IN PICTURES: President of Ireland Michael D Higgins' visit to Senegal

IN PICTURES: President of Ireland Michael D Higgins' visit to Senegal

IRISH President Michael D Higgins is in the Republic of Senegal this week.

Yesterday he attended the Dakar 2 Summit, to which gave one of the opening addresses, where he championed Africa as the place from where “we all came”.

Pic shows President Higgins speaking at the Africa Food Summit Conference (Pics: Maxwell Photography)

He was invited to address the conference by the President of Senegal and current Chairperson of the African Union, Macky Sall, and the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.

(Pics: Maxwell Photography)

During his speech he said: “It is my first time to visit this great country, the country of the poet and cultural theorist Leopold Senghor, the first President of independent Senegal from 1960-1980 and rightly regarded as one of the most important African intellectuals of the 20th century.

(Pics: Maxwell Photography)

“It was Senghor who remarked: ‘Africa is not an idea, it is a knot of realities’. They are such realities as can be shaped so that we may, not only for Africans, but all of humanity, achieve sustainable and inclusive models of living cooperatively together.”

The Irish President with President of the Republic of Senegal, Mr.Macky Sall (Pics: Maxwell Photography)

He added: “I speak to you today with a sense of hope.

“It is a hope borne of recognising the potential for a continent on which the prospects of so much of our shared future rests.

President Higgins meets President Sall (Pics: Maxwell Photography)

“Today Africa is the continent of the young, accounting for 20 percent of the young people of the world, a continent of over 1.4 billion people, constituting almost 17 percent of the world’s human population.

President Higgins and his wife Sabina on the first day of his visit to Dakar in Senegal on a visit to Goree Island which is known for its role in the 15th to the 19th century Atlantic slave trade

“It is from Africa that we all came. And it is from Africa and the most populated continents that the most authentic expression of a new model of existence, I believe, may come to pass, a new model of balanced social, economic and ecological practice that can connect with a diversity of peoples and circumstances as necessary.”

President Higgins and Sabina during their visit to Goree Island, where they visited the The House of Slaves prior to attending the Africa Food Summit Conference

The President will also present a closing speech at the Summit, which has the theme ‘Feed Africa: Food Sovereignty and Resilience’ and closes on Friday this week.

Mr Higgins is accompanied on the visit by his wife Sabina and the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs with special responsibility for International Development and Diaspora, Seán Fleming.

(Pics: Maxwell Photography)

On his arrival on Tuesday, January 24, the President held a bilateral meeting with President Sall in the Palais Présidentiel in Dakar.

At their meeting, the two Heads of State discussed a range of topics relevant to the conference, including structural issues surrounding food security, climate change and climate justice, desertification, human rights, empowering women, and the importance of multilateral institutions in achieving these goals.

President Higgins and his wife Sabina during their visit to Goree Island

Following his meeting with President Sall, President Higgins and wife Sabina travelled to Gorée Island, where they were accompanied by the Mayor of Gorée Island, Augustin Senghor, on a guided tour of the ‘Maison des Esclaves’ from the Curator of the Museum, Eloi Coly, and the Director of the Gorée Institute, Doudou Dia.

President Higgins and wife Sabina are in Senegal until Friday

Gorée Island, the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Africa, was a key slave-trading centre on the African coast from the 15th to 19th Century.

‘La Maison des Escalves’ and its Door of No Return is a museum and memorial dedicated to the victims of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, with previous visitors including President Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul II and President Barack Obama.