age-old
technique which we may expect to encounter again and again in our struggle to attain
independence in fact as well as in name, it summed up in the maxim "divide and conquer." We may
question whether any action tending to the association of European and African economies in the
European Common Market should not be delayed until the implications and consequences of this
step have been fully considered in this African forum. We must be ever mindful that our greatest
weapon is the oneness which we share as Africans. But it is not enough to be Africans. That which
pulls us apart and divides us must be pursued relentlessly and inexorably. We must expand yet
further communications among the African nations, we must come to know one another better.
We must increase student exchanges and visits to one another's countries. Our greatest asset is
our unity, and we must exploit it to the fullest. It is not true that the fundamental characteristic of
unity is that each of us accepts as his own the problems and difficulties which beset any of us,
whether in his culture or his economy.
The work which the Economic Commission for Africa has performed in its short life is already
laying a solid foundation upon which Africans may work together for the solution of those
problems which beset this continent and for the realization of an ever-accelerating African
economic development. We congratulate the dedicated men and women who have, under the
ECA's able Secretary-General, already produced so much that will be so useful in the future. In
their future work, We trust that the Economic Commission for Africa will not ignore studies and
research which can make a further contribution to their work and to African development.
Nor should the Economic Commission for Africa ignore the contributions it can make in other
fields. In the field of social development, for example, the Economic Commission for Africa could,
with additional assistance form the United Nations, undertake a comparative study of the
developing social life of African nations, with special attention being given to agrarian problems.
Cultural and natural resources are the mainstays of the African economy, unless progress in these
fields keeps pace with development in other areas, a serious obstacle will be created to accelerate
growth in any area.
The responsibility for all this is in our hands. We know that the Economic Commission for Africa
will continue to serve the ultimate interests of the African people, and We pray that Almighty God
will bless your labours and crown them with success.
|Haile Selassie the First - February 6, 1961|