Seminar in Copenhagen, Denmark
Extend the New Silk Road to the Middle East and Africa
April 18, 2016
Extend the World Land-Bridge to Southwest Asia and Africa
presented by Hussein Askary
|Watch the video on YouTube|
Hussein Askary had fair number of graphics and charts, which he used to illustrate his presentation.
TOM GILLESBERG: The next speaker is somebody very unique and unusual, Hussein Askary originally comes from Iraq and had to get out under very nasty circumstances, as many others. But that became a blessing at least for our organization, because Hussein, through Norway, ended up to become part of the international LaRouche organization in 1994, and has since then been contributing quite fantastically to our international work.
And he is one of the authors of the original New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge report; but then also made a decision, that this cannot simply stay in the English language, or Chinese. This also has to be in the Arabic language. So Hussein took it upon himself to translate this into the Arabic language and then also of course, write some extra parts to it, which is necessary for the present circumstances in Southwest Asia to have.
This report just came out. It was release on March 17, in Cairo, in a meeting presided over by the Egyptian Transportation Minister who then introduced Hussein, and the hope of course is that this will become something read and studied and acted on in the whole Arabic world, as well as the rest of the world. So Hussein?
HUSSEIN ASKARY: You have heard Helga today, giving a very stern and sobering warning about the state of affairs in the world, the dangers are very real to the world today. What I am going to do, and please don't misunderstand me, I'm not going to give you a picture of how rosy and nice things are, either in Southwest Asia, the so-called Middle East, or in Africa, but, as they say in sports, you have to keep your eye on the ball. What Helga just said, is that there is a new paradigm in the world, which can lead to a completely different, and new world order. And it's that paradigm, within which myself, the Schiller Institute, and the people we are talking to, we want to direct their attention to that new paradigm.
I'm thankful to Leena Malkki for her beautiful singing, and, especially, the Aida aria. It was actually performed at the opening of the Suez Canal, the second Suez Canal, last year.
The idea of great projects, the idea of great challenges, like Hela was explaining, this idea of being in space, looking at the world from space, and, also, the idea of major projects, like the Suez Canal, like the Three Gorges Dam in China, the New Silk Road, the effect they have on people, is that they challenge their imagination, and challenge their creativity, because they represent major difficulties, major technical problems, intellectual problems, that have to be solved, before you achieve these major projects. And that transforms the idea of people. It also gives people an idea of a creative constructive identity, and the position of man in the world, on this Earth, and also in the universe. That is why we try to work on these concepts of the New Silk Road, the extension of the New Silk Road, to inspire people to think outside of the box, outside of the box of geopolitics, which Helga was trying to explain. We have to get out of geopolitics. We have to act human again. But that has practical implications. There are practical problems, and other issues, and even scientific issues we have to resolve.
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So, for those who are not familiar, this is the extension of the New Silk Road. The New Silk Road has existed as the new strategic policy of China since 1996, but we want to expand this into a global collaboration, a blueprint, as Tom said, a concept for peace and cooperation among nations. We have to connect the Economic Belt of the Silk Road (the one with the yellow), which is already being built. As Helga said, the first train arrived from China to Tehran last month. There are projects going on in Siberia. So there are trains going from Asia to Europe. There is no problem with that. We need to extend it into the Southwest Asia region, the so-called Middle East (I can explain later why I say Southwest Asia, and not the Middle East), and into Africa, and of course, into the Americas.
So, you can see that the red lines are where we have the biggest deficits, the biggest deficits in infrastructure, both transportation infrastructure, but also in other needs, deficits in water, and deficits in electricity.
What is different in the Arabic part, which I rewrote certain parts of it, like the Southwest Asia part, we also added the Arabian Peninsula, also, to the idea of the connection to the New Silk Road. This is no longer simply a Silk Road; this is the World Land-Bridge, which can unite all the continents of the world.
In 1996, I had the great fortune to work with Helga Zepp-LaRouche and the team of EIR to make the first major study of the New Silk Road, and it was that one which was adopted by the Chinese government as the strategic policy of China. It was also a thick report like this.
This work is being done, mostly in East Asia, Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, Russia, all these nations are involved, but what is lacking is the connection to the rest. So it has been 20 years since that idea emerged, but there was no response from the countries in the Arab world, for example, or in Africa.
