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Selected Speeches Of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I



OPENS AFRICA HALL


E.C.A.: Its Responsibilities

On the occasion of the holding in Addis Ababa of the Third Regular Session of the Economic Commission for Africa, We are pleased to extend Our warm greetings to those who have come to the capital city of Ethiopia to attend this Conference as representatives and observers. A little over two years ago, We addressed the inaugural session of the Economic Commission for Africa. In the years which have intervened, African development has surged ahead on the irresistible tide which is sweeping the entire continent to freedom. Many who attended that first session in the capacity of observers have now become full members of this organization, and We extend a particular welcome to those new states whose representatives, for the first time, will play a full role in the deliberations which will take place here.

It is a law of nature and history that the development of any people must proceed simultaneously on all fronts. It is not enough that political emancipation has been and is being achieved. We must also attain that degree of economic freedom which makes independence a complete and mean­ingful concept. Our economies must be strong and viable. The energies which the African peoples expend to this end must be fruitful and productive. After having won their political independence, at such labour and cost, Africans must now similarly labour to escape from the economic domination which could render their freedom illusory and ephemeral.

This is our task. It is not an easy task, and the challenge which it presents is great. An age-old technique which we may expect to encounter again and again in our struggle to attain independence in fact as well as in name, is summed up in the maxim “divide and conquer.” We may question whether any action tending to the association of European and African economies in the European Common Market should not be delayed until the implications and consequences of this step have been fully considered in this African forum. We must be ever mindful that our greatest weapon is the oneness which we share as Africans. But it is not enough to be Africans. That which pulls us apart and divides us must be resisted with all of our strength. That which unites us must be pursued relentlessly and inexorably. We must expand yet further communications among the African nations; we must come to know one another better. We must increase student exchanges and visits to one another’s countries. Our greatest asset is our unity, and we must exploit it to the fullest. Is it not true that the fundamental characteristic of unity is that each of us accepts as his own the problems and difficulties which beset any of us, whether in his culture or his economy.

The work which the Economic Commission for Africa has performed in its short life is already laying a solid founda­tion upon which Africans may work together for the solution of those problems which beset this continent and for the realization of an ever-accelerating African economic deve­lopment. We congratulate the dedicated men and women who have, under the ECA’s able Secretary-General, already produced so much that will be so useful in the future. In their future work, We trust that the Economic Commission for Africa will not ignore studies and research which can make a further contribution to their work and to African development.

Nor should the Economic Commission for Africa ignore the contributions it can make in other fields. In the field of social development, for example, the Economic Commission for Africa could, with additional assistance from the United Nations, undertake a comparative study of the developing social life of African nations, with special attention being given to agrarian problems. Cultural and natural resources are the mainstays of the African economy; unless progress in these fields keeps pace with development in other areas, a serious obstacle will be created to accelerate growth in any area.

The responsibility for all this is in our hands. We know that the Economic Commission for Africa will continue to serve the ultimate interests of the African peoples, and We pray that Almighty God will bless your labours and crown them with success.

February 6, 1961.


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Emperor Haile Sellassie First Theocracy Reign
Order of the Nyahbinghi

February 22, 2017