This year`s German-Africa Prize has been awarded to Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, secretary general of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of nations .
An impressive ceremony attended by parliamentarians, business executives, diplomats and German government representatives was held at the offices of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Delivering the keynote speech, Germany`s Foreign Minister, Dr Guido Westerwelle, observed that Africa has more to offer than poverty, crisis and catastrophy.
He said the economies in a number of African countries were growing faqster than in Asia thereby attracting more international companies to relocate on the continent.
“When I think of Africa, I see great chances and potential, despite all the challenges,” he said.
African leaders, he stressed, were assuming greater responsibilities regarding the fate of the continent.
The German Foreign Minister said regional co-operation on the continent was on the increase, giving weight to Africa`s regional organizations. He pledged Germany`s support to African countries in their efforts at regional integration.
In his welcome address, Prof. Dr. Hans Heinrich Driftmann, president of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) described Dr Chambas as a man who has dedicated his life for the betterment of his people.
He observed that, Dr Chambas “dedicated himself to the economic emancipation of the West African sub-region as well as to conflict resolution the the region.
He stressed that the role Dr Chambas played as Executive Secretary of ECOWAS gave hope for peace in Liberia after many years of conflict and bloodshed adding that Liberia today was an example of a country that was making progress after emerging from years of conflict.
He said, Dr Chambas also helped immensely in transforming ECOWAS as an example of economic integration on the African continent.
Dr. Volkmar Koehler, president of the independent jury for the German Africa Award 2010 in his remarks said: “Under the leadership of Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, ECOWAS became the most modern and most effective regional organisation in Africa, despite of very difficult political and economic conditions in the region. ECOWAS is the main pillar of peace, political stability and economic development in the West African region”.
In his address, Prof. Karl-Heinz Horhues, president of the German Africa Foundation said with his principle of ‘African solutions for African problems’, Dr Chambas represents a generation of modern, self-confident and ambitious Africans who are the future of this proud and magnificent continent.”
Dr. Chambas, he stressed, made West Africa a better place and we congratulate him for his achievements which we are proud to honour with the German Africa Award 2010″.