H.E. Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal, inaugurated IPI’s African Leaders Series on September 25th with a speech at the Waldorf-Astoria entitled “Consolidation of Peace in Africa and Prospects for Economic Development in Senegal.” IPI President Terje Rød-Larsen introduced President Wade, who followed his speech with a question and answer session.
President Wade began with a discussion of the nature of politics and democracy in Africa, highlighting his own personal history as a member of the political opposition in Senegal. “Our experience shows that in Africa it is wholly possible to politically succeed and achieve your goals without the use of weapons,” Wade said.
President Wade also stressed the importance of affordable energy resources to fighting poverty and stimulating development, citing rising oil prices as an obstacle to economic growth. His solution to combating poverty in Africa, dubbed “the Wade Formula,” proposes subsidizing oil purchases while devoting more resources to the development of biofuels.
Despite the considerable challenges facing Senegal and the rest of Africa, Wade remains hopeful. “I am absolutely convinced that development relies on the creative genius of men and women,” he said. “Being a country without significant natural resources, our gray matter is our primary raw material.”