Senegal’s President Macky Sall.

During a visit to Egypt late last week, President Macky Sall of Senegal, who takes over the chairmanship of the African Union this February, detailed his ambitions for Africa in an interview with the most influential daily newspaper in the North African country and the Arab world.

President Sall said that his country’s accession to the rotating chairmanship of the AU, which came into effect on 1st February, comes in very special circumstances, marked by many difficulties including security, epidemiological and economic challenges.

The Senegalese leader is, however, very optimistic about the ability of African countries to face up to these challenges.

According to the Senegalese head of state, who spoke in an interview with the editor of the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, Alaa Thabet, on the occasion of his recent visit to Egypt, African countries have a great capacity to adjust.

And they have already overcome many crises, the new AU Chairman Sall added.

For him, Senegal is proud of its political and diplomatic relations with Egypt with which it shares the same visions on international and regional issues.

Sall hailed the great support provided by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi, as former AU Chairman, in addressing the continent’s crises.

He hoped that the Egyptian president could support Senegal during his chairmanship of the AU.

President Sall also stressed that the upcoming climate conference to be held in Egypt represents a historic opportunity that Africa must seize to expose its environmental problems to the world, insisting on the need for the continent to “speak with one voice and convey a unified discourse, because it is not acceptable that we always remain in the position of those who pay the price of pollution caused by others, a scourge that has caused much damage to our continent.

“Everyone knows that Africa is not an industrial continent and therefore global warming is not its fault. What the African continent emits as a whole of carbon dioxide does not exceed 4 percent of the total emissions emitted at the global level,” he noted, insisting that it is unacceptable not to stand with the African continent to achieve its economic development, especially with regard to access to electricity for African people.

As for the crisis related to the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), President Sall said that the solution to this dispute is through dialogue, in order to reach a transparent and equitable sharing agreement with all.

He said the 9th World Water Forum, to be held on March 22 in Senegal, will be an appropriate opportunity to share positive experiences around the world in the field of water management.

For the Senegalese leader, the best way to meet these challenges and resolve these crises is not to ignore, first, the economic challenges, “because we must give hope for a brighter future to the youth and people of Africa, which must be accompanied by the construction of flexible and solid economies capable of creating employment opportunities for university graduates or those from the rural world.

“The economies of African countries must be able to create added value,” the Senegalese head of state concluded.