Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell told a packed concert hall tonight that “Africa is rising”.
Mr Powell was speaking at a celebration of African music and fashion at the Royal Albert Hall in London, a festival to highlight the talents and achievements of the African continent.
He said: “I stand before you tonight as an African American. Many people have said to me you became Secretary of State of the USA, is it still necessary to say that you are an African American or that you are black, and I say yes, so that we can remind our children.
“It took a lot of people struggling to bring me to this point in history. I didn’t just drop out of the sky, people came from my continent in chains.”
Mr Powell told the audience at the Africa Rising! event that a lot of wrongs have been done to the continent of Africa by Western powers faced with “an iron curtain and a bamboo curtain.”
But he explained that these barriers have now fallen and that “the world is being driven now by new financial forces”.
He said: “Asia is expanding, it created jobs for people, and Eastern Europeans are doing the same, in my continent – Latin America, it’s happening also – it’s now Africa’s turn.
“(With) all this wealth creation going on in the world, it won’t happen with just wishing, it will be done with hard work.
“Africa needs aid, but more than that it needs trade – it needs capital, but it has the same potential as Asia and Eastern European countries.
“There’s no reason a new Africa can’t be created here and now.”
The concert also featured pop singers Christina Aguilera and British-born soul singer Seal as well as fashion collections by Ozwald Boateng and Deola Sagoe.