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Now, the idea with all these lines is not only about trade. We want to warn people, that we are not talking about moving goods from China to Europe. That's not our concept. That's a byproduct. What we mean by the New Silk Road, the World Land-Bridge, that we need to create development corridors: a development corridor where you bring power, water, and technology to areas that are landlocked, that are far from industrial zones, and, explore the resources, human and natural resources of that region, to develop new centers of economic activity. Like landlocked nations, like in Central Asia, or the Great Lakes region in Africa. That's the concept. It's not about trade, although trade is an important aspect of this.
In 2002, Mr. Lyndon LaRouche, the American economist and political leader, the husband of Mrs. LaRouche, was in Abu Dhabi, in a conference about oil, and the role of oil in world politics, and the future of oil. And there were many ministers of oil actually from the Arab countries -- the gentleman to the right is the energy minister of the United Arab Emirates -- and Mr. LaRouche shocked everybody, and said that the Arab countries, or the Gulf countries, have to gradually stop exporting raw oil, and actually use raw oil and gas as an industrial product, for petrochemicals, plastics, where every barrel of oil will give many times its value, rather than burning it as energy. He said that you should use your position in the world, as a crossroads of continents. You have to utilize that position as a crossroads for world trade, but also, the connection between Africa, Asia and Europe.
So I added these to the Arabic version, because I think that this is a very unique area in the world, not only that its strategic location is very unique, no other part of the world has that; you also have two-thirds of the world's energy resources, so-called, oil and gas in that region, but also, most importantly, you have about 450 million people. Most of them are young people. And actually, many of them have a good education. You also have nations with a very ancient history and culture, and a very historical identity, like Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and so on, and they also have an idea of themselves as becoming key players in the world, but we hope that they will become key players in the world in the economic, scientific and cultural sense.
The problem is that all these advantages have been turned into disadvantages. So this region has become a center for global politics, for global geopolitics, and that is why we see the conditions we have in the whole Middle East region becoming like this.
Our idea is, now we have this new situation with the Russian intervention, the prospect, the possibility of having a peaceful political solution in Syria, the prospect of uniting many powers to fight ISIS and al-Qaeda, and so on, both in Iraq and Syria, and also in Libya. But this should be followed, as Helga said, we need a Marshall Plan, we need an economic development plan, to establish peace on a true basis.
The reason I joined the Schiller Institute in 1994, was that I was in Oslo, and I was working as a translator, and there was a Palestinian children's delegation coming with Yasser Arafat; and I was going around with them, and, at that time, you had the Oslo peace agreement. A week later, I saw a sign that the Schiller Institute was having a meeting in Oslo. They had a very interesting title. They said in the meeting that if you don't start with the economic development of the Palestinian people, the people in Jordan, Syria, Israel, and so on, if you don't base the peace process on a solid economic basis, this whole thing will fail. And the peace process is, of course, dead now, both because of that, but also because of geopolitics which has prevented reaching a true peace.
So, therefore, to establish true peace, we need an economic and scientific program. Helga referred to president Xi Jinping's visit to the region in January this year. I consider this as an historic turning point, actually, because at that point, in late January, Saudi Arabia and Iran were at the point where there was a big risk of a direct war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, because of the beheading of a Shi'a clergy in Saudi Arabia, which led to demonstrations, the burning of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, and so on. So the Chinese intervention came at a very crucial point, where they said, "Look, all these religious conflicts and problems you have with each other, can lead the whole world into a disaster. Why don't we work on our method? We offer you to join the New Silk Road. We offer economic development, and technology, and even financing, so we can connect all of your countries which are in conflict with each other together into this global process." And this is very, very important. And nations in the region have to really grasp that opportunity now, and, instead of discussing the fate of President Assad, they should discuss what kinds of economic projects they should work together on.
One of the issues that I didn't mention, is that, for example, even as Helga said, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, they can join this, if they stop this other policy, because we also have one of the largest concentrations of financial power in the Gulf countries; the so-called sovereign funds of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries is about $2 trillion. This can be transformed into credit.
In the report, I propose the establishment of the Arab Infrastructure Investment Bank. A bank which will be financed by these rich countries, which would have a capital of $100-200 billion, and that capital will only be earmarked for infrastructure and development projects.
So every nation has a role in this. And in the report, we have also added, which is not in the English report, a plan, a general outline for the reconstruction of Syria, by utilizing Syria's position also as a bridge for the Silk Road, both from Asia, and from Europe, into Africa. We also propose the construction of a Syrian National Reconstruction Bank, which is very important. We have a very important chapter in the report about how nations can internally finance major infrastructure programs. Because, the big question, which comes all the time when I am in Arab countries, or in Africa, is, they say "OK. This sounds good. Who will pay for this? Where will the money come from?" Actually, you don't really need money, in that sense. You can create the money, but you have to know where to use that money. As Helga said, the central banks in Europe and the United States are pumping massive amounts of liquidity into the financial and banking system. But none of that is transformed into technologies or projects, public projects, or housing projects, or industrial projects in Europe or anywhere. So money is being printed, but it is not being used.
