“I accept this award on behalf of all our great ancestors” – Pres Ali receives Global African Leadership Award

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
President Dr Irfaan Ali receiving the award

President Dr Irfaan Ali was on Friday evening conferred with the prestigious Global African Leadership Award in recognition of his strong and transformational leadership, during the Africa Prosperity Champions Awards and Presidential Gala Dinner in Ghana.

The distinguished event, held in Accra, was intended to shine light on exceptional individuals who have served with excellence, and saw several leaders and important figures being bestowed with recognition for their respective contributions.

Particularly, the Guyanese Leader was also recognised for ‘protecting his country from an outrageous and aggressive attempt of neo-colonisation and unwarranted foreign aggression’.

As he accepted the award in the presence of Ghanian President Nana Akufo-Addo, Ali dedicated it to ancestors who came to Guyana from Africa and fought valiantly for freedom and for the shackles of slavery to be broken.

“I want to say how pleased I am to be here and I accept this award on behalf of all our great ancestors who came from Africa and laid their bones on our shores in the name of freedom, just to realise human dignity and achieve freedom from the worse system the world has ever seen, and that is the system of slavery,” the President voiced.

He added that from that era to present, Guyana has been transformed and the intention of his leadership is to create one system and one country where all citizens prosper.

The president shared, “I come from a very small country of six ethnic groups, a country that is divided by external forces that sought their own selfish interests and used what is the greatest asset of humanity, that is our differences and ethnicity, as a tool of division. But today, I am proud to lead a country where the people elected me, from a minority religion of Islam, as their President. That is how we have grown.”

Meanwhile, recognition was also given to the fact that 40 percent of the world’s gold reserves, 30 percent of mineral reserves and 65 percent of all arable lands are in Africa.He contended, “The next two decade belongs to Africa. it is up to ourselves to ensure it happens.”

President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde and Prime Minister of Mozambique, Adriano Maleiane along with senior officials from Cote D’Ivoire, Egypt, Gambia, and Rawanda were also in attendance.

President Ali arrived in Accra for an official visit to the West African country on Thursday. He was expected to deliver the keynote address at the Presidential Dialogues session and participate in panel discussions at the Africa Prosperity Dialogues Summit of Heads of State and Business Leaders.

On Friday, the Guyanese Head of State met with Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo in Accra, the country’s capital. Later, he also attended the commissioning of the Sentuo Oil Refinery.

The refinery is expected to churn out two million barrels per annum and was lauded as a pivotal step towards securing the African nation’s future in the energy landscape. The project, in its second phase, will also be scalable to five million barrels.

The Ghana President posted on his social media page, “It is essential to recognize that some 97 percent of our current consumption of petroleum products is imported, resulting in a heavy reliance on external sources. This overreliance not only poses economic challenges such as high cost, and the constant drain on our foreign currency reserves, but also limits our ability to control prices and ensure a stable supply. The establishment of this refinery signifies our commitment to reducing this dependence, achieving self-sufficiency, and driving the growth of our domestic petroleum industry.”

During previous engagements in Guyana, President Akufo-Addo had committed to lending assistance to Guyana as the country was at the time preparing for first oil – an offer which former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government and then People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Opposition had both welcomed.

Thereafter, he has engaged President Ali on several matters of mutual interests, including oil and gas, climate change and the environment, capacity building, and training.