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I know the temptation of exile that pushes so many young Africans to go to look elsewhere for what they don’t find here to maintain their families.

I know that it requires will and courage to attempt this adventure, to leave one’s fatherland, to leave the land where one was born and grew up, to leave behind the familiar places where one was happy, the love of a mother, a father or a brother and this solidarity, this warmth, and this communal spirit that are so strong in Africa.

I know that it requires strength of soul to confront this disorientation, this separation, this solitude.

I know what the majority of them must confront in terms of trials, difficulties and risks.

I know that some times they would go as far as to risk their lives to reach what they believe to be their dream.

I know that nothing would hold them back.

Because nothing would ever hold back the youth when they believe they are carried by their dreams.

I do not believe that the African youth are pushed to leave only by the need to flee misery.

I believe that the African youth leave, because, like all youth, they want to conquer the world.

Like all youth they have a taste for adventure and the open sea.

They want to go and see how the others live, think, work and study elsewhere.

Africa will not achieve its Renaissance by cutting the wings of its youth. But Africa has need of its youth.

The African Renaissance will start by teaching the African youth to live with the world, not to refuse it.

The African youth must feel that the world belongs to them as it does to all the youth of the world.

The African youth must feel that all will be possible, as all seemed possible to the men of the Renaissance.

Now, I know well that the African youth must not be the only youth in the world confined to home. They cannot be the only youth of the world that only have a choice between living clandestinely and withdrawing into themselves.

They must be able to acquire, outside of Africa, the competence and knowledge that they would not find in their country.

But they also owe it to Africa to place at its service the talents that they will have developed. It is necessary to return to build Africa, it is necessary to bring to the continent the knowledge, the competencies and the dynamism of these managers. It is necessary to put an end to the pillaging of the African elite of which Africa has need in order to develop.

The African youth do not want to be at the mercy of unscrupulous human traffickers who play with their lives.

What the youth of Africa want is that their dignity should be preserved. To be able to study, to work, to live decently. In the final analysis it is what all of Africa wants. Africa does not want charity or help or privileges.

What Africa wants and what it should be given are solidarity, understanding and respect.

Africa does not want that one should take charge of its future, think in its place or decide in its place.

What Africa wants is the same as what France wants: cooperation, association, a partnership between nations equal in rights and in duties.

African youth, do you want democracy, freedom, justice, law? It is up to you to decide this. France will not decide in your place. But if you choose democracy, freedom, justice and law, then France will join forces with you to build it.

Youth of Africa, globalisation such as it is, does not please you. Africa has paid too high a price dearly for the mirage of collectivism and “progressisme” to yield to that of laisser-faire.

Youth of Africa, you believe that free-trade is beneficial but that it is not a religion. You believe that competition is a means but not and end in itself. You don’t believe in laisser-faire. You know that if Africa is too naïve it would be condemned to become the prey of predators from all over the world and you don’t want that. You want a different globalisation, with more humanity, more justice and more rules.

I came to tell you that France also wants this. France wants to fight along with Europe, along with Africa and along with all those in the world who want to change globalisation. If Africa, France and Europe together want this, we shall succeed. But we cannot express this will (desire) for you.

African youth, you want development, growth, a higher standard of living?

But, do you really want it? Do you want that injustice, corruption and violence should end, property be respected and money be invested instead of embezzled.

Do you want that the state should again fulfil its responsibilities, that it should be freed from the bureaucracies that smother it, that it should be liberated from parasitism and clientism, that its authority be restored, that it rules the feudal powers and corporate lobbies.

Do you want that the rule of law should govern everywhere? That it allows everyone to know reasonably what to expect from others?

If you want this then France will be at your side to demand it, but no one is going to want it in your place.

Do you want that there should be no more famine in Africa, never again a single child who dies of hunger? Then find a way to be self-sufficient in food production. Develop food. Africa has firstly the need to produce food to feed itself. If that is what you want, youth of Africa, you hold between your hands the future of Africa and France will work with you to build this future.

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