But there is a method, which we call the Hamiltonian national credit system, which every nation can actually internally generate credit to finance part of its national development plans, and this is one thing we put in the Syria plan. Because every time there is a war like in Bosnia, in Lebanon, and so on, you have donor conferences, where every nation says that we will give you so much money, 100 million, 50 million, but there is no centralized idea about how to rebuild the whole country. It all depends on donations, small drops which come. We want something massive. We want something big. Foreign governments should contribute to that by exporting technology to Syria, for example, which Syria cannot afford to build, or afford to buy, in the current situation.
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Also, a part of our plan for Southwest Asia is to fight against desertification, by managing and creating new water resources, stopping the expansion of the desert. This is the Iraqi Green Belt project to stop the effect of sand and dust storms, which actually is a big problem for many cities in Iraq, sometimes even reaching into Iran, by building a Green Belt, planting trees in a large scale, a belt by using both ground water and water from the rivers. This is a kind of national program which can unite the people of Iraq for an idea of their future together. Not Sunni, Shi'a, Kurdish, Turkish, and so on, and so forth. These are the kinds of projects, real physical projects, which will challenge people to work together in a country like Iraq.
Now, I took this Egyptian model, because in Egypt, you have a very terrible situation, which is the accumulation of 30 years of destructive economic and financial policies, mostly caused by former President Mubarak's and Anwar Sadat's collaboration with the IMF and the World Bank. There should be a shift in the way Egyptians consider their economy. Because Egypt always waits for the IMF or the World Bank, the EU or the United States to give some money so that they can start something new. And usually money does not go to large scale. Europe, the United States, the UN, the IMF and the World Bank will never finance large infrastructure projects. That's the policy. Small, small, small is beautiful. That's what they say.
But in Egypt, with the new leadership in Egypt, you have the focus on mega-projects, which is a necessity. If you want to save Egypt's economy, Egypt's entire infrastructure has to be built from scratch again. There should be new industrial and agricultural centers, which they are focusing on.
Using high technology, they try to attract the highest levels of technology, and internal financing. You know, President el-Sisi, when they wanted to build the Suez Canal, there was no money, as usual, they said. So what he did was something unique. He went outside the central bank. He went outside the budget, and said, "I will go on TV, and I will tell the Egyptian people that we want to build this canal. It's crucial for our nation. We want you to give the money."
In 2013 I wrote a memorandum for Egypt, an Egyptian Economic Independence Document, I called it. Actually, inside Egypt, you can raise more than $100 billion, because there are resources inside Egypt. People, even today, buy dollars. They take part of their salary, and buy dollars or gold, and keep it at home, so that financing disappears from the system. It's not reinvested in the system. People keep their money because of the unstable economic situation.
But if you encourage the Egyptian people with this kind of national development projects, which will put their kids to work, unemployed young people, they would come out with the money. And this is what el-Sisi did. I wrote at the time, that they should build a National Development Bank, not just one fund for the Suez Canal, as they did. But as soon as President el-Sisi came on TV and said, "We want to build this canal, but we don't have the money. We want the Egyptian people to pay for it." So they went out, and in one week they raised $8 billion. And people were queuing late into the night; I met a banker last year, who said, "We had to stay open into the night, because people were queuing at the banks to buy the bonds!" Egyptians are real patriots. They love their country, but if they are encouraged by good leadership.
Of course, the Suez Canal is not giving back what was supposed to be already from the beginning, because world trade has collapsed. The level of transit in the Suez Canal has gone down, not because of Egypt's policy, but because the world economy is going down. Global trade has been collapsing. But the idea is to use the Suez Canal as a development zone. And this is what I got from people in the Suez Canal Authority -- that they are not only thinking about transport of goods, but they want to utilize that route to build new industrial zones around the canal, like we showed in the development corridor idea. And, of course, Egypt has a very key role, both in the Arab world -- it's the most important Arab country -- and also in Africa.
