Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has ended his ten-day tour of the African continent in Senegal.
The Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis, has ended his tour of the African continent. For ten days, starting from November 14, Iohannis made official visits to Kenya, Tanzania, Cape Verde and Senegal. "The fact that I came to Africa shows a new approach of Romania towards the African continent. (...) with this tour we put Romania back on the African radar", President Iohannis said upon arriving in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde. Part of the last leg of the tour, Iohannis was welcomed to Dakar by his Senegalese counterpart, Macky Sall. Romania is going to boost cooperation with Senegal in sectors such as emergency management, education, research and innovation, cyber security, digital infrastructure, agriculture and food safety, the Romanian president said.
According to Iohannis, Senegal is a priority for the Bucharest administration on the African continent, and the Romanian Government wants to launch joint projects and long-term cooperation. Klaus Iohannis: "Romania also prioritizes Africa through official development assistance programs. We established the Fund for the Future of Africa through Peace, Education and Development. Education and youth promotion represented over 30% of the total official assistance for development granted by Romania in 2020 and 2021, respectively 66% in 2022. Under this program, Romania organizes a training program for post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction, the last four sessions being dedicated exclusively to partners from the African continent". On his part, the President of Senegal, Macky Sall emphasized the fact that Romania has been offering scholarships for the young Senegalese since the first years of the country's independence.
The Romanian President’s tour of Africa was criticized in his country, due to the very high travel costs. Critics of the president argued that this series of visits did not bring concrete economic benefits for Romania. Iohannis rejected this idea, saying that the relationship with Africa has its own specificity and neglecting it has been a "strategic error". Klaus Iohannis: "It’s been decades since we first understood the special value of our relationship with the African states, and we offered scholarships, we had important economic ties. Unfortunately, in the decades that followed the 1989 Revolution, this relationship was almost neglected. We realized that this was a strategic error in the Romanian foreign policy and we came up with corrective measures. We came up with a new strategy for Africa, which specifically targets Romania's traditional partners on the continent. This strategy wants to exploit opportunities, strengthen partnerships, open new sectors of economic collaboration, in education, in diplomacy, and so on."
According to the Presidential Administration in Bucharest, Klaus Iohannis decorated the presidents of every African country he visited with the "Star of Romania" National Order for the contribution made to the development of friendship and collaboration ties. (EE)