Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- Senegalese foreign minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio said Friday that the Conference of Intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora, which opened here Thursday, has recorded a string of successes.
Giving a progress assessment of the ongoing meeting, Gadio said the acceptance by heads of state to have a face-to-face interaction with intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora was a hallmark of the successes of the conference.
"These are heads of states who think that mixing with intellectuals is not as dangerous as is widely believed," the foreign minister noted.
Gadio underscored that African leaders who let themselves into this intellectual exercise were those who believe that the intelligentsia must lay the bricks in building Africa.
Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Pedro Pires of Cape Verde, Mali's Amadou Toumani Toure and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni attended the meeting that discussed a number of continental issues with the intellectuals.
Meanwhile, the intellectuals have commended the critical minds of the heads of state during the discussions, and have taken up the challenge thrown at them by the leaders at Thursday's opening session, Gadio said.
"They are brainstorming on how to reflect theoretically on African integration and what tangible recommendations to make to our heads of state," he said.
Gadio disagreed with critics who say Africa lacks intellectual production, arguing that on the theme of integration alone, libraries worldwide had a galore of books, essays and articles produced by Africans.
The foreign minister said he had proposed to the commission on the "Contribution of Intellectuals from Africa and Diaspora to strengthening African integration" a four-member group that will brief the African leaders on the conclusions of the conference during a special session of the African Union.
The reports of the conference would be sent some three months ahead of the AU special session in the form of recommendations for action by the political decision-makers, he said.