Paris- France (PANA) -- The president of Femme 2000 - a Paris-based Cote d'Ivoire women's NGO - Maggie Delly Kouko Tuesday identified xenophobia as detriment to African unity, and urged authorities in Abidjan to quell it from permeating the society.
Kouko told PANA in an interview in Paris that the current "xenophobia" against non-nationals resident in Cote d'Ivoire negated the African Union spirit which most Africans would like to foster.
Xenophobia in Cote d'Ivoire, she said, has raised worries about the future of "our children".
"What is the future of the Ivorian child of the Diaspora? Does it mean he has no place in Cote d'Ivoire?" she queried.
Her question will form the thematic topic at a conference their association plans to convene in October in Paris.
Kouko said the test case for present African leaders was to surmount problems of xenophobia and marginalisation of some segments of the African society as the continent moves to forge greater unity.
Expressing the belief that Africans "should be made to feel at home anywhere on the continent," she voiced concern that "today Burkinabes, Malians, Senegalese and other nationalities were made to feel out of place in Cote d'Ivoire yet many of them were born and have lived in that country for decades".
"Those Burkinabes, Malians, Senegalese and Nigerians are who made Cote d'Ivoire prosperous today as each brought their expertise to Cote d'Ivoire and the country was the winner in terms of prosperity," she observed.
"But today because we have scared off the very people who contributed to our economic grandeur, there are no people to work in our plantations and even the streets are dirty and Cote d'Ivoire is not the same as before" Kouko added.
She was convinced that Africa's prosperity could best be achieved through unity and urged Ivorians to discard the notion of 'Ivority' in order to forge reconciliation.
"Ivority promotes hate, we must rise above hate for Cote d'Ivoire to recover its image as a hospitable country," Kouko emphasised.
Femme 2000, which was created soon after the December 1999 coup d'etat in Cote d'Ivoire, seeks to sensitise the African community in foreign countries and Cote d'Ivoire on human rights and the dangers of xenophobia in a continent working towards greater unity, she explained.
Kouko also called on African women to reposition themselves in decision-making and governance in Africa.
She urged them wherever they happen to be to always play frontline roles in issues likely to endanger the continent's unity and advancement.