Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- The first conference of Intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora, due to open here Thursday, is almost certain to end in success, President Abdoulaye Wade told a news conference here Wednesday where African Union Commission Chairperson, Alpha Omar Konare was present.
"We want people to meet and discuss among ourselves," Wade noted, before saying he was convinced that the debates would be fruitful.
He said the first objective of the conference was to ensure that the contacts thus established would result in the development of a continuous working plan and the organisation of further meetings.
Since the themes are open, Wade said that nothing prevented the 700 participants from addressing other important issues.
"The diversity of our guests prefigures a diversity of opinions," he said.
The main theme for this first conference held by the African Union is "Africa in the 21st century: integration and renaissance".
In addition to the major theme, six sub-topics will be dealt with: Pan-Africanism in the 21st century, contribution of the intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora to the consolidation of African integration in the 21st century, African identity in a multi-cultural background, Africa's place in the world, relations between Africa and the Diaspora, Africa, science and technology: stakes and prospects.
Panafricanism, Wade emphasised, is a stream of thought having its foundation in moving Africa closer to the different strands of its Diasporas which have different nationalities, but whose fate is closely-knit.
"We are convinced that the African Diaspora can play economic and cultural roles, but we are equally convinced that we can contribute something to these Diasporas," he said, adding "that means should be found to bring intellectuals closer to decision- making circles in Africa".
Once again, the chairperson of the AU Commission, Alpha Omar Konare reiterated that Africa's future lies in Panafricanism.
"The fact that this content has been given to our collective drive is the fruit of the fight of some of us, because there is the African Union and NEPAD (the New Partnership for Africa's Development).
They enable us today to address this issue and to strongly call on the intellectuals of our continent," Konare said, adding, "Intellectuals are focused today so that they can assume their responsibilities".
According to him, each intellectual must delve into his discipline to see what he can do to improve the living conditions of the poorest, before adding that Africa has won all the major battles thanks to its solidarity.
Konare explained that the conference of Intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora would establish a secretariat that will prepare future meetings.
He promised the creation of a website accessible to all where debates will be held on a permanent basis.
He announced that the African Union Commission plans to launch a comprehensive databank for African human resources and a network of African experts.
"This network can not only work for the AU, but also for the states," he said, adding that in this network, there are private individuals, retired people, the best African competencies that can be put at the service of Africa service.