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Former Leaders Meet at VOA to Discuss African 'Renaissance'

Discussion examined the continent's political, social, and economic progress

Washington, D.C., September 23, 2005 - Describing Africa as "a continent in quest for a better way," Antonio Manuel Mascarenhas Monteiro, the former president of Cape Verde, told the Voice of America (VOA) today that Africa is "making great efforts to foster its renaissance and to occupy the place that belongs to her in the world of the 21st century."

Monteiro and two other former African presidents participated in a panel discussion at VOA that examined the continent's political, social and economic progress.

Ketumile Masire, the former president of Botswana, discussed the progress made in Africa towards the peaceful resolution of conflicts. Masire said "it is very comforting" that there are fewer conflicts, adding, "it is also worrying that we haven't gotten rid of them all together, but we have cause to be hopeful."

Mahamane Ousmane, former president of Niger, agreed with the other former leaders, saying "great progress, of course, has been made" by African countries, but he cautioned, "But it is not enough -- Africa faces a great challenge for sustainable development."

The former presidents agreed that the process of democratization is still in an early phase in Africa, but believe that it will be internalized in the future. Masire expressed confidence that in the future, "democracy will become a part of us."

VOA has a wide audience in Africa for its radio and television broadcasts, which are also available on the Internet. Today's panel was scheduled to be broadcast via satellite to VOA television audiences in Africa and Europe today, and be made available for later TV and radio broadcast by VOA affiliates in Africa. The program is also available on the Internet on VOA's website at:

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages including English.

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