Surrounded by so many representatives of the world religions, I wish to give you some good news from Africa. Africa is still seen as a problem, even more, as a mass of problems. However, giving voice to those who come from Africa and to those who care for her with a sense of solidarity, I wish to tell you that the reality of our continent is also something different. There is a part of Africa where there are responsible people, young and poor, who work together to build a different future based on friendship and responsibility. It is our dream for the continent: Africa need not be separated or avoided. Indeed, it can be set in the centre of global concerns. It is the Africa where people will work for peace, as recently happened in my Country, Guinea, and also in Cote d’Ivoire. In this Africa people will work to improve health conditions, to fight against HIV/AIDS, and to defend children’s rights. This Africa wants to live and to actively participate. Africa wants to rise again after long-lasting wars. This Africa is made of people who care for other people, free of charge, without yielding to materialism, according to which everything can be bought and sold, even human life. This Africa does not live only concerned about herself, withdrawn into pessimism, victimising itself; rather, it stretches out her arms to everyone, in order to join the other continents in a mutual exchange. We Africans do not want a separate destiny, withdrawn in feelings of pride and resentment. Indeed, we want to join in a common destiny and oppose hopelessness. We ask you not to abandon this Africa we dream of. Do not abandon our continent; do not delete it from your schedules and agendas.
Hopelessness – we are aware of it – is a temptation for us all, as we face this divided, confused and complicated world. The spirit of these days guides us towards a different future: a new decade of living together, so that peace and dialogue may be a paradigm for our world. Africa can rise from the abyss and join other continents! Thank you, Sant’Egidio, for having shown it to us.