Leon H. Sullivan’s Legacy Continues in Equatorial Guinea

By Paul Ndiho

August 28, 2012

The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, named after the American civil rights leader, held its Ninth Annual Summit in Equatorial Guinea in collaboration with President Obiang last week.

Equatorial Guinea is a small country, composed of a mainland portion plus five islands. It’s one of the smallest on the African continent. Equatorial Guinea has experienced rapid economic growth due to the discovery of large offshore oil reserves, and in the last decade has become Sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest oil exporter.

Last week the country hosted the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation Summit in the Billion-dollar Sipopo Conference Center outside of the Capital of Malabo. Hope Masters, President and CEO of the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, led the group of more than 300 delegates from the United States, Caribbean and African’s in the Diaspora.

“We come back from our passage today as Educators, Doctors, Lawyers, Investors, Teachers and some us just wondered back here because we didn’t know where to go but you know, you can always come back home. So we’re here never the less. We need you and you need us. This my friends, my family is the reason why we’re here today.”

Equatorial Guinea’s longtime leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema officially opened the summit and said that he was proud to host the Leon Sullivan Summit because the foundation empowers underprivileged people worldwide by promoting the principles of self-help and social responsibility. Despite the criticism from Human Rights activities and the International media, President Obiang said that his country is open for business and offered citizenship to African Americans and African’s in the Diaspora.

Former  Ghanaian President John Kufuor who chairs the of Board of the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation noted that this year’s theme “Africa Rising” should not just refer to the nations and the continent more importantly it must be invested in African Citizenry to attain commanding heights in all the people do. President Kufuor also underscored the importance of the Diaspora saying that they are an important part of Africa.

“It’s in recognition of this that the African Union recognizes you as the sixth region of the continent. Even as African continent calls for partnerships with the outside world, I urge you to look back to your mother continent and bring your enormous amount of expertise and talent to help in its development. This is through partnerships and transfer of capital and technical know-how where the benefits will accrue on all sides.

Critics say that hosting this year’s Leon Sullivan Foundation summit in Equatorial Guinea was part of President Obiang’s systematic effort to whitewash his authoritarian regime and his family’s un-explained wealth. While his supporters say, that Obiang’s government deserves some credit for transforming the country and for building brand new state of the art cities that will benefit the people of Equatorial Guinea.

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