Then, the former history professor spoke about Kwame Nkrumah’s dream to unite Africa.
"Pan-Africanism is not a slogan. It is a reality"
“Unless we stop being microstates flying lone flags on top of our modest huts and singing our so-called national anthems, we will never achieve anything. Theories are not worth the effort. You have to look at the facts. The only three countries with a tiny economic power in Africa are Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt. We are the leading producers of Cocoa. San Pedro is the first cocoa port in the world, and then what?"
"Europeans are regrouping. They already have a common currency, and they are moving forward. This process will lead to the formation of a state in the future. That state will at least compete with big blocks (the USA, Russia and China) who are dominating the world,” he said.
“Europe is following in the footsteps of the USA. That is why I talk about Pan-Africanism. The stakes are high, hence the formation of a pan-African party that leads to the union of African progressive parties to spearhead the political struggle for the emancipation of Africa”.
“I am the first President of Côte d'Ivoire who had an Ivorian elected general secretary of the OAU because I believe in the pan-African organisation. Essy Amara, a seasoned and well-respected diplomat was the first president of the AU commission. I transferred the Cocoa Commission here from London. Then the war started. For my remaining years in office, I had no other concern than to put an end to the war. For ten years, I had no government. People were brought in from abroad. Capable, competent and good, but they were not my choices. In the first phase, in 2000, Affi N'Guessan was appointed. In the second phase, it was AKE N'gbo. But he never got the opportunity to settle down before the war swept us out," he said.
"Pan-Africanism is not a slogan. It is a reality. When you are a small country with only Cocoa to offer, it is not enough to compete. You can only borrow from others for your projects. I never wanted to borrow. During my tenure, we managed the country's affairs with what we called the secured budget. "I took pride in providing for the necessary state expenditure out of what we earned. I did not borrow 1 Franc CFA. I used our capital. This is why the West does not like me." He concluded.
With this historical speech, Laurent Gbagbo offers HOPE to millions of Africans and Afro-descendants who believe in the reality of pan-Africanism for dignity and sovereignty. It is nonetheless a speech tinged with melancholy for its premonitory undertone.
“We will resume our journey together," Gbagbo told delegates. "I will be in politics until I die!" He added to a standing ovation.