As part of UNESCO’s Africa Week for the 2022 edition, a week with the theme “Self-sufficiency, resilience, economic development in Africa”, the Ze-Africanews team had the privilege of conducting an exclusive interview with the Permanent Delegate Ambassador of Gabon to UNESCO Ms Rachel Annick Ogoula Akiko Obiang Méyo
Ze-Africanews: Hello His Excellency, can you introduce yourself?
Ms. Rachel Annick Ogoula Akiko Obiang Méyo: Good morning, Ms. Annick. I am Rachel…wife. I am the Permanent Delegate Ambassador of the Gabonese Republic to UNESCO.
The full interview to watch here:
Ze-Africanews: We are in the African week for this 2022 edition, what are your impressions for these three days?
Ms.Rachel Annick Ogoula Akiko Obiang Méyo: Thank you very much for giving me the floor, I am here in my capacity as vice-chair of the organizing committee for the 2022 African Week. I would like to begin by thanking His Excellency the Ambassador of Senegal to UNESCO, President of the Africa Group of UNESCO and Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the 2022 African Week. I would also like to thank Her Excellency the Ambassador of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire to UNESCO in her capacity as President of the Organizing Committee of the African Week. Tonight we will continue a beautiful and inspiring African week. We have seen all of Africa stand in its cultural diversity. A rich Africa that has proven it again with all these exhibitions that we have seen. A committed Africa with all the conferences we have attended, listened to, since Monday so an African Week in reality totally successful.
Ze-Africanews: “Self-sufficiency, resilience, economic development of Africa” is the theme of this year 2022, why this choice?
Rachel Annick Ogoula Akiko Obiang Méyo: Every year when we organize African Week, we choose a theme and a sponsor. As for the theme, it was chosen by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union and therefore you will agree that this year’s theme is “Food Self-sufficiency, and Africa’s Economic Development”. We wanted to show and especially put forward everything that is being done in Africa currently. Africa is moving! Even through its diaspora, Africa is moving. You saw testimony from processors who were there, including the one who processes cocoa locally, another who makes wine. We had dozens of testimonies. Such rich days through testimonies. The Africans have understood that Africa will be done by ourselves first. That is what we must remember. And during those conferences, we heard, we saw Africans, committed men and women, standing up to show that resilience. That is why it was important for us to recognize the strength of Africa’s commitment today through its youth.
Ze-Africanews: What are the real challenges facing the continent in terms of food self-sufficiency, especially since in 2050 Africa will account for billions with a very young population?
Ms. Rachel Annick Ogoula Akiko Obiang Méyo: Financial challenges. It’s through funding and it’s already happening. You have seen how much the African Development Bank is doing to support everything that is being done and has already made a commitment to go further, of course, with the support of the heads of state. I think the first challenge is this because the others we have, women, men, drylands, water… We also have to see to what extent all this can be raised so that this resilience is effective for true food self-sufficiency.
Ze-Africanews: What do you think the Africa of tomorrow and the Africa of tomorrow will be with whom?
Ms. Rachel Annick Ogoula Akiko Obiang Méyo:The Africa of tomorrow will be with everyone, but especially with women and youth. We have to keep encouraging them. The Africa of tomorrow is being prepared today with all these young people we have seen, who have amazed us, who dazzled us with their testimony, that is Africa. So the Africa of tomorrow will be with the young but with us in the background. It’s a generation that is renewing itself. We are committed to driving. We have to pass the torch, and we have a duty to pass the torch.
Ze-Africanews : During this African week we have seen Africa shine through its artisans its entrepreneurs its you to merge all this competition to make the continent shine and vibrate?
Ms.Rachel Annick Ogoula Akiko Obiang Méyo: You’ve said it all, Africa is ready through all this, all these beautiful people. The African Week at UNESCO would not be a success without the contribution of each and everyone: intellectuals, artists, painters and designers, young dancers because that’s what it is. Unesco is the house of culture and so I say it, and I am proud of it. I think we won this bet again in a context that is not obvious, but that is basically what Africa wins.
Ze-Africanews: Last year in 2021 was inscribed in the intangible heritage of UNESCO the rumba followed what will be next year?
Ms. Rachel Annick Ogoula Akiko Obiang Méyo : We’re working on an upcoming registration. I give the opportunity to the States that prepare files to present their cultural wealth, their heritage to the World Heritage of Unesco, but we are working on it. Through you, I would like to thank again all those who supported us and say that this is not only a long process. I would also like to take advantage of your channel to thank you, journalists who give us this opportunity to promote this rich, beautiful, great and committed Africa.