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Now Egypt has one big problem -- it's the demographic problem. People say that Egypt is overpopulated. That's not true. Egypt is not overpopulated. Cairo is overcrowded! Ninety million people live on only 5% of the land of Egypt; 95% of the land of Egypt is empty. It's not used, but it's not overpopulated. The United States and Europe have been financing the Egyptian government with hundreds of millions of dollars for family planning, so that women will have fewer children. But no projects were built to expand Egypt's economic potential to accommodate to the new generations, so that they can have new agricultural and urban centers out in the desert!
After I was in Egypt last year, I wrote a report for a major economic conference in Egypt to attract investment; but these are the ideas which came out of both the conference, and my observations about Egypt's role in the New Silk Road. In Egypt, people were very negative to the idea of the New Silk Road, because they said that the transshipment on the Silk Road will take away trade from the Suez Canal -- that shipments will go from Asia to Europe by land, and we will lose. So there are a lot of people in Egypt who are actually against the idea. But I was telling people, "Look. It's not about trade. If you have economic development, you will need more Suez Canals to accommodate the trade. But if the world economy is not growing, there is no development, there will be no trade. And people will compete on attracting trade into other areas."
So the idea is to develop Egypt's economy, but also contribute to more development and more trade among nations. And it's in utilizing Egypt's position to connect to Sub-Saharan Africa, to North Africa, the Middle East, and to the Arabian Peninsula. Interestingly, after I was in Egypt, last week the Saudi King was in Egypt, and they decided to build this bridge. At Sharm el-Sheikh, there is a connection over the Gulf of Aqaba. I think that the Egyptian President invited the Saudi King to support the building of this bridge between the Saudi territories and southern Sinai, which will turn Sinai from an isolated area, suddenly into becoming the center between two major economies.
There are now big problems in Egypt, because the President made a terrible mistake by conceding sovereignty over the Tiran and Sanafir islands to the Saudis. There was a dispute between the two countries for many years, but President el-Sisi suddenly declared that they are Saudi islands, and now there is a big uproar in Egypt. And the mistake was that there was no public discussion about it. The parliament didn't have anything to say about this. So, now there will be a review of the agreement. But the idea of this project is very important.
Egyptian Development Corridor—Dr. El-Baz
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Now, for Egypt to get out of that demographic box, is for Egypt to expand its economic activities into the desert. This is the development corridor proposed by Dr. Farouk El-Baz, who is a space scientist, and he is right now an advisor to the President. And he designed this idea of creating the new valley, the new Nile Valley, by building railways, roads, and new urban centers. I added these green zones, because these are actually becoming new agricultural areas that the Egyptian government wants to invest in, by creating new farmlands -- they are talking about 4 million acres of land, and settling young people into these regions, and building new agro-industrial centers. But what is needed is to extend the development corridor, the black line, into the economic zones.
This is the Africa Pass. One of our Egyptian friends, an engineer, presented this at our conference in 2012, it's the same idea, connecting Egypt to North Africa, to Europe, and into the Great Lakes region of Africa. Now, the Great Lakes region countries, like Rwanda, Burundi, the eastern Congo, Uganda, they have massive problems of economic development, also because they are very far from the transport corridors of the world. We wrote a series of reports two years ago about the cost of shipment of a container. The Danish shipping company A.P. Møller-Mærsk has statistics that the cost of a shipment of a container from Singapore to Alexandria is $4,000, to Mombasa in eastern Kenya, it becomes $5,000; but to the capital of Uganda, it goes to $8,000, because there are no good roads to ship that container! Into Rwanda and Burundi it reaches $10,600 per container. So they cannot bear the cost of shipment of containers that maybe have technology inside them, and machines, and that is a major problem for these so-called land-locked countries. So you need to have new lines of transport which will reduce the cost of the transport.
Now these are ideas which the African nations, the African Union, have had for many years. There are many very nice plans, but the attitude of the rest of the world to Africa, because Africa, by itself, does not have the technology, at least, to build these projects, and there has been no willingness in Europe, or the United States, to finance, or contribute to building the projects proposed in any of these major reports, to integrate the infrastructure of Africa and enhance economic development. Because without infrastructure, you cannot have economic development.
But some of these lines are now coming on the agenda, thanks to the intervention of the BRICS nations, and also of China. For example, the Cairo-Cape Town highway idea, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, presented this actually twice at the BRICS summit in 2013 and 2014, and he said, "This is a crucial, a key element in the development of Africa. We need to work with the BRICS nations and China, Russia and India to build these projects." There are 400 road and rail projects involved in this. But this is a big challenge, both in terms of financing, and in terms of technology.
