AfDB Conference Guests Get a Taste of Senegalese Folklore
Some 100 foreign dignitaries, AfDB staff, Executive Directors, Vice Presidents, representatives of top law firms in Africa and Europe, and special invitees gathered at the seaside garden of Hotel les Almadies on Monday evening in Dakar, for a dinner bash featuring the famous rise-based staple “poulet yassa” and “Sobo Badé”, a local dance troupe from Toubab Dilaw town some 50 kilometres South of Dakar. They were not disappointed.
Led by Machel Diarra Chenet, communication director, the troupe produced an hour long, heart-throbbing performance, blending short plays, pantomimes, chants and frenetic dancing. “We are happy to participate in this event, happy that people came to witness Senegalese culture”, she said.
“The troupe belongs to Hotel Sobo Badé. It was started in 1996 but most of its members have gone to Europe. This group has not been together for a long time as performers come and go”, Ms Chenet said, adding that while the group has always attracted large crowds locally, it has not performed internationally due to a lack of support.
Asked why the African Development Bank invited the dance troupe and l’Atelier de l’Ochestre Nationale (National Orchestra Workshop) to a Bank-sponsored dinner, AfDB Lead Communication Officer, Magatte Wade, said “It is a great initiative by the Bank Group to salute African culture, to integrate culture into this event. Culture is part of development and the Bank should do this to support African cultures”.
Sponsored by the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF), an AfDB-based international organization established in 2008, the cultural soirée was attended by members of the Senegalese Bank Association, the Bar Council of Senegal, the President of Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU), as well as by international law firms from Paris and London. The Bank Group’s Executive Directors for Algeria and Democratic Republic of Congo, and Professor Issa Sageh, one of the drafters of the OHADA Treaty which seeks to harmonize business law in Africa.
Typically, the ALSF will defend vulnerable African countries against aggressive creditors by minimizing diversion of debt relief gains; strengthening assistance to poor debtor countries and fragile states. The Facility will also assist African countries in hiring qualified law firms to defend the interests of such countries.
Aboubacar Fall, AfDB’s Principal Legal Counsel, has said that the membership is open in the facility is open to the Bank’s member states and all international organizations.