There is also the possibility of connecting the river systems of Africa for river transport, like in Europe, the Main-Rhine-Danube Rivers are an important transport artery, and development artery. In the same way, you can connect the Nile to the Great Lakes, to the Zambezi River through a number of canals, and so-called trans-modal transport systems, where you can ship from rivers to rail, and back to rivers, to lakes, and so on, in an easy way.
Filling the gap which the United States and Europe have left for many, many years, now the Chinese--. Well, in Europe, we have a very problematic and twisted relationship to poverty, to poor countries, to underdeveloped countries. Europeans look at Africa as a burden. It's a problem. How do we solve this problem? But the problem is that the whole focus has been on aid, emergency relief, and so on, and so forth, but that really doesn't solve problems. I mean, people talk about genocide. In Africa, every year there are 4 million children who die. Now, talk about a war crime. There are 700,000 children before the age of five who die every year in Africa. So, you cannot solve these problems with small aid projects here and there. You need to think big. You need to provide those people with adequate transport, electricity, water systems, and this cannot be done by so-called aid programs. In Africa 600 million people don't have access to electricity, out of 1 billion.
But you look at the Chinese, when they look at an underdeveloped country, they see an opportunity. They see potential. They see a "win-win" strategy -- new markets, new areas of development, and they should intervene in that situation.
It is the same idea that President Franklin Roosevelt of the United States had. All of his fights with Churchill were exactly about this problem. Roosevelt told Churchill in the middle of World War II, that you British are very stupid, because you suck the blood of the Africans, and you get pennies, you get nothing, by sucking their blood. But if you develop Africa, as independent nations, as modern nations, as we did with the United States, then you will gain much, much more; if you treat them as humans, if you develop their infrastructure, schools and hospitals.
And this is exactly what the Chinese are thinking about. Out of the problem, they see an opportunity. Prime Minister Li Keqiang was in East Africa, and also Nigeria in May 2014, and immediately said, "We want to help Africa to connect all the capitals with railways," which is a big deficit problem. And they started from East Africa. And now there are projects being built from Lamu, a new port, into the land-locked South Sudan, into Uganda, into Rwanda and Burundi. And China is both financing major parts of this, but also contributing to building it, to solve the problems of the land-locked countries and the need for development.
China recently completed, it's not running yet, but part of the railway is running, from Djibouti to Addis Ababa. There is an old railway, which is not functional, built by the French colonialists, but now there is a new, electrified railway, which goes from Djibouti to Addis Ababa.
Two interesting things about this railway are, firstly, that Ethiopia is always associated with famine and food problems. Some of these problems still exist. These are on the way to being solved, but to bring food from the ports to inside the country usually took two months, because of the lack of infrastructure. So starving people could not have food in time. Even if the food existed in the port, coming from around the world to Djibouti, it was almost impossible to bring the food to the people who needed it. Now, that food can be shipped in 10 hours, to the capital, and also to other areas. The other interesting fact about this railway is that China is not just building the railway, and financing it, but training and educating engineers and workers to run these systems.
Now, Ethiopia has a massive infrastructure plan for connecting all the major cities of Ethiopia, with the railway and roads. The other thing about the railway is that it is all electrified. And the Ethiopians will use all these new dams they are building, to electrify the railway. So they don't need import oil, and gas and diesel to run the railway system. They will domestically provide the energy to run the trains.
So, Ethiopia, I am very sure it will never be associated anymore with famine and poverty. Ethiopia is a great nation, a very proud nation. They have massive resources, but these resources have been dormant, have not been utilized. But now, with the Chinese intervention, and also India is active there, these resources will be developed.
This is just a metaphorical picture. This is the Mombasa-Nairobi railway being built by a Chinese and a Kenyan worker. In Africa, the propaganda goes that the Chinese never let the locals work in these projects. They bring their own workers, they bring their own engineers, their own technology, they build the thing, and then they leave. It's not true. They always involve local workers. They train them, because they cannot run these systems; the locals will have to run these systems themselves.
But they are also training the labor force in Uganda. They are building an Army Corps of Engineers, so that the Army can play a positive role in the development of the country. Traditionally, the Army Corps of Engineers played a very important role, even in advanced countries. So this is part of the same project.
Another important infrastructure project for Africa is Transaqua. Lake Chad is drying up, which is a known fact, and 30 million people are affected, because they live as fishermen, or they have grazing land around the lake in Chad and Nigeria, and Niger. All these countries are affected. There are 30 million people around that region, and there will be massive migration actually from the Lake Chad region. So there is an idea called Transaqua, which was developed by one of our friends, an Italian engineer, to bring 5% of the water from the Congo River, or the tributaries of the Congo River, and build a 2,800 km.-long canal into the Chari River, and then flow downwards into Lake Chad, to refill the lake; but also to have a new economic zone, and build the Mombasa-Lagos highway, which was one of the plans I showed earlier.
So you can transform that part of Africa, which in people's minds is a complete jungle, into a new economic zone, but also to bring water to the Lake Chad region.
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Now, there are some other issues I want to address. One of the big deficits of course in Africa, is the energy consumption. And as I said not everybody has that; the average international level of energy consumption is about 2,800 [kw?] but that's not equal. The only two countries which are exception are South Africa and Libya, before that. So the energy needs in Africa are enormous! I mean Africa has a lot of wealth, but also the hydropower potential which has never been built. But the attitude of the Western countries, like the Obama administration, they have something called "Power Africa Initiative," that certain nations in Africa will get energy provided. But they're not talking about hydropower, they're not talking about nuclear power, they're not talking about coal or gas or so on. They're talking about so-called "renewable" or "sustainable energy." And the International Energy Agency has a criteria for access to energy, which is a modern access to energy is about 100kw-hours per year per person. And this diagram shows very ironically, that that amount will be consumed by an American in three days! But they expect Africans to live with that for a whole year! Here's just one more ironical idea: My refrigerator can consume many times as much as an Ethiopian individual.
These are the criteria for President Obama's Power Africa plan, that the plan will eventually help these nations come to this line, while the real needs are that big now, and they will be that big in a few years. So, all these ideas to help Africa from the Obama administration, they're not adequate! It's just a complete bluff. It does not help, if you just look at the numbers.
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And this is also another irony of the Obama administration policy. These are the sources of energy for the American people, the American economy, and these are what the Obama administration doesn't want you to do. So it's "do as we say, not as we do." So the United States produced 37% of its energy from coal, that's forbidden for Africa; 30% produced by natural gas, that's a very suspicious policy, because there's the carbon problem; 19% nuclear -- absolutely no nuclear for Africa; 7% hydropower -- the United States is very suspicious of hydropower projects, and so on and so on. So what is left is solar, so-called geothermal, and biomass, which the United States produced only 0.1% of its needs. But that's recommended for Africa. [laughter]
So anyway, the idea is that if Africa joins the new paradigm shift, African nations, they have exactly, in African families and African individuals, they have exactly the same needs as we have; as we have in Europe or in the United States. There is absolutely no difference. So they're trying to convince the Africans that they should just, maybe, if they're lucky they could get a lightbulb at home, so the kids can read, by having a solar battery. They will not bite!
I mean, if you bring electricity to a village, what people will do, is not simply have a lightbulb, if you bring electricity to a village, -- and one of our friends made a study in India -- is that people will start to want to use new devices. They have to have other appliances at home, you need to have a stove, so women don't have to many hours and cut trees and come home and cook with the wood, and suffocate with the smoke. Farmers will have to have tractors. They will need to have workshops which use electricity; people will want to have TV sets, computers. They want to build industrial projects. They will need refrigeration which is a big problem in Africa, because most of the food produced in the Sub-Saharan goes wasted because there's no refrigeration.
So just to give yourself an illusion that you will provide every African lightbulb, just forget about it! Because the needs of those people are so immense, and they will not give up on their right to have a living standard which is similar to ours. Why shouldn't they have it? And this is what -- here, in the ideology in Europe and the United States I know, they should not have this kind of technology, they should not have this kind of development in Africa, because that's not "sustainable." Which is not true. It is sustainable, if you provide the tools and the technology to do that. Actually in Africa, there are more resources than in Japan or in the United States and Europe, to sustain industrial development!
So the problem is in the policy. The problem is how they look at Africa, and how they look at the problem of poverty and so on. And that has also to change, exactly as we changed with geopolitics, we have to change our attitude to the problems of Africa, and have really the right methods to solving them, and treating African nations as equal to us, and African families as equal to us, and African individuals as equal to us.
Nobody here will give up their living standard, and live in the forest -- maybe some people who do, there are some Danes and Norwegians... [laughter] But we want to have education. We want to have warm housing, we want to have clean water; we want to have a future for our kids; we want to have trains which go on time. This is what the Africans want. You know, there's nothing different, we're all one human race!
So, when you design policy and you say, "No, Africans should have 'sustainable energy,' not nuclear power," then you are breaking with that idea of a real human family and equality. So I think I'll stop here. [applause]